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Adventurous Theatre for Playful People - Mayfest 2013

  • Date: 29 April 2013
  • Area: South West

16-26 May, Bristol UK

Bristol's Mayfest celebrates its tenth anniversary in style with its most ambitious programme of live performance so far.

With a Grants for the arts award, Mayfest 2013 celebrates theatre from across the globe that is political, funny, moving, provocative and exciting. Events include a virtual trapeze ride, a large-scale immersive gig in a nightclub, a rock version of a classical myth in a converted church, and giant multi-coloured doilies in public spaces around the city. The ten day Festival shines the spotlight on artists who are doing things a little less ordinary. Alongside a full programme hosted in Bristol theatre venues, this tenth anniversary programme also bursts out into more places, buildings and sites than ever before, not least with a series of ten new bespoke commissions from a selection of Bristol's most exciting artists.

The programme features performances by Kate Tempest (recent winner of the Ted Hughes Poetry Award), New York's Banana Bag and Bodice, National Theatre Wales/Neon Neon, Belarus Free Theatre, Ontroerend Goed, Ockham's Razor, Kieran Hurley, Paper Cinema and many more.

Mayfest began life at Bristol Old Vic in 2003 as a month-long programme of experimental work in the Studio. In 2008, when Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin became Artistic Directors of the festival, it became a city wide event, coproduced with Bristol Old Vic alongside many organisations across the city, and has continued to work with local, national and international artists to animate the city with new and bold theatrical ideas. In 2011, Kate and Matthew established MAYK, a new independent producing organisation that directs and produces the festival alongside a growing portfolio of other projects throughout the year. This year's festival features over 150 performances by around 50 companies and artists and will reach a bigger audience than ever.

The tenth anniversary programme features a roll call of previous Mayfest companies and artists, including Ridiculusmus and Clod Ensemble, who were in the very first festival in 2003 alongside an ever-growing family of new theatrical talents. To mark the tenth anniversary, MAYK and Bristol Ferment have commissioned ten Bristol based artists to make a new work especially for the festival, based on one of the senses. These artists are: Richard Allen, Jo Bannon, Benji Bower, Lucy Cassidy, Laura Dannequin, Sam Halmarack, Kathy Hinde, Tom Marshman, Sleepdogs and Tom Wainwright. Peppered throughout the festival, these new works will offer a fresh perspective on the way we experience the world around us, and continue Mayfest's ongoing commitment to placing local artists at the heart of the festival programme.

For their third annual co-commission with Theatre Bristol, Mayfest are working with Cornish Artists Jeremiah Krage and Heidi Dorschler on Hook, Skip, Repeat, an interactive outdoor performance where passers-by can join the artists in creating giant, multi-coloured doily-like structures which will be installed in public spaces across the city. The project is inspired by Bristol's maritime heritage, and created using locally made rope from Bristol Rope & Twine.

Artistic Directors Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin said
'In a time where there is much talk of austerity, Bristol is without doubt bucking the trend when it comes to arts and culture. It continues to be a city where artists come to live, make work, innovate and experiment, and where audiences enjoy an unrivalled mix of theatre, digital art and music. Festivals provide a unique focal point for that creativity and our tenth anniversary programme celebrates the wealth of talent in the city and places it alongside some of the most brilliant theatrical voices from around the world. We can't wait to get stuck in.'

Phil Gibby, Arts Council England's Director for the South West
'Mayfest provides a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy all sorts of performances in interesting places across Bristol. Over the past ten years it has grown into an internationally recognised festival where leading theatre makers create high quality work for local people and visitors to the city. This is their biggest programme yet, and I look forward to seeing many people enjoying the range of exciting performances.