By PAUL COUCH
East Anglia’s Pulse Festival, now in its 17th year, has today [25 March 2017] announced its line-up for 10 days of contemporary theatre with established and emerging artists, both local and those from further afield. Building on previous Pulse Festivals, this year’s programme carries on the successes of Suitcase Prize Day and Scratch Day with new work from returning companies, and even
Building on previous Pulse Festivals, this year’s programme carries on the successes of Suitcase Prize Day and Scratch Day with new work from returning companies. There’s comedy, politics, music, animation, puppets, pop icons, TV antiques dealers, autobiographical material and the fantastical – a few shows that look at the theme of death and, in turn, the lives it leaves behind.
Opening the festival on 1 June are two performances by Edinburgh Fringe Festival successes Kieran Hodgson and Katie Bonna. Hailed as ‘The best live comedy to start 2017’ by The Guardian, Hodgson presents his second Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated smash-hit character comedy show Maestro, in which he returns to a symphony he wrote 13 years earlier, with a story about attempting something far beyond your abilities. Fringe First award winner Katie Bonna presents a fearlessly honest show for the post-truth era All The Tings I Lied About – part TED talk, part confession, unpicking how everyday lies can lead to a world of Trump and Brexit.
This year’s Suitcase Prize Day will see the 2016 winners On The Run return with their production Tell Me Anything on 2 June. Competitors for the 2017 prize include pieces from notnow Collective, This Egg, James McDermott, Lucy Grace, and Robin Doon Dale. The Suitcase Prize Day will take place on 2 June.
Pulse Festival 2017 will see the first year of the Testing Ground Commission, presenting three new works at various stages of development which supports accessible and integrated theatre. On 3 June as part of Scratch Day, Nicola Werenowska’s work-in-progress Invisible gets to the heart of invisible disability. Working with Jeni Draper, artistic director of Fingersmiths, Werenowska experiments with physical form and drawing on real life experiences. On the same day, Rachel Bagshaw presents an Edinburgh Festival preview of The Shape Of The Pain following its work-in-progress in 2016. She returns to the festival with her new piece about love, perception and constant, relentless pain, co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and the New Wolsey Theatre.
On 10 June, Kiruna Stamell and Rhona McKenzie present Disability Sex Archive, a creative project exploring disability, sex and relationships. A play currently in development, they will be reading a selection of monologues and text, testing new writing for the first time on a real audience.
On 9 June, Shôn Dale-Jones performs his free show The Duke following its Fringe First Award-winning run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Exploring kindness, generosity and the value of what we do, Dale-Jones will raise money for Save The Children’s Child Refugee Crisis Appeal. The show is presented free to audiences, with donations to the charity welcomed.
On 10 June, 1927 present their international smash-hit dystopian fable Golem, which has previously performed in New York, Australia and London. Like a giant graphic novel burst into life, 1927 invites you to take a step through the looking glass into a dark and fantastical tale of an extraordinary ordinary man. Blending 1927’s synthesis of handmade animation, claymation, live music and performance, Golem is the follow up to 1927’s hit international shows The Animals, Children Took to the Streets and The Magic Flute.
Other highlights of Pulse Festival 2017 includes: a scratch performance of a new play presented by People You May Know St*p*d F*ck*ng K*ds, FellSwoop Theatre’s Eurohouse; Bryan Vincent and Dave McGinn’s Live Before You Die, which showcased in the festival’s 2016 Scratch Day; Jack Rooke’s Good Grief which was recently adapted for BBC Radio 4; The Plasticine Men’s There Shall Be Fireworks, and Boris & Sergey’s Preposterous Improvisation Experiment presented by Flabbergast Theatre.
Ed Collier and Paul Warwick of China Plate, the festival’s co-curators, commented: “Once again the Pulse team have travelled the length and breadth of the country to bring together a body of work that will delight audiences from Ipswich and beyond celebrating the vibrancy of the UK theatre scene. while we never programme Pulse Festival with a particular theme in mind, we aren’t afraid of the zeitgeist either and a quick look at the 2017 programme will reveal that there is currently a lot of work being made about death – maybe something to do with the extraordinary number of high-profile deaths in 2016? Or seismic political events? Don’t be put off though, the theme is tackled in a fascinating variety of ways and the results are moving, memorable, celebratory, thought-provoking and in some cases downright hilarious. There is also more comedy in the festival than ever before – including the cracking double bill on opening night – and an unmissable end to the festival in the shape of 1927’s Golem.
“Don’t be put off, though, the theme is tackled in a fascinating variety of ways and the results are moving, memorable, celebratory, thought-provoking and in some cases downright hilarious. There is also more comedy in the festival than ever before – including the cracking double bill on opening night – and an unmissable end to the festival in the shape of 1927’s Golem. As always, there really is something for everyone and we’d encourage you to get in quick to avoid disappointment and to take advantage of the fantastic multiple ticket deals on offer.”
PULSE Festival Ipswich is supported by local company Harrison C White, who are sponsoring the festival for the next three years. The festival will also continue to work with media partners The Reviews Hub.