Monthly Archives: December 2011

Off Stage & On-line: Off Stage & On-line 2011-12-30 15:48:18

As we progressed through the week the office lights did eventually get turned on, but things remained eerily quiet. At times like this things can go two ways: either disaster strikes, and everyone who’s on holiday has to be called in or nothing happens at all, and the week slowly and uneventfully slips by. At first it looked as though the former would be the case, we lost a bank of lights, had to replace the entire sound desk between shows, found the Jabberwock refusing to travel any direction but backwards and crashed the Jabberwock so that he needed facial reconstruction. Thankfully, things calmed down after that, and I got casting for Where Have I Been All My Life and Far From the Madding Crowd well under way (usually I’m as eager to start it as I am to have my teeth pulled); and worked through a first draft of a future production. All with feet up eating chocolates. It’s a hard life being on duty over Christmas.

Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: The curtain comes down on 2011…

What a difference a year makes, and how quickly it has flown by! In the flash of a magic wand and the drop of confetti, Panto season is well and truly underway and now we turn our attentions to reflecting on the year gone by and the year to come. Personally, as Press & PR Assistant [...]

mid * point: Coventry playwright selected for Hotbed Festival

A play by Coventry playwright Chris O’Connell has been selected for this year’s Hotbed Festival, which runs from 26-29 January at The Junction, Cambridge.

Forgive Our Paranoia

By Chris O’Connell

This one act drama from multiple award winner and founder of Theatre Absolute, Chris O’Connell, tells the story of sisters Beth and Joy, and their friend Ash. They have arrived from the city in a desperate bid to end the cycle of violence that is controlling their lives…

£8/£6 / 50 mins

Thurs 26 – 7.00pm

Sat 28 –  4.00pm

For further details, click here

mid * point: Writing for the Stage @ mac

Capital Theatre Festival, in collaboration with MAC, presents a 6-week course run by West Midlands playwright Arzhang Pezhman. Arzhang’s new play, Gravity, is produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and is presented at mac from 23rd February-3rd March.

The course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the tools and techniques of writing for the stage. This includes generating ideas, exploring structures, creating plot, developing characters and writing effective dialogue.

Participants will be encouraged to develop their own ideas for a one-hour stageplay as the course progresses.

Dates: Wed 22 February – Wed 28 Mar 2012, 7-9pm
Venue: The Bryant Studio, mac
Tickets: £45 (£40)
Click here to book

mid * point: Fierce Festival Returns: 29 March – 8 April 2012

Fierce Festival, Birmingham’s premier festival of live art, performance and public intervention returns from 29 March – 8 April 2012. Artists from across the globe will bring boundary-pushing performances and art installations to Birmingham.

Festival highlights:

  • Dachshund U.NA model of the United Nations assembly will be populated with 47 dachshunds from across the West Midlands, positioned in a central Birmingham location for a playful, satirical and often chaotic piece. Watch footage of the 2010 performance in Melbourne here:
  • The ultimate alternative Easter celebrations with Daniel Lismore’s Shabba Dabba Dah.Channelling the spirit of Leigh Bowery, Lismore changes his visual identity daily, continually re-inventing and documenting his ever-changing look. He brings his opulent and outrageous club night to Birmingham for a special edition.
  • Mette Edvardsen, Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine – co-produced with Birmingham REP and performed in Birmingham Central Library. Celebrating the soon to be defunct brutalist building and the literature within, the project (inspired by Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451) will see entire books  memorised and recited to visitors.
  • Graeme Miller, Track (in association with Ikon Gallery) Graeme Miller presents a moveable participatory installation where the viewer is pulled along a track. The work creates a shift in relationship with whichever environment it is installed, whether built or natural, indoor or
  • Ron Athey, Gifts of the Spirit: Automatic Writing Fierce veteran Ron Athey returns to work for the first time with an ensemble in an expansive group performance focused on automatic writing.

The full programme of events will be announced in January 2012. 

mid * point: My Story Through a Lens: Journeys through Photographs and Words

You are invited to Previews on the 10th January 2-4pm and 7-9pm
With the Birmingham Poet Laureate, Jan Watts.

My Story Through a Lens aims to challenge & reduce stigma & discrimination through the content of work produced & its accessibility to the public.

This Exhibition is the culmination of a ten week project involving participants exploring their own individual stories using photography and creative writing.

The group have previously featured their work at the Mindful Exhibition, Arts All Over the Place & Survivor Art Exhibition at Birmingham University.

Shared experiences of mental health issues brought individuals together as artists who express their creativity through photography and writing and leads them to believe:

“Problems don’t have to be the end of the world”

“We are a group of artists who have mental health issues
rather than a group of service users who ‘do’ art”

“We have seen a side of life not everyone has experienced,
and have benefited from it”

Jan 10th – Feb 18th 2012

Gallery Hours: Tuesday- Saturday 10.30am-3.30pm

Fierce Festival: Highlights from other festivals that inspired Fierce in 2011

We were fortunate to see a lot of fantastic art over the course of 2011. So much in fact that we have restricted ourselves to the arena of other festivals in sharing our highlights. So post Fierce & Flatpack here are our picks of 2011. . .
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Spill, London, 18 – 24 April

This performance festival took place mainly at the Barbican and National Theatre Studio. The latter venue being a showcase for emerging artists. Two standout works were
Martin O’Brien’s Mucus Factory.

and at the Barbican. . .


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Bristol was well served by Mayfest, 5 – 15 May

Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin co-directors at Mayfest consistently bring national and local talent to the fore. . . Search Party’s Save Me across Bristol’s harbour is a great example. We are very excited about what will emerge from their burgeoning initiative MAYK.
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Closer to home. . .

BE Festival, Birmingham, 4 – 10 July

BE have been boldly bringing less well known international theatre makers across Europe together, while not neglecting local talent; generating a genuine communal atmosphere in the process. Partly due to an incredibly diligent programming process, in which all applicants supply video watched by a selection panel, applications for the next festival are open now.

The Ballet of Sam Hogue – was a challenging dance-theatre work that split the audience and really stood out for us. You can see more by the artists here.

In AE Harris, the brash and fearless Birmingham company Kindle launched The Furies upon us.

Listen here.
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Manchester International Festival, 9 – 16th July

MIF invited art goliaths such as as Bjork. . .

alongside the elegantly curated 11 Rooms.
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Further north there was much to be relished at Edinburgh Festival. . .

. . .the fragile beauty of Junction 25′s show I Hope My Heart Goes First. . . Bryony Kimmings’ twisted-My-Little-Pony aesthetic fueled 7 Day Drunk at Assembly. . . A subversive tour round Fettes College by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. . . Guts in a grainy ultrasound scan as we sat huddled in a life raft. ( ‘The Moment I Saw You I Knew I Could Love You’ by Curious), the raucous Little Bulb (pictured) transforming from introverted actor-musicians into fully fledged stomping rock’n'rollers over the course of their Goose Party and Lundahl & Seitl’s Rotating in a Room of Images as part of the British Council Showcase at Summerhall.

and at Forest Fringe in particular. . .

. . .members of the audience spontaneously shredding their cash in Crunch by Gary McNair. Tania El Khoury wrapping the scarf of a revolutionary around herself on a drizzly street. Dan Canham on the final night of Forest Fringe 2011 – dancing all the memories of a room, bringing the ghosts of past performances to life. This was especially poignant in the context of Andy Field and Debbie Pearson’s stirring speeches to help the Forest Community buy their home on Bristo Place.
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Dublin Fringe, September 10 – 25 September

Our last visit to the Dublin Fringe led to the programming of Playgroup’s Berlin Love Tour in the forthcoming Fierce Festival. This year the promise of the youthful and punkish TheatreCLUB continues to be fulfilled. Keep your eyes peeled for future outings of Polly Fibre’s blend of fashion and live art too.
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Krakow Theatrical Reminiscences Festival, Poland 6 – 12 October

Tim Etchells Neon

Particularly memorable were Prologue by Wojtek Ziemilski, an auto-teatro work (reminiscient of pieces by Rotozaza); and the exhibition From Afar by Tim Etchells comprising text, video and neon pieces.

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Special mentions to Two Degrees (focusing on art, activism, performance and protest); and Brum based visual arts biennial The Event and music festival Supersonic.

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What a year. Brrp. Brrp. Brrp.