As the Flanagan Collective plans On The Hop, a scratch festival, Alexander Wright explains the thinking behind it…
A long standing friend of mine called Neil Arden works for York Brewery. He is probably one of the best men you’ll care to meet. He wanted to use the brewery – a little hidden away space in the centre of York – for something new. Neil works in the Brewery. Neil also works in the arts. So we wanted to invite a whole bunch of arts-related people in to the brewery for the weekend.
It’s an interesting place because it’s a brewery which feeds into lots of very popular pubs in town. So it’s a building which is all about the beginning of something – it is quite literally about mixing things together, fermenting them, turning them in to something nice and tasty, and then sending them out in to the world ready for people to enjoy.
In short, it seemed like a good place to run a scratch festival.
Amongst other things, I run The Flanagan Collective. We’re a bunch of folk who are as much about having good, nice, interesting and exciting conversations with lots of people as we are about dreaming up and making work. So for us, the idea of a scratch festival isn’t just about lots of companies doing 15 minutes of stuff on a stage, it’s about a lot of people being together, talking together and finding access points to their work, their ideas and their thinking.
Also, things often take a very long time to organise, and become very heavy and cumbersome – especially when you want to bring lots of people together. We wanted to make something fleet of foot, which can pop up easily and is wholly fuelled by people, ideas and expression. So we started organising On The Hop about two weeks before it is on – no one can bring anything too complicated, no one can get wound up too much, no one can have rehearsed for months and be worrying that their show isn’t any good. All people can do is come with some heart, some care and some imagination and passion. That’s what we’re after.
We will have debates. We will have conversations. We will watch work. We will talk to artists. We will make work and collaborate. We will respond to provocations. We will drink good beer and eat good food. We will meet new people. ‘We’ means you, us and everyone else who is there.
We don’t have perfect plan. We’re opening up lots of space and inviting people to come and fill it with what feels important now. So far, a lot of people have got in touch. It’s the first time we’ve done it, so come see what it’s like and see whether we should do it more!
It’s all pay-what-you-think and all comes by way of a warm and honest invitation to come spend some time together. It runs from noon until 10pm on Sunday 20 October. It’s at York Brewery, in York. You’re very welcome. You’ll be able to find a line up at our blog soon, and follow us on @FlanCol for more.
On Friday 18 you can catch Bush and McCluskey at York Brewery.
On Saturday 19 you can come experience The Night Of The Barghest produced by TakeOver13 Festival at York Brewery.
We’re calling the three days the Brewhouse Arts Festival. Keep an eye on it.
Alexander Wright is a member of the Flanagan Collective.