Words by Ed King
With absurdly pertinent timing, BE Festival throws open the doors of the Birmingham REP for its seventh year – bringing Birmingham just under a week’s worth of ‘head spinning performances from Europe’s four corners’.
Held from 21st – 25th June, the festival’s week long tickets are priced at £100 (£60 without dinner) or individual day/evening tickets at £22 (£14 without dinner) – giving you access to all studio shows. Extra tickets for Things Easily Forgotten (held at a ‘secret location’ from 22nd – 25th Jun) and Early Ideas (held at The Door on 25th Jun) can be bought separately for £5 each.
Welcoming 24 visiting companies to the city, presenting an eclectic programme of theatre, dance, comedy and performing arts, BE 2016 also offers a series of workshops, panel discussions and installations – many exploring the festival’s overarching theme of democracy.
Opening the festival on Tues 21st June is Piccole Donne, an hour long ‘evolution’ from Italy’s TiDA Théâtre Danse – as three ‘future brides’ explore the ‘process that women must undertake to liberate themselves from oppressive societal forces’. Thurs 23rd Jun welcomes Bristol’s ‘purveyors of fine comic theatre’ – Publick Transport, presenting their ‘irreverent and possibly the most out of the ordinary adaptation’ of West Riding’s famous literary sisters in We Are Brontë.
Then as part of BE Festival’s final day of programming, Barcelona’s Cris Blanco performs her one woman show, The Vortex Agitator – taking the audience through an intimate investigation of cinema as the play’s protagonist tries to recreate the hubris of Hollywood from her home.
Also watch out for An Wei Lu Li’s ‘colossal human figure covering the surface of Centenary Square’, as the city (that’s you and I) chips away at the static façade of modern society with its feet.
And if that’s wasn’t enough for your cross continent cultural palate, there’s also live music, DJs, plus the return of BE Festival’s ‘famous’ interval dinner – throwing audience and actors together each night on the main stage.
Food, art and politics… what could possibly go wrong? Pass the salad MrGreenaway; are you voting for Brexit?
BE Festival 2016 – official trailer
(might not give you too much about the broader festival programme, but worth 1m 17sec of your world)
BE Festival comes to REP and various city centre venues from 21st – 25th June. For direct info, including online tickets sales, visit www.befestival.org
For more from REP, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk