Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Liverpool's International Physical Theatre Festival returns

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Tmesis Theatre/Physical Fest

Liverpool’s Tmesis Theatre and Physical Fest are back for 2015 with a line up that will be bigger and better than ever.

This year’s festival runs between Friday May 22–Saturday May 30, and for those who can't wait that long, there is a special festival warm-up weekend for young people with Young Physical Fest on Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3.

As always, Tmesis Theatre will be bringing the very best and most established artists from all corners of the globe, with companies from Italy and Spain joining the UK performers for a truly international Physical Fest.

Physical Fest will launch on Friday May 22 at The Unity Theatre with Pact with Pointlessness, a one-woman performance that lies somewhere between stand-up and vaudeville. Created to tackle the death of her friend, choreographer and dancer Nigel Charnock (with whom she performed with in DV8), the show is full of crackling wit and ridiculous movement and is a frank demonstration of how it feels to be knocked sideways by death, renegotiate and carry on.

The Unity will also play host to mini performances Honky Tonk Hideaway (a 15-minute immersive experience) and Solotoria, a show for one audience member in less than three and a half minutes. Both will be performed before the main shows at The Unity throughout the Festival.

On Saturday May 23. also at the Unity Theatre, Ship of Fools present From the Cradle to the Bin, a hilarious odyssey about being thrown on life’s scrapheap, told through live music, grotesque parody and shocking imagery. Follow Mr Whitey, an affable English gent, as he spends his final days on the edge of a broken care system.

Following on from his fifteen minute debut at Physical Fest 2014, Leebo Luby has had direction from Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey) to create a new absurd and extraordinary show, Faruchio Peru is Extraordinare.

On Sunday May 24 at The Bluecoat, self-proclaimed ‘showman’ Faruchio Peru is an enigma wrapped in an ego, surrounded by an unpronounceable name, in this one-man clowning show.

Monday May 25 sees a night of work in development extracts at The Joe H Makin Centre, LJMU. In a double bill of exciting new physical work, Animikii Theatre presents the biblical tale Cain and Abel, exploring the theme of brotherhood through reimagined mythology, weaving vocal and movement languages with striking imagery and powerful music.

Then, Yorgos Karamalegos presents initial ideas from a two-week workshop exploring the idea of Home and feelings of alienation, using the story of Medea as an entry point.

Monday May 25 and Tuesday May 26 also features Wild Trio, a site specific dance performance providing a refuge from capitalism in the heart of Liverpool ONE.

Also on Tuesday 26 May at The Unity, Animal Religion present a stunning contemporary circus performance bringing out the animal in us all. In a grotesque parody of the modern human and the differences between the sexes, the stage is transformed into an “animalarium”; with acrobatics, heels, a spoon in the nose, rooster fight and ritual dances.

Friday 29 May sees the return of the annual ‘Fest Live’ at The Unity, an international showcase of the most exciting new physical and visual work from both emerging and established artists, which is carefully selected by a panel of UK festival directors.

Following its UK Premiere at last year’s festival, Jamie Wood returns with Oh No! to bring in the end of the festival on Saturday May 30. Playing amongst the enigmatic instructions of Yoko Ono's art works, in the shadow of Lennon's death, Oh No! is a psychedelic ride, a wonky homage to the woman damned for destroying the Beatles and a show about reckless optimism, high art and what we might yet have to learn from the hippies.

There will also be a fantastic selection of Street Theatre set loose upon the public, taking place at various locations across the city including performances from Boom Booms, Eggmen and Conflux.

As always, the festival will also include a series of interactive workshops with sessions available in clowning, improvisation and physical theatre from top names in physical theatre including Anna-Helena McLean, a former member of Poland’s Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices; Yorgos Karamalegos; Jamie Wood; Italian company Instabili Vaganti; Vivien Wood; and Spanish company Animal Religion. Workshops will take place at The Bluecoat; full details on how to book a place can be found at

Ahead of the main festival, Physical Fest presents a weekend of free workshops and shows between Saturday May 2-Sunday May 3 at The Bluecoat. Aimed at young people and families, the special programme of events will feature workshops and performances suitable for all ages, including Parkour performance with The Urban Playground Team, life-sized Punch & Judy from Foolsize Theatre, plus puppet making, stage combat, circus skills and theatre games. There will also be performances inspired by The Bluecoat itself performed by local youth groups, and a show exploring life as a 17-year-old in a collaboration between Young Everyman Playhouse and Off the Ground.

Elinor Randle, artistic director of Physical Fest, commented: “Last year was a milestone for Tmesis Theatre and Physical Fest with it being the 10th Anniversary; it was an incredible achievement and testament to the artists and everyone involved, and of course for the people of Liverpool that have supported us and made it possible for us to come back year after year. This year, we have been working harder than ever to ensure a fantastic programme of events. There is more performance than ever, with something to do every night, food and festival club at the Unity, street theatre, as well as a developed and packed weekend for young people in early May.”

Physical Fest has become one of the international key events in Liverpool’s cultural programme, bringing the world's best local, national and international movement and physical theatre artists to Liverpool in an exciting nine-day programme of events, workshops, taster classes and performances. With an exciting and diverse line up, 2015 promises to deliver the exceptional class of entertainment this festival has become renowned for.

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