It's all kicking off

Elise Fairbairn reports on a packed day of workshops and shows 


Second day of the festival and the shows and workshops have really kicked off (it must be the motivation from the City of Culture’s Henrietta Duckworth), and it has not been disappointing!

To kickstart the day, we have the workshops; a variety of sessions varying from technical to acting and writing, which will run until the end of the festival. Everyone who I have spoken to throughout the day has thoroughly enjoyed their time with various professionals within the industry, and seem to have learnt a lot about a specific area of study – something everyone is happy about! I attended the Immersive Theatre workshop (Joe Bunce) which consisted of three hours of discussing, creating and more creating – ideal for a drama festival – and had buckets of fun, met new people and most importantly, got to make theatre!

After lunch, it’s the discussions – an intense hour (that was nowhere near enough) of conversations about gender and racial bias. The general consensus of the room was as follows: we need to support each other. Help each other. Stand up together and work together, in order to make theatre and society a more diverse and wonderful place. Motivation to meet everyone and see everything? One-hundred per cent. 

Finally, it’s showtime! he she they performed an interesting and powerful physical theatre piece about gender (fitting, after the discussion), and what defines it. It was high-intensity and thought-provoking, and even with a lot of repetition, it still worked – and it was the live band who allowed the actors to do this. The band helped to build the piece and without them I don't think it would have succeeded. Well done. But please, in future, thank your technicians when you bow… we like to feel wanted…

The last two shows of the day, Blackbird and Hidden, are on competing terms, but complimented each other nicely. To begin with, Blackbird seemed a little slow in pace and didn’t accelerate anywhere. However, it was enjoyable, and I think with a little work after the festival, it could be more than that.

Hidden was the final show of the day. Now this was a show. It was more than a show. It was something on another level. This incredibly talented cast of two were remarkable, their character changes were exciting and I was engaged throughout the entire play. This was not a piece of original writing but even so, I can’t help but feel this urge to push them to go more with it. To be more with it. Take it places. You are talented, and although people don’t need to see this, they should certainly want to.

Top show of the day: Hidden – Battered Soul Theatre

Stand out tech member of the day: Jay K (I liked your ideas in immersive)


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Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca