I love performance festivals – any celebration of the arts that intrigues and encourages new audiences to see creative pieces of work.
So York’s pay-what-you-can contemporary performance festival is, in principle, right up my street. SLAP gives developing dance, theatre and live art performers chance to showcase their work at York Theatre Royal Studio and other venues across York.
First up is Fat Girl Singing at the Studio on 21st February. It’s a funny, compelling show that explores body perceptions. Writer and director Emma Geraghy focuses on body and sexual identity throughout the show, armed with a guitar and plenty of original songs.
The show is swiftly followed by The Faun Project on 22nd February. It’s a dance show that explores transformation. This one’s probably a little too quirky for me personally, but the collaboration between award-winning choreographer Beth Cassani and co-artistic director of PanicLab Joseph Mercier shows it’ll be a high calibre of performance if nothing else.
If dance, clowning and optical illusions intrigue you, The Mesmerist on 23rd February might be right up your street. The family-friendly show explores love and loss, and hope and adventure through a variety of creative mediums. I’ve not seen a Northern Rascals performance yet but the idea of thought-provoking dance theatre does appeal.
Exploring masculinity. Mixed martial art. An ultimate death match. American frat culture and Greek mythology merges in Thesus Beefcake on 23rd February. A performance by Panic Lab, this is probably more likely to appeal to people who like a hefty dollop of quirk with their theatre.
The festival also features a range of workshops by YSJ Spark Community Theatre and shows at John Cooper Studio @41 monkgate, De Grey Rooms and The Crescent Community Venue.