Ferment Fortnight Preview | A Million Tiny Glitches

Following a blinding week of work at Arnolfini, Ferment Fortnight continues its work-in-progress mini-fest in our theatre 18-29 July. Here, Sleepdogs’ Director and Producer Tanuja Amarasuriya gives us an inside look at A Million Tiny Glitches.

Glitches - Edited.jpg

Tell us a bit about yourself…
We’re Sleepdogs, a collaboration between director / producer Tanuja Amarasuriya and writer / composer Timothy X Atack – although for Ferment we’re also joined by actors Kayla Meikle, Simon Mokhele and Zoe West, and movement director Coral Messam.

What are you presenting at Ferment Fortnight?
Some very very early explorations into an electronic musical called A Million Tiny Glitches. It’s the story of 3 friends, one of whom dies. The two left behind deal with their grief in some extraordinary ways, and one of them effectively builds a city out of their pain, hiding deep within it. The last remaining friend ventures into this strange world to find him. We’ll be playing the bare bones of some songs – in a suitably loud fashion, we hope – with some narrative and movement stuff alongside. There’s been much experimenting with what digital tech can do to live vocals, how onstage movement can complement gig-like or band-like performance styles, that kind of thing… it’s by far the most tentative, early-doors work we’ve ever shown at Ferment, but we hope it’ll be intriguing to anyone who might wonder what could happen when you mash up stage musicals and electronica

What inspired/influenced your piece?
Björk, China Mieville, ANOHNI, FKA Twigs, Wings Of Desire, Back To Back Theatre and Haruki Murakami are among our aesthetic influences for this one. At festivals like Sonar in Barcelona we’ve been particularly taken by the way a lot of electronic musicians have been presenting their gigs: making evocative, moving shows out of what might ostensibly be quite dry ‘one producer and a laptop’ experiences. But the biggest inspirations have been our families and friends in recent years, the shock of losing loved ones in different ways, the things it does to you – both good and bad. We both liked the idea of responding to these life lessons by making a big, joyous, modern musical about those troublesome, age-old, bittersweet puzzles.

What does the work that Ferment do mean to you?
We wouldn’t be where we are without Ferment, on so many levels. Alongside the brilliant audiences, it’s not just that Emma, Helen (and Kate and Lina before them) have encouraged, developed and commissioned our work – it’s the way they feed the broader conversation between everyone making and watching theatre in the city. They rock. And you rock. Yes, you.

What would you say the audience can expect in three words?
Songs / sidechains / bass.

Ferment Fortnight returns to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre stage 18-20 July. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Blahblahblah| Vanessa Kisuule

Ready for another riotous round of Blahblahblah? We caught up with Vanessa Kisuule to find out about her upcoming show Sexy and how her experience at January’s Ferment Fortnight has shaped the finished piece.

Vanessa Kisuule.jpgAre you excited to be returning to Blahblahblah?
Yes, always! The audience is always lively and engaged. The Wardrobe Theatre is such a lush venue and Blah always packs it out. The best thing about Blah is that it attracts a crowd that don’t necessarily come to other spoken word events so it is a more varied demographic.

You performed Sexy earlier this year at Ferment Fortnight, how did that process help you?
It was lovely to perform in front of such a warm crowd with friends of mine amongst the audience. This was simultaneously an asset and a drawback – being in my bra and pants was that bit more nerve racking knowing that people I’ve known for years would be there! Ferment is such an important thing for artists that want a push to try new things but don’t want the pressure to come up with a ‘finished’ thing before an audience gets to experience it. Feeling what an audience do and don’t engage with as in invaluable part of the writing and devising process and it was hugely helpful for Ferment to be one of the first pit stops in the journey.

Did the feedback that you received from Ferment Fortnight impact you or the current version of Sexy?
The feedback was very encouraging and was mostly people saying how much they enjoyed it. Whilst that was heartening and confidence boosting, it perhaps wasn’t the basis for any further development – one needs some more incisive commentary to work on in order to develop things further. It was other scratches that I did after Ferment that provided that for me, I feel. But assurance that you’re on the right track is just as important as constructive cristicism!

What do you think of the Spoken Word scene in Bristol?
It’s a small, thriving and welcoming one – I wouldn’t say I am a part of it per se, purely because I perform all over the place and when I’m back home I don’t attend that many poetry events or open mics. But I know and am friends with many of the people who run and frequent them and am really happy to see how varied their voices they are and how hard they work to prevent it from becoming cliquey. Malaika Kegode and Danny Pandolfi are doing brilliant and tireless work and they really are the heroes of the scene in my eyes.

What do you love most about Blahblahblah?
Anna programmes really brilliant artists and I feel she does a great job of depicting the true breadth of the scene. She isn’t just booking her ‘mates’ or letting her personal taste dictate her choices. I would always recommend Blah to someone who wanted to get their first taste of spoken word because I feel every line up is varied and any longer show that is featured will be an example of the best of spoken word theatre.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming poetry collection?
It’s slowly incubating – it’s called Sorceress and I want to be a big, meaty, fearless book full of heart and grit. It will hopefully be a good indication of how my writing has developed in the four years since my last book. I’ve been so busy that I worry it may never get finished, but I’ll get there in the end!

Through comedy, spoken word, dance and various states of undress, Vanessa Kisuule fumbles her way through the infinite contradictions of the word ‘Sexy’. Catch it at The Wardrobe Theatre 31 July. 

t***k you| Five minutes with the Director

Ahead of their newly devised production t***k youwe caught up with Lisa Gregan, Bristol Old Vic Young Company Director, to find out just how the show is shaping up ahead of its 2 Aug debut at St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College Theatre.

Bull - Thank You - BOVYC in rehearsal - Photo by James D Kent

Tell us a bit about yourself and the Bristol Old Vic Young Company. 
I’ve been the Young Company Director for 2 and a half years, where we work with young people from 5 to 25 years to explore theatre and creativity through weekly workshops and three shows a year.

Tell us a little bit about the story of t***k you
Because t***k you is a piece of work devised from a theme, as opposed to a narrative, there is not a story to speak of. It is mostly the thoughts of the cast on the world that they live in and how they see it. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of their world. We talk about the NHS, Brexit, Gender to name a few of the areas touched upon in the piece.

Distress - Thank You - BOVYC in rehearsal - Photo by James D Kent

What has helped to inspire this show?Personal stories have been a big part of the process. We have also created a lot of material inspired by the current political climate, and where we see ourselves and the world in the future.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The fact that it is thematic devising and there is no narrative has been really hard. We have been exploring lots of different forms and frames trying to find the right vessel for the material.

Hope - Thank You - BOVYC in rehearsal - Photo by James D Kent

What has been the best part of working on this production?
For me it has been so inspiring seeing the cast talk in such a passionate way about politics, about the things that make them mad and the things they want to change. It has also been great for us to reflect on the things we are thankful for (the vote, the NHS, freedom of speech). Seeing the group translate this into theatre has been very exciting.

Exploring the relationship between youth and power in the world today, catch Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s brand new show t***k you 2-5 Aug. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

t***k you| A word from the rehearsal room

Ahead of Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s newly devised productionwe caught up with James Kent,  t***k you‘s Visual Artist, to find out just how the show is shaping up ahead of its 2 Aug debut at St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College Theatre.

Under a Cardboard Sea Rehearsal Room - Photographer Jack Offord - Low Res-3292.jpg

t***k you is a show unlike anything I’ve worked on to date. It’s main priority for me is giving a voice to a generation that doesn’t feel that they’re being listened to, especially with our current political climate, and the visual aspect (projection/set/costume) is about facilitating and supporting their voices: anger, celebration, frustration, joy.

What that means is I’ve spent the majority of the rehearsals listening, watching and debating – a lot of debating – so that we find a language that supports rather than distracts or dominates.

What I do know is that although there’s a lot they are exasperated about (and rightly so) this show is a celebration, so expect colours and lights, a cinematic theatrical experience of the power this young company have.

Exploring the relationship between youth and power in the world today, catch Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s brand new show t***k you 2-5 Aug. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

INKBLOC Ensemble Cast Bio | Alex

Ahead of their debut show, LEGO Beach, we sat down with INKBLOC Ensemble to discover a little more about this year’s Made in Bristol troupe.

Here we caught up with Alex to find out all about her Bristol Old Vic theatre background.

AlexWhat have you been involved in at the Bristol Old Vic and outside of Made in Bristol?
I was in young company for a term and I really enjoyed my time there, so I was determined to maintain my involvement with Bristol Old Vic. With this in mind I helped out back stage with the ‘Under a Cardboard Sea’ production, which was a great experience. Since then I had a role in ‘The Love of the Nightingale’ performance as Niobe, which was an amazing Young Company production to be a part of. Previously, I have studied at the North Bristol post 16 centre doing Drama, Literature and Performing Arts and have always tried to gear my studies towards performance.

What is this year for you?
For me, this year has been a right laugh but also a challenge.

Favourite thing about INKBLOC?
I didn’t expect to gain a place on this programme but when I did it opened up doors to be the best gap year! My favourite thing about INKBLOC is the cracking people; many a time I’ve been in hysterics with the gang, but we always knuckle down and create work and support each other

Plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to start university in September at Bath Spa and study acting.

Tell us something interesting?
I can quote all 9 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race (extraordinary show) and that I have a serious addiction to eating grated cheese out of the bag.

LEGO Beach is INKBLOC Ensemble’s debut show, on Walkabout at 1532 Performing Arts Centre 19-22 July. For more information and to book, click here