Four-day Ovalhouse festival for Brixton

Written by on July 5, 2016 in Culture, News, Theatre - Comments Off on Four-day Ovalhouse festival for Brixton

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Ovalhouse Theatre, whose new home will be in the Somerleyton Road development, is organising a four-day festival in Brixton next month.

The Brixton City Festival from 11 to 14 August will celebrate our town with newly commissioned work and exciting performers, says Ovalhouse.

“Brixton City is an ambitious programme of creative residencies, community celebrations, public interventions and commissions that will take place between now and opening in 2018, launching this summer with Brixton City Festival,” says the theatre,

“Over the four days of the festival, audiences will enjoy unique theatrical experiences in everyday locations transformed into live performances to stumble across – a playground of theatre, circus, music, art and indescribable fun”.

Four commission winners, selected from more than 75 submissions, will join two invited commissions by Nick Field and Courttia Newland.

“They represent the vibrant energy of Brixton,” says Stella Kanu, Ovalhouse executive producer. “By using back streets, shops and businesses as their performance space, they shine a bright light on how theatre can strongly connect us and our sense of place and belonging.”

In Manifesto, by Courttia Newland, a brotherhood of young men debate the relative worths and deficits of Black Power.

“I’ve always found Brixton an inspiration in so many ways, even more so in recent years,” says Newland.

“The ability of this relatively small town to retain the cultures and styles that have made it world famous is an artistic touch point I return to time and again.

In lots of ways my play Manifesto is born of the values that make Brixton so unique: a willingness to speak our mind, resilience, being true to ourselves.”

Brixton resident Nick Field’s commission will see a performance on a boat in the pool at Brockwell Lido preceded by a keepsake collection for Brixton locals to save their mementos from the tide of change.

“I’ve lived in Brixton for many years, and it has never failed to fascinate and inspire me,” says Field.

“It is a unique place in London and in the world, but it is changing so fast that what makes it special is threatened.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to explore that and what it means through this commission. I’ll be making a performance piece as beguiling, compelling and urgent as Brixton itself.”

Marawa’s Majorettes, a world record holding hula hoop troupe will put on a dazzling hula hoop display with LED hoops and fast paced moves on roller skates, followed by a flash mob from Brixton village to Windrush Square

Lara Lee performs on The Voice. Picture: Guy Levy

Lara Lee performs on The Voice. Picture: Guy Levy

Brixton’s Lara Lee, a Voice finalist and anti-gentrification campaigner will perform live in front of the Bovril wall in Windrush Square.

Molly Orange Street Theatre will stage a circus-sitcom PUB – the landlord and landlady of a failing old fashioned boozer have a big decision to make: Go hipster or go hungry.

Artist Harald Smykla will reface banknotes with exquisitely detailed portraits of passers-by in the Currency Exchange Bureau at Brixton Pound.

Building work for Ovalhouse’s new theatre is due to be completed in 2018. The theatre says the new venue will offer two theatre spaces and seven multi-use accessible studios – for rehearsal, participatory work and community activities – and will comprise a significant suite of cultural workspaces, bringing jobs and opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises and supporting the already strong cultural sector in Brixton.

More at ovalhouse.com

About the Author

Alan Slingsby moved to Brixton just as the 1981 uprising began. His nearest pub was the Effra and nearest off licence the Frontline — long gone in an earlier wave of closures of treasured community establishments. He works out of an office in St Matthews and before that the Bon Marché. Has edited newspapers for the National Union of Students and National Union of Teachers. Now makes a living designing magazines and books and anything else people will pay him for.

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