In the break of a New Year there are torrents of reviews telling you what to watch out for 2013 in Theatres, mainly London-based shows from high acclaimed Theatres and companies. Yet how about fringe shows: New writing, new companies and new exciting voices reaching the stage. It is customary to wait for the famous Edinburgh fringe, with its many accolades and famous alumni, or at least some other summer festival, to bask in the, normally wanting, British summer. Yet, why not try to do a year of festivals. Here is a brief overview of festivals that are on throughout the year, and oh yes, there is one nearly every month. As always, please get in touch if you have any extra festivals to add. I would love to get a month by month itinerary. But here goes, the 2013 Theatre Festival Calendar.
Festopia with Little Pieces of Gold @ Theatre 503
This is a five day festival that showcases 19 Dystopias. The company famously supports new writing, so it is the prefect fringe performances to kick off the year. http://www.littlepiecesofgold.com
International Mime festival @ venues around London
This is an internationally renown event that lasts six days. Details can be found on their website: http://mimelondon.com/festival2013intro.html
Manipulate Festival @ venues around Scotland
This is a Puppet and Animation festival hosted in Scotland. This is in partnership with the Northern & Eastern European Centre for Puppetry Arts in Estonia, the Maribor Puppet Theatre in Slovenia, and the Festival Mondial Des Theatres De Marionettes in France, to present the work of leading Scottish artists in these countries.
National Student Drama Festival @ Scarborough
Founded in 1956 by Sunday Times critics Kenneth Pearson and Harold Hobson, and NUS president Frank Copplestone, the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) takes place every spring in Scarborough, and counts among its notable alumni Harold Pinter, Simon Russell Beale, Lucy Prebble, Mark Ravenhill, Timothy West, Meera Syal and Alan Yentob.
Spill Festival @ Barbican
An International Festival of Experimental Theatre, Love Art and Performance Presenting the work of exceptional Artists from Around the Globe.
HighTide @ Suffolk
Presents an exciting and vibrant programme of new theatre, platforms and free events: http://www.hightide.org.uk.
Brighton Fringe Festival @ Brighton
A month-long-festival, filled with a variety of performances and workshops: http://brightonfringe.org.
Another Brighton Festival starting on the same day of the 4th of May is the Brighton Festival, with again more variety and from theatre, dance, comedy, music, books film and more. http://brightonfestival.org
Accidental festival @ the Roundhouse, London
Now in its eighth year, The Accidental Festival is produced with passion by second-year students on the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice: Performance Arts course at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama from the 9th – 12th May 2013. It is an annual opportunity for artists to share work, take risks, and present fresh ideas to a diverse audience.Recommended by @Neleswa. http://www.accidentalfestival.co.uk
Henley Drama Festival @ the Kenton
A week long festival where drama entrants go head to head and are judged nightly by a GODA adjudicator. It is all set in a beautiful theater that is the fourth oldest in the country. Not bad.
Lift @ venues around London
LIFT (the London International Festival of Theatre) has been going for over 30 years with a stated mission to deliver “adventurous, innovative and progressive theatre for London and beyond”.
Latitude @ Henham Park Estate in Suffolk
Alongside music, Lattitude is home to a fine array of theatrical talent, as well as comedy, poetry and film arenas. It showcases both new and established companies, often with bespoke productions created especially for the weekend
24:7 @ Manchester
This festival was devised by David Slack as a reaction to The Edinburgh Fringe. The first festival took place in 2004 in bars and clubs around the city centre, and it’s gone from strength to strength since. Much like its counterpart in Liverpool, Write Now, it showcases works of under 60 minutes in length, with a panel of readers whittling down the entrants to a final ten. http://www.247theatrefestival.co.uk
Manchester International Festival @ various venues in Manchester
It calls itself the “world‘s first festival of original, new work”, this biennial showcase has only been running since 2007 but has made a significant impact. This year promises the XX in a secret venue and Kenneth Brannagh as Macbeth.
The Queen of them all, the Edinburgh Fringe is now (by some margin) the largest arts festival in the world. It all started in 1947 when seven theatre companies showed up uninvited to the highbrow Edinburgh International Festival, aiming to take advantage of the increased theatre audiences by presenting their work in other venues around the city. Since these humble beginnings it has grown exponentially to the point where it now features well over 30,000 performances of more than 2,000 shows in over 250 venues. Of those, a significant number will be laughably terrible. But there are always a plethora of hidden gems and pretty much any big name entertainer you care to mention has flyered on the Royal Mile at some stage of their career.
Write Now @ Unity Theatre, Liverpool
This international one-act play festival is a real gem. It’s ethos to support new-writing means there a lot of new and exciting voices presented over the five days.http://www.writenowfestival.co.uk
Suspense Festival @ venues around London
Produced by the Little Angel puppet theatre, this festival spills from the end of October into November. It is a puppet festival that aims to “prove that puppets aren’t just for kids”. http://www.suspensefestival.com/content/home.