First Bite Festival line-up announced

Companies chosen to present extracts and new ideas as part of a one day festival of fresh new theatre.

Ten regional theatre companies will test brand new material, present work in progress showings and seek audience feedback at the 2015 First Bite Festival. Held at mac birmingham and delivered by award-winning independent theatre studio China Plate, the one day festival provides an opportunity for artists and companies to develop and perform new ideas in a supportive and nurturing environment, to an audience of theatregoers and regional industry professionals. For the first time this year, applications from artists were sought from across the East and West Midlands.

As with every First Bite Festival since the opener in 2009, two of the programmed companies will go on to receive a commission of £3,000 to develop the work and to present it at its next stage at Bite Size Festival at Warwick Arts Centre in November 2015. Previous shows commissioned from the First Bite Festival include Caroline Horton’s award-winning You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, which has toured since 2010 and viewed by over 10,000 people, and Our Fathers by Babakas, which won critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013 and has toured internationally.

The companies taking part in this year’s First Bite Festival and the extracts or ideas they will present are as follows:

I’m Not Lonely by Barrel Organ

I’m Not Lonely explores the idea that as we are become more and more ‘connected’ to one another, we seem to be moving further away from what being human really is – having real, social communities with each other. Barrel Organ are a UK-based touring company from the West Midlands, with a commitment to formal innovation and socio-political engagement.

Lucid Interval by Tina Hoffman

Inspired by the way our minds and bodies deal with a sudden change in our reality, Lucid Interval investigates the space we come to inhabit between normality and chaos when sudden, shocking loss occurs. Tina Hofman is a Croatian theatre maker with a Birmingham address. Movement is the main language she uses to narrate stories of personal origin.

Holy Presents by Humanish

A puppet sketch comedy bringing the gift of joy with a peak at the ridiculous, hilarious and altogether normal Christmas Day in the household of the Holy Trinity. Created by Humanish, a collective of female fools full of infectious energy and ludicrous character comedy, they met training in physical theatre (Lecoq) at LISPA.

Joan by Lucy J Skilbeck

Joan is a farmer’s daughter, freedom fighter, and just maybe the original drag king…? New writing meets drag king cabaret in this one-person show about what it means to stand alone. Joan is the debut show created and directed by Lucy J Skilbeck, Derby Theatre’s BBC Performing Arts Fellow 2014. Supported by Derby Theatre and produced in association with Milk Presents.

I, Myself & Me by Rachael Young

I, Myself & Me is for those singles who have ever questioned whether it’s time to buy ‘that cat’. Rachael is contemporary theatre maker, from Nottingham. Her work is playful, experimental and often autobiographical. Rachael is currently a recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship and is a Curve Breakthrough Artist.

What Big Eyes by Cloud Cuckoo Land

Join Red, her Mum and her Grandma too, as three generations battle their personal demons in this pop-up, reimagined fairytale for all ages. “It’s Robert Lepage meets The Wombles!” Cloud Cuckoo Land put audiences at the heart of the story using live music, interaction, sensory surprises and high-tech wizardry.

The Fruits of Failure by Almost Human

Human present The Fruits of Failure, a documentary exploring the art of Lesley Roscoe. Muse, mentor, imaginary friend, we reveal the artistic truth in a failed performance career. Formed in 2012, this international collective specialise in film as performance. Pushing the boundaries of dated technology and scenographic practice, Almost Human use theatre to give equal footing to process and performance.

The man who flew into space from his apartment by Michael Pinchbeck

Inspired by an installation by Ilya Kabakov, this is a slideshow exploring absence and presence, flying and falling, and the power of the artist to fail or be free. Michael Pinchbeck is an award-winning writer and live artist based in Nottingham. His work has toured nationally and internationally and has been selected for the British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase three times.

The road to Huntsville by Stephanie Ridings

Stephanie Ridings is trying to understand women who marry men on death row, and trying not to be judgmental. The road to Huntsville is an exploration into unconventional love, state homicide and challenging predetermined perceptions. Stephanie is a writer/performer. Her most recent work Unknown Male opened at Birimgham REP and with Pippa Frith was awarded the Peter Brook/Mark Marvin award.

Blast From The Past by Spiltmilk Dance

Part performance, part TV game show, Blast From The Past is a journey through the fads, fashions, blockbusters and best-sellers of the last six decades of British culture. Think tea dancing with teacups, Tupperware parties to Elvis and a choreographic love letter to Woolworths pick and mix sweets, with a hint of Bruce Forsyth and Blind Date for good measure! Described as “Dance but not dance…like hiding vegetables in kids food”, Spiltmilk Dance have been sticking a big fat ray of sunshine into the world of contemporary dance since 2006.

mac birmingham
Cannon Hill Park, B12 9QH
0121 446 3232
Tickets £10 full day, £6 Afternoon/Evening only