Strike A Light March 2015
Its 10am, on 21st March, and opening its doors in King's Walk Centre is Affix a new research and development brought to Gloucester as a part of Strike A Light, a theatre festival that I'd held in Gloucester twice a year; March and September, which brings local and further wide talent to the city. The night before had Spitz and Co. return to the city with their brand new show Glorilla, after their incredible Gloriator last year.
Within minutes of opening its doors, Affix was packed with children and their parents all having fun. Produced by Sabrina Shirazi, the premise is simple; what could you create from 300 shapes, 30 vests, and 3 surfaces? As a result from the days events, hundreds of inventions turns out to be the answer. From motorbikes to transformers, the possibilities were endless, and with help from Velcro vest and strips, which could be placed anywhere from the hands, arms or legs, anything from original to whacky was produced, and as the day progressed, and volunteers attracted the general audience throughout the centre with their own inventions, the shop never became quiet, as the children's imaginations ran wild. What was fascinating about this venture was that as a kid's event, the parents were so happy to get involved also, and really felt like it gave the residents of Gloucester a moment to relax and have fun on a busy Saturday afternoon in the city.
Taking the Gloucester Guildhall stage by storm in the evening was Mikey J Asante and Kenrick Sandy, otherwise known as Blue Boy Entertainment, from London, with their incredible show Touch, which involved funny dance sketches and routines, but also brought together local youngsters, who rehearsed with the boys only on two weekends previously, to the stage to show the talent that they had to give, and this once again felt like the community really pulled together just to show what the city had to offer, but also giving young aspiring dancers to have that opportunity to go on stage and perform, which would have only just been a dream to some of them throughout their own lives.
The Next Day, 22nd March, and I get the chance to see two inspiring and thought provoking shows, as well as participate in a theatre writing workshop.
The first show was State of Grace, by Reckless Kettle Theatre Company, which had an emotional story of the effects of dementia, and centered round a daughter caring for her father, which was beautifully portrayed by a life size puppet. Though their was some really intriguing and serious issues, there was also a mix of heart warming moments which made the audience both smile and laugh, as we watched this endearing performance and story unfold on stage right in front of us.
The second show of the evening was the compelling I Am Joan, a one woman innovativeViv Gordon. Looking back at various Joan's, such as Jet, Collins, Arc and Rivers. The message behind the piece was about recovery from trauma in her life, and using all these Joan's as an example of how strong the women were in their lives. Though it was a work in progress production, the direction of the narrative and the immediate hook at the beginning was kept the whole way through, and you could see so much meaning between everything that was being displayed on stage, you could really find parts that could relate to your own lives.
Its 23rd March, the final night, and Bucket Club are now drawing the festival to a close with their innovative show Lorraine and Alan, based on the selkie myth. Updated to a current situation and format, this show felt fresh and engaging to young audiences, and would be really useful in to education in schools and further education. Full of laughs, and electro technology, the narrative was clean and clever, and never had a down-beat moment. A truly inspiring show to end of a fantastic festival, bringing the whole of Gloucester together.