Friday, 6 May 2011

Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival 2011

I went to the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, Nottingham today, but with my usual immaculate timing I was between exhibitions. Why on earth don't I check these things beforehand? However, it gave me the opportunity to have a cup of coffee, blueberry muffin and a look through the brochure for the forthcoming two-week Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival called Neat 11. It looks to be an interesting and exciting (I do use those words a lot don't I? - must look at the thesaurus next time) mix of productions. I thought that I would highlight here a few events that are of interest (there I go again) to me. If anybody from the Festival is reading this, the extra free publicity has got to be worth a 20% discount on ticket prices don't you think?

Giles Croft, Artistic Director, Nottingham Playhouse and Neat 11 says, "In programming this first neat festival we wanted to achieve a number of things. Firstly to invite first class work to the City of Nottingham; secondly to present the best that the City has to offer; and finally to make it a truly City-wide experience. Working with our cultural partners in Nottingham and the European Theatre Convention (ETC) we have been able to deliver on all counts. This vigorous, intriguing and uplifting programme demonstrates the variety of approaches to the making of theatre locally and internationally, and will ensure plentiful surprises, delights and challenges".

Do check out for venues, dates and ticket prices.

by Henrik Ibsen in a version by Andy Barrett

'Vote for change'

"Sick of the two established parties and their vested interests, one man promises a radical new agenda: to champion the people and remake politics. Does the League of Youth herald a fair future for all, or the same old small-town corruption? Is Stensgaard a hero in the making - or a man on the make? Switching allegiances at the drop of a rosette, and caught up in a string of romantic affairs, Stensgaard rapidly comes unstuck.

This brand new version of Ibsen's political farce, with its sparkling wit and cynical humour, finds fresh satire in an uncanny mirror of present-day Britain, where promises lead to compromise in the rush to snatch a share of the power".

"Leonore, the heroine of Beethoven's only opera, risks her life disguising herself as a prison guard to rescue Florestan, her wrongly imprisoned husband.

Good triumphs over evil and love conquers all as Beethoven's miraculous music delves deep into the passion and power of human emotion".

'You will not wipe away the crimes from their brow, but equally you will not extinguish the spark of God'.

"Based on Dostoyevsky's novel, The House of the Dead, Janacek's opera draws the visceral stories of captives in a Siberian prison with energy and vivid musical imagery. The harsh lyricism and sheer humanity of the music create a genuinely life-affirming experience celebrating the strength of the human spirit".

"The story of a death postponed by life.

Gregory had 57 letters to write. He'd started, full of optimism, curiously enough, at 9.00am and now, 8 hours later, he was half way through letter 24. He glanced at his watch and then at the noose hanging over his head.

Had he known how long suicide letters take, he thought, he wouldn't have cancelled the milk for the morning".

by Esther O'Toole

"Leave it all behind: friends, family, lovers.

Drop all your hopes and gamble everything for the chance of a brighter future.

Have you the money, the strength, the willpower to make the final crossing?

The Crossing is a riveting story of three Ghanaian men who journey thousands of miles across Africa in search of the new EUtopia.

Tangle is one of the UK's most exciting new theatre companies, celebrating and championing the work of theatre people from across Africa and beyond".

"In 1535, the men of the silent Carthusian Order of a small Nottinghamshire monastery stood up to Henry V111's demands in his battle to reform the alliance between church and state. This is the story of that incredible confrontation - the beginning of a wave of violence that would crash through England for decades.

Hanby and Barrett have become known across the region for producing spectacular site-specific work with community actors. The Cries of Silent Men, commissioned by Broxtowe Borough Council, was first performed at Beauvale Priory in 2010.

This outdoor performance involves moving from place to place. Seating is not provided, and no dogs are allowed apart from guide dogs".

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The owner of an old, forgotten studio stages the history of Faust before the very eyes of the audience. He shows Faust's covenant with the Devil, his tragic love for Margaret, his anguished search for truth, his illuminations, and his death.

It is a theatre of old people, madness, death and the fight between Carnival and Lent. The owner of the Studio, the Stage Director, will make his characters run from heaven, through the world, to hell".

Do let me know if you manage to get to any of the Festival productions, and what you thought of them.

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