Last Updated on May 13, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Fringe Futures Festival- Live Theatre is Back!
After many, many months starved of live theatre, it is great to know that it won’t be for much longer and that there is a host of live entertainment happening this summer at the Fringe Futures Festival in London. After a long period of lockdown and with the theatre industry being one of the hardest hit, it’s with great joy that I and many others are soon able to return to watch live performances again. Many theatre companies have continued to be very creative and industrious throughout the pandemic by adapting their work and creating projects which have been streamed via online platforms. All great, but it’s not quite the same as the wonderful buzz of live performance.
The good news is that it has been announced that from 24th May – 25th June that more than 50 shows will be taking part in an exciting, brand new festival of live work-in-progress shows, presented by the Pleasance and VAULT Creative Arts. There are two venues across London, the Pleasance’s Islington venue and Pretty Vacant – a new pop-up performance space on Lower Marsh, provided by WeAreWaterloo.
Fringe Futures Festival 2021 will feature bold and original new work across theatre, comedy and late-night entertainment. With a programme from leading independent performance makers, this is a showcase of the future of the fringe. The festival joins together Pleasance and VAULT Creative Arts (producers of VAULT Festival) for an innovative collaboration. It provides opportunities for early and mid-career artists to try out exciting new work in front of a live audience.
So if you been missing the buzz of live performance like me, be sure to check out the Fringe Futures Festival, there’s something for everyone. See below:
Pleasance Islington is an Off-West-End theatre that opened its doors in 1995, this exciting theatre venue provides a platform for emerging artists and has provided a launchpad for some of the most memorable productions and renowned practitioners of the past decade and staying true to its mission of providing a platform for the talent of the future. The theatre, across three spaces, welcomes artists at all stages of their careers, with a commitment to new work that pushes boundaries.
The Pleasance’s programme of shows will take place across 5 weeks and has been curated by their London Associate Artists. First up for Week 1 is Nouveau Riche, showcasing work that extends the canon of what it means to be Black British and alive right now. Highlights include Michael Duke’s ‘Pinky Swear’ which follows a British Nigerian as he and his Jamaican boyfriend perform a daring public act on the streets of London as well as Amelia Stevenson’s ‘MANDEM’ which follows Felix, Jermain and Idris as they take on the transition from boys to men.
Week 2 sees Paula Varjack delving into the world of popular culture with Burning Brick Theatre’s ‘Northern Saint’ which looks at how we treat women in places of viral political power whilst utilising a group Whatsapp, and G&T Theatre’s ‘Avocado On Tits’, an interactive game show investigating the relationship between fast fashion and social media.
Next in Week 3, Spies Like Us bring us early-career artists treading the boards for the first time including Sophie Bentinck’s ‘Pauline’, an autobiographical journey after reading the suicide note of the grandmother she never knew, and RUNT Theatre’s one-woman drum show spectacular ‘PataFlaFla’ exploring loss, friendship and sexuality through music and spoken word.
Turning up the volume in Week 4 are Burnt Lemon Theatre presenting work rooted in music and spoken word, including Volume Club’s Earth To Kurt taking us back to the 90s with this fast-paced comedy about Kurt Cobain and what it takes to be a rule breaker.
Klein Blue’s ‘She Seeks Out Wool’ combines live knitting and spoken word to unravel the story of migrant women from Vitebsk and Praszka.
Finally, Bric a Brac in Week 5 bring us a mix of cabaret, drag and clowning through the lens of gender with Anna Marie Simonsen’s electric one-woman semi-improvised comedy about the infantilization of women and Naughty and Emer Dineen’s ‘DUNCAN DISORDERLY’ where Duncan will desperately try to rebrand himself as South London’s ‘hardest underground MC’. Pleasance and the Associate Artists will also be providing free workshops throughout the duration of the festival.
VAULT Creative Arts
VAULT Creative Arts’ venue is tucked away under railway tunnels covered in great street art in Waterloo. Its purpose is to inspire people to effect positive change through creativity, producing bold cultural events and opportunities in London and across the UK to bring creativity into our everyday lives as a vehicle for change.
VAULT Creative Arts’ programme of shows will take place across the first 3 weeks of the festival at Pretty Vacant in Waterloo, and focuses on showcasing work that could not have been performed without the energy and engagement of a live audience. Highlights from the theatre programme include 5 WAYS 2 RUN / DIOSA CALLEJERA is an innovative collage-style multidisciplinary exploration of identity from Jasmine Kahlia that blends tales of being non-binary, Caribbean, Roadgal and bilingual. Dolly is an autobiographical piece from Chantelle Dusette about a woman with third-degree burns learning to live with herself and facing her fears and desires around motherhood.
Armbands from the award-winning Katie Arnstein examines sisterhood and staying afloat. General Secretary from Thick ‘n’ Fast is a hilarious comic journey through power and diplomacy that sees two unqualified women suddenly put in charge of the world. Pip Williams’ FELT sees The Muppets do Waiting For Godot in a surreal and darkly comic exploration of toxic friendships; and Hot Cousin present a big, joyous and anxious party at the end of the world with TOXIC CRAZY LUCKY STRONGER, created across three continents over the past whirlwind year.
Comedy highlights include Funny Femmes where Charlie George, Sharlin Jahan and Alex Bertulis- Fernandes bring you their uniquely hilarious view of a world that told them “women aren’t funny”. BBC New Voices Winner and Amused Moose Finalist Jenan Younis presents Jenanistan, a work-in-progress show about what it means to always be the minority. Brand new material is also on offer from VAULT Festival stalwarts Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch and Heidi Regan, with two tripleheader events presenting the very best in stand up from new acts and household names trying out new material after a year on Zoom.
Friday and Saturday nights at Pretty Vacant will feature a tantalizing array of late-night entertainment that audiences have come to expect from VAULT. Lolo Brow is back with BRUT, a cosy and thrilling show featuring sideshow, music and stories that brim with puns, sex and regret. Serena Flynn: Lizard King is drag as you have never seen it before: a powerful, sexy, shape-shifting reptilian humanoid presents an hour of surreal comedy. Grey Widow is an award-winning solo comedy of horrors from Lady Aria Grey that deals with drag, death and darkness. London, Paris, Amsterdam offers the late-night crowd something different from award-winning poet and playwright Jahmar Ngozi in a spoken-word concert of love, creativity and culture.
Fringe Futures Festival
Monday 24th May – Friday 25th June 2021
Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF
Pretty Vacant, 134 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE
The full programme and tickets for all shows at Pleasance are available at pleasance.co.uk, 020 7609 1800 (2 – 4 pm on days performances are running). Prices vary, ticketed events from £5.
The full programme and tickets for all shows at Pretty Vacant are available at vaultfestival.com/whats-on, 020 8050 9241 (10 am-5.30 pm, Mon-Fri). Prices vary, ticketed events from £5.