Now in its ninth year, bi-annual work-in-progress festival Ferment Fortnight is back and ready to showcase some of the finest talent in the South West. Once again, the festival will take place in The Weston Studio, a flexible space designed to be a home to innovation and the theatre-makers of tomorrow and in Coopers’ Loft for meet-ups.
The 2-week festival will introduce the budding ideas of inspiring artists across the South West, allowing audiences to engage with work that is still being made and feedback on scratch performances from emerging and established local theatre-makers.
This year’s line-up includes a welcome return to Bristol Old Vic for Ad Infinitum (Extraordinary Wall of Silence) Massive Owl (Eden), Kid Carpet (Icarus D’Icarus), Sam Halmarack & Wilf Merttens (World of Mega Questions), Tom Bailey (Vigil) and Brook Tate (My Great Giraffe) alongside exciting new collaborations with Diverse City, Sing with Soul, Ruth Ramsay & Edson Burton and Empty Deck.
Ferment has gone on to support several Fortnight productions with their future life. Artists and companies have staged their work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the National Theatre, the Wardrobe and Tobacco Factory Theatres, touring across the UK and internationally, with the Wardrobe Ensemble’s Education Education Education (first seen in a Ferment Fortnight) currently enjoying a run in the West End.
Tickets: All performances are £5 (or 5 for £20) unless stated otherwise.
Check the website for more details
TUE 9 JUL, 6pm
FERMENT: WHAT’S NEXT?
There are some exciting changes afoot in how Ferment works, and we'd like to share them with you. Following on from our exploratory event during January's Fortnight, join Ferment Producer Ben Atterbury as he explains what the changes are, how they are going to work, and how you can get involved with what we do. For those who are brand new to Ferment, and those who know us well; we'd love to tell you what's happening next.
WED 10 JUL, 8pm
Leverhulme Scholarship recipient Kid Carpet returns with his new work-in-progress Icarus D’Icarus. Presented with video projection, talking dolls, plastic birds, UFOs, flashing lights, plenty of songs, copious amounts of swearing and a punk rock DIY attitude, Icarus D'Icarus is completely honest and true and... total bulls**t.
THU 11 JUL, SAT 13 JUL, 8pm
Mid Life is a new show by Diverse City, an award-winning organisation committed to equality and diversity in the arts, who recently collaborated with Bristol Old Vic on The Elephant Man in 2018. Mid Life pauses three fierce women at a moment in time – the Menopause. Their bodies are changing and they have something to say. They have to decide, at the midpoint, how to think and feel about what came before, what to take forward and what to leave behind.
FRI 12 JUL, SAT 13 JUL, 6pm, 8pm
EXTRAORDINARY WALL OF SILENCE
Ad Infinitum (No Kids, Chloe and the Colour Catcher) present an early work-in-progress of their show Extraordinary Wall of Silence, ahead of a full-scale run in the Weston Studio in Oct 2019. Helen, Alan, and Graham are told they are impaired and need fixing. As they begin to question the world, three powerful coming-of-age stories unfold, uniting in a struggle against ignorance and oppression. Ad Infinitum combine physical storytelling with the beauty of British Sign Language in an unmissable feast for the senses.
MON 15 JUL, 8pm
Separated from her Jamaican mother at 5 days old, Sarah is raised by a white family in rural Devon. Black in a white world, DAWTA is a one-woman musical exploring race, courage, God and Sarah’s number one question, ‘Who Am I’? DAWTA is Dionne Draper’s first semi-autobiographical musical and Sing With Soul’s first theatre production. Recent work includes Avona’s song ‘Beyond The Tide’ and feminist anthem, ‘We Rise’. DAWTA, 7 characters, 10 songs, 1 woman.
TUE 16 JUL, 8pm
ANANSI AND THE GRAND PRIZE
Presented as a series of vignettes, this work-in-progress sharing of Anansi and The Grand Prize has been put together to illustrate the story of a bigger show in the works. The vignettes will imagine the places, movement and music of the African and Caribbean world in which the story takes place and explain who Anansi is, where she is going and how she will transform.
Anansi and the Grand Prize is a collaboration of Bristol-based artists of African diasporic descent and this performance will mix together all the essential ingredients of African performance: audience participation, costume and song.
WED 17 JUL, 8pm
What if it was all over?
If time had run out?
If everything before was gone?
This solo show is newly-devised in response to the global climate emergency and is asking for an end to life as we know it. What might come next? Part performance, part event, Kay Michael of Empty Deck brings you Sequel, made with her old friend and trusted collaborator Bertrand Lesca of award-winning duo Bert&Nasi and with sounds by avant-synth-future-techno producer Janine A’Bear
THU 18 JUL, 5pm
WORLD OF MEGA QUESTIONS
What would a world be like made out of your favourite food? What would it be like to fly through that world shooting lasers from your eyes? The World of Mega Questions imagines a digital universe where the answers to these questions come to life in a fantasy world. It’s The Neverending Story crossed with Facebook. A storytelling show about statistics, with unicorns and people who get their head chopped off from Sam Halmarack & Wilf Merttens
THU 18 JUL, 8pm
Dusky Seaside Sparrow.
Fire-Millipede From Hell.
One human. 26,000 animals. Vigil is an intimate, interspecies meditation on mass animal disappearance; a physical, tragicomic poem about a changing planet Earth. This is a new solo show in development by Tom Bailey, following Mechanimal’s 2018 award-winning Zugunruhe. Created with Guy Jones (Orange Tree/RSC), Pip Hambly (1927’s Golem) and composer Andrew Cooke (Saltings/Noizubito).
FRI 19 JUL, 8pm
Yellow smoke lifts on a trash-drenched bay. A traveller discovers paradise closed down, guarded by a shark. Eden is a retelling of Alex Garland’s novel The Beach. It might also be a retelling of its film adaptation of the same name. Massive Owl want to expose the fiction and truth in Garland’s popular story. This is the second in Massive Owl's series of experimental adaptations, The Distortion Trilogy – a work about adaptation, Generation X and a ruined nirvana. This is Eden.
SAT 20 JUL, 5pm
MY GREAT GIRAFFE
My Great Giraffe grew from a very short poem Brook wrote for his nieces last year:
‘I’m brave.’ said the girl as she folded her scarf.
‘I hope that you stay that way.’ said the giraffe.’
Since writing that poem, the voice of children, especially girls, has had an unprecedented impact on our future and that of our planet. Brook's recent project Mr Maglump (seen as part of Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s New Plays In Rep) focused on themes he felt were important in the world his nieces are growing up in, and he hopes My Great Giraffe helps them find the strength, and importance, of their own voices.
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