Fierce Festival tickets on sale today

Following the successful re-launch of Fierce Festival in 2011 and 2012, the internationally acclaimed programme of ground-breaking art and performance returns to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in autumn 2013 –  bringing with it a fresh series of innovative events and interventions to appear in galleries, theatres, clubs, warehouses and streets across Birmingham, in addition to a full day of events at Warwick Arts Centre.

Fierce Festival 2013

Fierce Festival 2013 will include live art performances, theatre pieces, contemporary dance, exhibitions, talks, live music, installations and site-specific commissions.  The festival runs from 4-6 October and for the first time, ‘See-Everything-Festival’ weekend passes will be available, as well as tickets for individual days and events.

From Fun with Cancer Patients, a project exploring teenagers’ creative responses to undergoing cancer treatment by artist Brian Lobel (who was treated for cancer as a teenager himself), to critically acclaimed immersive theatre pieces, hallucinogenic light shows, live music, looping balsa wood installations, and a dance duet with a life-sized animatronic polar bear, Fierce 2013 will bring the city alive with a host of happenings, created by leading artists, curators and performers from around the world.

On Friday 4th October, Fierce will kick off its fifteenth edition with an autumn feast from radical food designers Blanch & Shock. They will this year be collaborating with Wolf in the Winter  – a pack of six acclaimed international performance artists comprising of Brian Catling, Aaron Williamson, Anet von Elzen, Denys Blacker, Kirsten Norrie, Ralph Wendt and guest wolf Eloise Fornieles. Taking place at Edible Eastside, Birmingham’s canal-side urban garden, Wolf in the Winter will create a series of live performance-based interventions across the evening inspired by Bruegel’s painting of six ragged figures stumbling across a rural landscape..

On Saturday 5th October, German artist Eva Meyer Keller will present Sounds Like Catastrophes, a insightful stage work devised with local 10-12 year olds, exploring how young people process the news and perceive the dangers of our world. Later, there will be a rare performance from LA-based performance artist, stunt person and body builder Heather Cassils, Becoming an Image. Heather Cassils uses an exaggerated physique to intervene in various contexts in order to interrogate systems of power, control and gender. Other highlights from Saturday’s programme include contemporary dance pieces from contortionist Iona Kewney and Atlanta Eke, a new voice from Australia, who will be challenging the representation of the female body in mass media in her piece Monster Body.

On Sunday 6th October, the festival will culminate in a late-night concert featuring rising electronica star Nicolas Jaar, accompanied by New York’s legendary Joshua Light Show, a psychedelic liquid-light visuals outfit who have worked with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Janis Joplin. Throughout the day, there will be immersive theatre performances from the critically acclaimed Lundahl and Seitl, who will be collaborating with hypnotist Sue Fox, as well as an intense 4-hour durational performance from Action Hero in which two performers will ritualistically insult each other from autocues. Other highlights from Sunday’s programme include a performance piece from festival favourite Franko B, Because of Love. This will be a mesmeric stage work, featuring a dance duet with a life-sized animatronic polar bear.

This festival programme creates an intersection where live art meets music, architecture, activism, literature, dance, fashion and more, and celebrates underground, renegade and queer culture. Fierce Festival presents an international array of cutting-edge artists – from the emerging to the established and produces their work in partnership with some of the region’s major cultural producers.



Tickets on sale from 5 August 2013:

Day Passes: Sat  £40/ 35  Sun £24 / 20

Fierce See-Everything-Festival ticket £75 / 65


The full programme will be announced in summer 2013, but highlights include:


Brian Lobel: Fun with Cancer Patients

7 September – 6 October

Brian Lobel has drawn on his own experience of cancer treatment as a young adult to facilitate a series of ‘actions’ by Birmingham teenage cancer patients. These actions are self-initiated, designed to be of value to the teenagers themselves in processing their experience of cancer. These actions took place following  a workshop process, over the summer of 2013. The exhibition presents the documentation of these activities, alongside reflections from medical professionals.

Kate McIntosh: Worktable

Worktable is a live installation, open in the daytime across the festival. Worktable takes place in a series of rooms – the visitor must sign in to enter, and can you can stay as long as they like. Once inside you are given instructions, equipment and safety goggles so you can get to work – it’s up to you to decide how things come apart, and how they come back together.

Denis Tricot: A Sculpture for Birmingham

Denis Tricot creates intricate looping structures from balsa wood. His delicate interventions create new ephemeral relationships with their site. In the past these structures have been used as instruments with wire strung between them, stage sets for dancers to interact with and even set on fire. An integral aspect of constructing these works in public space is the theatre of their own making, witnessed daily by passers-by as the sculpture emerges.


Blanch & Shock / Wolf in the Winter: The Blind Leading the Blind

Hosted by Edible Eastside, a canalside contemporary urban garden for people to learn to grow plants and food, the festival begins with a feast by radical food designers Blanch & Shock. They will serve up a vegetarian platter from produce grown in collaboration with the garden’s artist-in-residence, Di Wiltshire. Planting began in the spring, join us for the consumable culmination of this seven month process.

Over the course of the evening, Wolf in the Winter, will create a series of live interventions inspired by the Bruegel painting of the six ragged figures stumbling across a rural landscape. Wolf in the Winter is an international  collective of six solo performance artist who come together sporadically to make a pack. They comprise Aaron Williamson, Anet van de Elzen, Brian Cattling, Denys Blacker, Kirsten Norrie, Ralph Wendt and guest wolf, Eloise Fornieles.


Heather Cassils: Becoming an Image

Becoming An Image is a performance designed for the camera, specifically the act of being photographed. Taking place in a blacked out room, the only elements in the space are the audience, a photographer, the performer and a block of clay weighing 2000 pounds.

Eva Meyer Keller: Sounds Like Catastrophes

Eva Meyer Keller has worked with a group of children aged 10 – 12 from Birmingham over the the summer to create this stage work. The children have learnt a series of foley techniques to recreate the sounds of imagined apocalyptic scenarios. These will be performed live alongside a specially narrated text; exploring how young people process the news and perceive the dangers of our world.

Iona Kewney & Joseph Quimby: Knights of the Invisible

Iona Kewney is a Scottish dance-theatre artist whose frenetic, viceral movement evokes images of hysteria, fits and contortionism. This extreme physicality jousts with a live sound score heavy with distortion and  electronic noise, created by Joseph Quimby. Iona Kewney memorably performed Self-Interrupted Exhibition at Ikon Eastisde, Birmingham in the the British Dance Edition 2010.

Atlanta Eke: Monster Body

A graphically direct and intense dance-theatre piece, Monster Body is a saturation of textures, tones, noises, rhythm and shapes created through a number of imaginative situations drawing from strong and haunting connections between local and global images that shape the female identity in contemporary culture. Atlanta is an young emerging voice in contemporary dance theatre, this work was seen at our partner festival, Next Wave in Melbourne.


Action Hero: Slap Talk

Slap Talk is an exhaustive verbal confrontation between Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse, who comprise Action Hero. During the performance the duo will ritualistically insult each other while reading from autocues. In doing so they call to mind not only the ‘trash-talking’ between boxers at a televised weigh-in or jousting politicians, but the latent potential of violence that is present within everyday life.

Lundahl & Seitl: Four Stages of Conversations

Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl, create immersive, participatory environments, often involving intimate binaural recording, touch and prolonged darkness. Their last performance in the West Midlands was the critically acclaimed Symphony of a Missing Room at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, at Fierce Festival 2011. This new work involves a collaboration with Sue Fox, a renowned hypnotist.

Franko B: Because of Love

The piece represents a departure in Franko’s practice, moving away from the tableaux vivants of his previous work. Here, multiple elements (including live presence, original music, animation and video projection, lighting and scenography) are brought together to weave a loose, non-linear narrative, guiding the audience through a dynamic journey that unfolds over an hour. The centrepiece of the work is a choreographed duet with Franko B and a life-sized animatronic polar bear.

Nicolas Jaar +  Joshua Light Show: Fierce Festival Closing Concert

Rising electronica star Nicolas Jaar appears with New York’s legendary Joshua Light Show, noted for creating the hallucinatory visuals behind mythic rock acts of the late 1960s, including The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Reformed by founder Joshua White with a new team of artists in the 2000s, the lightshow combines classic analog effects—including the “liquid light” for which it is best known—with contemporary digital approaches. This is one of only three performances in the UK in a rare European outing.