Mayfest – 15 years of the Unexpected

BRISTOL’S eagerly-awaited Mayfest 2018 runs from 10th to 20th May in venues around the city.

The city’s festival of international theatre this year features more than 20 shows from the very best theatre makers in Bristol, the UK and beyond. This is its 15th year of adventurous, thought-provoking theatre.

Spilling out across the city, Mayfest champions new work from artists with distinct voices. From the classical architecture of St George’s to the nightclubs of Old Market, Mayfest invites its audience to come together, play along and take a moment to reflect.

This year there are artists from Canada, Japan and Australia collaborating with performers and musicians from Bristol. Festival highlights include the world premiere of The British Paraor­ch­estra’s new work The Nature of Why, commissioned by Unlimited, celebrating and supporting the work of disabled artists.

The Nature of Why brings together dance and live music into an epic performance featuring a cinematic live-score from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, an ensemble of musicians from the acclaimed British Paraorchestra and four dancers.

Highlights also include the UK debut of Japanese company Contact Gonzo, Halifax Nova Scotia’s 2b theatre company in Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, The Accidental Mechanic’s  Let’s Not Beat Each Other To Death  at The Loco Klub and cult musician Doug Hream Blunt from San Francisco.

The UK premiere of We Are Lightning! takes over Trinity with a cast of almost 100, including a choir, a brass band and a teen band.  The Scottish Dance Company brings Velvet Petal, inspired by the life of the Monarch butterfly and by Robert Mapplethorpe’s polaroids, to Trinity Fyfe Hall. (Velvet Petal will also be performed at Poole’s Lighthouse on 23rd May.)

Sabrina Shirazi’s Choral Cuisine is a sonorous dining experience in a coffee roastery, where a two course meal becomes an opportunity to create music while you dine. Draw to Look by Hannah Sullivan invites her audience to look and notice through drawing. There’s the world premiere of Undersong, a major work by Verity Standen. Now Is The Time To Say Nothing by Caroline Williams is an interactive video installation made with Syrian film-maker Reem Karssli and young people from London.

Ridiculusmus makes a welcome return to Mayfest with an opportunity to see the trilogy of their work focusing on mental health. Give Me Your Love, The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and Complicated Grief will be performed at Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Southville Centre between 16th and 19th May.

Also returning to the festival is Scottee with Bravado, his blistering memoir of working class masculinity, performed at Jack of Diamonds on Old Market.

For younger audiences, there’s Snigel and Friends by Caroline Bowditch and Bristol’s very own Drag Queen Story Time.

The festival also ventures out of the city for the first time with Richard Allen’s The Killers, at The Regent restaurant in Weston-super-Mare. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s short story, The Killers allows the audience to listen in as two assassins arrive at the restaurant 30 minutes before a killing.

For full information, visit the website, www.mayfestbristol.co.uk