Paul T Davies previews The 18th Annual Pulse Festival at the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.
Now firmly established on the East Anglian and theatrical calendar, the Pulse Festival is 18 this year, and is as eclectic and exciting as it has been every year. With post Edinburgh hits on tour, scratch days, new work and material being tested, live music and dance, there really is something for everyone!
The Suitcase Prize Day is always a great event, in which theatre makers present about 20 minutes of a new show, and are encouraged to think in an environmentally and economically sustainable way- work that can be toured in a suitcase! Twelve companies and artists will present excerpts of new work, with the winner being announced at the end of the day. Last year’s winner, Rubber Ring by James McDermott, gets its full performance, and it all takes place on Friday June 1st. The following day is Scratch Day, so there’s even more opportunity to see new work being tested out. Then on Sunday June 3rd is a wonderful new initiative, FREE DAY, where you pay what you can or want to. Look out here for Rive Productions Skin A Cat and Nice Guys by the rather wonderful People You May Know.
My highlight of the entire festival will be The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Education Education Education, which takes us back to 1997 and the election of Tony Blair. It’s their love letter to the schools of the 1990s, and has been wowing audiences on tour after tearing the Edinburgh festival apart last year! This is a wonderful company, and this is the production NOT to miss- trust me! (June 8th, 8pm) Fancy an almost entirely imagined Bon Jovi Musical? Then We’ve Got Each Other by Paul O’Donnell on Saturday 9th, which closes the festival, is the show for you, as he creates an all singing all dancing spectacular using the power of your imagination!
Joseph Morporgo’s Hammerhead is a boundary smashing 9 hour adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein- or is it? Surreal set pieces ad monsters are promised! (9th June) Yolanda Mercy’s Quarter Life Crisis has been going down a storm with audiences, (5th June), and Dance Night is on Thursday 7th, with Igor and Moreno Andante at the beautiful Jerwood Dance House studio at Dance East. Small World is a devised multimedia physical theatre adventure story by Ipswich writer/director Rich Rusk and should be certainly worth a look on Monday 4th June, and follow that with Lapelle’s Factory the Black Cat, a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s twisted tale and Louise Orwin’s Oh Yes Oh No, using real life interviews about sexual fantasies that may not alin with your politics- and eclectic mix indeed!
In sort, get browsing the festival and take a gamble on some innovative theatre- I’ve NEVER left Pulse without having strong feelings about what I have seen, and the atmosphere across all the performance spaces is terrific!
Pulse Festival 2018 runs at the New Wolsey Theatre from 31 May to 9 June 2018.