Pulse Festival Ipswich Launch
Returning for its 16th year, this 10 day festival offers a bright and inspiring snapshot of contemporary theatre with established and emerging artists, both local and those from further afield.
Building on previous Pulse Festivals, this year’s programme carries on the successes of Suitcase Prize Day and Scratch Day with new work from returning companies, and even more high quality theatre coming from around the UK that are on the festival circuit.
Suitcase Prize Day (27 May) began at Pulse Festival 2013 as a way of encouraging theatre makers to think about making and touring work in a more environmentally and economically sustainable way, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint that touring theatre leaves behind it. It returns for the 4th time this year with ten shows competing to be named best show that can be toured on public transport, with This Theatre, winners of the prize in 2015, returning with Edinburgh hit Police Cops.
This year’s Spring Festival Commission is Jamal Harewood’s Word – which will be shown for the first time as a work in progress on Scratch Day (28 May). The commission is supported by Mayfest (Bristol), Night Watch (The Junction, Cambridge), Sprint Festival (Camden People’s Theatre, London) and PULSE to offer artist a time to develop and tour brand new work with different audiences and feedback in each region.
Sunday 29 May sees a new themed day in the festival for emerging work from companies who are experimenting with new ways of working. Le Gateau Chocolat will present a work in progress of a new show for families, Duckie; the New Wolsey Theatre’s People You May Know present a new show The Goldilocks Principle – a story about hoping for happiness and setline for success, and Worklight Theatre bring their multi-award winning show Labels, a funny and moving story about mixed heritage.
As part of We Are Ipswich – a local collaboration of arts venues and organisations, Pulse Festival will this year present more work and collaborations from the region, showcasing the impact Ipswich makes on the industry. Eastern Angles will present The Fitting Room by Tara Lepore, which will take place in the Theatre Bar. Gecko will present a work in progress of a new show The Wedding, which will be presented on the final Saturday at DanceEast. On Thu 2 June, Dance Day returns with two performances programmed by DanceEast from Rhiannon Faith and The Hiccup Project, this year at the New Wolsey Theatre.
The festival will conclude on Sat 4 June with Spymonkey’s production of The Complete Deaths, adapted and directed by Tim Crouch. There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare and Spymonkey will perform them all – sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, sometimes musically, always hysterically. The show will be performed in the theatre’s full auditorium space and will make for an explosive evening!
Other highlights of Pulse Festival 2016 includes:
Jamie Wood’s psychedelic ride O No!; Third Angel’s stand up meets astrophysics lesson 600 People, and Nigel and Louise’s This Is What Men Do, commissioned by the New Wolsey Theatre and working with women from Ipswich. Returning artists and companies include Caroline Horton, John Osborne, Two Destination Language, Figs In Wigs and Made In China.
The festival will also end each day with free music in the New Wolsey bar to entice in non theatre going audiences and create a sense of community amongst the companies, artists and audiences and generally create a buzz around the festival and the work.
Ed and Paul of China Plate, the festival’s co-curators, said:
“It has been such a privilege working with the New Wolsey Theatre programming our fourth Pulse. Bringing together some of the most exciting work happening anywhere in the country for 10 days each May June really is the highlight of our year! We hope that we have gathered together a body of work that will delight audiences from Ipswich and beyond reflecting the vibrancy of the local and national theatre scene Its almost impossible to pick out single shows amongst this programme and we encourage people to take advantage of the fantastic multiple ticket deals and come along to see a number of things – from fresh ideas from the artists’ sketchbook during Scratch Day and Suitcase Day to taking over the main stage with Spy Monkey and Tim Crouch presenting all of the deaths in Shakespeare’s plays there really is something for everyone!”