Mayfest 2018 Programme Announced

Mayfest 2018

15 Years of the Unexpected

10–20 May, Bristol


We produce shows and projects all year round, developing work to present and tour in the UK and beyond. One of our major projects is Mayfest, Bristol’s biennial festival of international theatre.

Mayfest is back and this year we’re celebrating 15 years of adventurous, thought-provoking theatre. Spilling out across the city, Mayfest playfully – and sometimes provocatively – champions extraordinary new work from artists with distinct voices, for audiences, whoever they are.

From the classical architecture of St George’s to the nightclubs of Old Market, Mayfest invites you to come together, play along and take a moment to reflect. Artists from Canada, Japan and Australia offer opportunities for participation and exchange: Town Choir, Contact Gonzo and We Are Lightning! will all collaborate with talented performers and musicians from Bristol.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of The British Paraorchestra’s new work The Nature of Why, commissioned by Unlimited and co produced by MAYK. Taking inspiration from the unconventional curiosity of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, and his search for meaning in the world around us, The Nature of Why brings together dance and live music into an epic and beautiful performance. Featuring a cinematic live-score from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, an ensemble of musicians from the acclaimed British Paraorchestra and four extraordinary dancers, The Nature of Why promises to be an up-close-and-personal dance experience like no other.

Mayfest 2018 also boasts the premiere of Rich Allen’s The Killers (produced by MAYK). The Regent café, Weston super-Mare, forms the backdrop for Rich’s binaural sound piece inspired by the Ernest Hemmingway novel of the same name. Your ticket for The Killers includes a £5 food voucher to redeem at The Regent.

Last year MAYK collaborated with Mashirika Arts (Rwanda) and Theatre Factory (Uganda) and artist Caroline Williams to make Can You Hear Me Now, a show about the relationship young people in those three cities, have with technology. The British Council approached us to explore how to continue the collaboration so, we invited Hope Azeda from Mashirika Arts and a group of leading Rwandan theatre makers to come to Bristol for Mayfest. Hope and the Rwandan artists will be resident at Mayfest throughout the whole festival, seeing shows, making theatre and meeting artists from the South West. We’ll be sharing their experience on social media, and at the end of their residency there’ll be chance to see what they’ve been making.

Bristol’s rich artistic landscape plays out in rude health: Sabrina Shirazi’s Choral Cuisine is a sonorous dining experience in a coffee roastery where a two course meal becomes an opportunity to create music while you dine; Draw to Look (presented by MAYK in 2017) returns to Bristol - Hannah Sullivan invites you to join her in the simple and deliberate act of looking and noticing through drawing, and the festival we're presenting the world premiere of a major new work by Verity Standen, Undersong. Now Is The Time To Say Nothing by Caroline Williams is an interactive video installation made with Syrian film-maker Reem Karssli and young people from London. Bristol’s own, forever-fabulous Drag Queen Story Time will delight children at Colston Hall and Arnolfini.

Ridiculusmus make a welcome return to Mayfest, with a rare opportunity to see the full trilogy of their work focusing on mental health: Give Me Your Love, The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and Complicated Grief, taking place at The Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Southville Centre between 16–19 May.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story by 2b theatre company and The Accidental Mechanic’s Group’s Let’s Not Beat Each Other To Death both come from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cult musician Doug Hream Blunt flies in from San Francisco for a collaborative performance with The Cube Workforce at The Cube Microplex. Other shows include the Scottee’s Bravado, Caroline Bowditch’s Snigel and Friends, smash-hit Edinburgh show Velvet Petal by Scottish Dance Theatre, Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, Live Before You Die by Byron Vincent and Dave McGinn, and How (not) to Live In Suburbia by Annie Siddons.

Click the button below to learn more about the full programme and get your tickets. Don’t leave it too long, they’re selling fast…