Adventurous Theatre for Playful People

Thu 16 – Sun 26 May 2013


Mayfest celebrates tenth anniversary in style with the most ambitious programme of exhilarating live performance yet and we’re thrilled to have them back at the Tobacco Factory Theatre and Brewery Theatre this year.


The beauty of the festival programme is not only the great range of work on offer, but that its designed so that you can see a 6pm show at the Brewery Theatre and still catch a later show at the Factory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, or another Mayfest venue. The TFT programme features returning favourites John Moran and Belarus Free Theatre, as well as work from Beady Eye Theatre, Made In China and Jenna Watt.




Fri 17 & Sat 18 May 6pm (Signed performance Sat 18 May)

Venue: Brewery Theatre


Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award in 2013, Jenna Watt creates performances which pack a punch and pose serious questions.


Here she explores why and when we choose to intervene (or not) when witness to a violent attack. Is one punch enough? This new piece of theatre attempts to deconstruct the ‘bystander effect’, which states that ‘the larger the crowd the less likely it is that anyone will intervene’.


“An affable, generous, and beguiling performance, it packs a punch.” The Herald




Tue 21 – Thu 23 May 6pm

Venue: Brewery Theatre


Renowned New York Composer / Choreographer, John Moran returns once more to Mayfest and to the Brewery Theatre, to present the final in a series of theatrical portraits. In Goodbye Thailand (Portrait of Eye) he presents the story of Eye, a 19 year old in Bangkok who struggles to find a safe place for herself.


John Moran is well known for his work with performers such as Uma Thurman, Iggy Pop and Allen Ginsbery and is well regarded as the protégé of composer Philip Glass. His unique fusion of precise choreography and sound is here accompanied live by improvisational composer and electronic musician Daniel Williams, in his and Moran’s first collaboration together. Charming and refined, his intricate performances are quite electrifying to watch.




Fri 24 & Sat 25 May 6pm

Venue: Brewery Theatre


These are the brains of Those Who Have Passed. Those who could not keep up. Those who lost, the disqualified, the eliminated-from-heats, group stages and knockout rounds. The dead: the dead-to-us-now.


Amidst the litter of brains of Those Who Have Passed, Jess, Chris and Ira vie for success. Gym Party is the new show from Made In China; at once a delicate and violent three-way contest and a hilariously confused call-to-arms. It will explore the psychology of winning and the nature of pride: the desire to be and get the most, in all its triumphant and ugly incarnations.


“Not since Forced Entertainment burst on to the scene almost 30 years ago has a company arrived with such a fully formed and distinctive voice” The Guardian




Tue 21 – Thu 23 May 8pm

Venue: Factory Theatre

Devised by Kristin Fredricksson, Georgina Roberts, Seiriol Davies and Helen Mugridge

Sound by Elena Peña


Winter, 1974. A little girl waits for her mother to come home with a new baby. Its twins! Summer comes and the three girls are caught on cinefilm, playing in the garden.


Cooking Ghosts is the moving story of a woman who has no choice but to leave her children. A tale of tenderness and laughter turns to sadness and confusion, and the children abruptly lose their innocence. In this surreal and raucous show, an attempt to understand the past becomes a daring journey through the veils of memory that yields surprises and awakens ghosts.


Cooking Ghosts is a brand new show from Total Theatre Award Winners, Beady Eye Theatre. It fuses visual storytelling, puppetry, archive film footage and a specially composed score in a creation that asks: Is it possible to find joy again when the worst happens?


“An emotionally acute piece of performance that is moving but not sentimental… A delicate patchwork of visual storytelling that is at times breathtaking” The Stage


“Haunting, inventive… jumbles playful experimentation with a fine thread of elegy…heartfelt in the writing and startling in the realisation’ Time Out




Fri 24 & Sat 25 May 8pm (& Sat 2pm)

Venue: Factory Theatre


Following their incredible performance of Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker as part of Mayfest 2012, Belarus Free Theatre returns with an inventive and moving drama where food becomes a multi-faceted metaphor for life, death, morality and human endurance.


Using live music, choreography, stunning visual imagery and acting talent from Belarus, the U.S.A, the UK and Australia, Trash Cuisine explores issues behind imprisonment and torture with particular focus on the death penalty, in a dynamic, affecting and nerve shredding performance.


Hugely well received at its première in Amsterdam in October 2012, this innovative piece of theatre was devised and developed from first degree research collected in Asia, Africa, U.S. and Europe by Belarus Free Theatre with the support of Amnesty International.


This is a rare opportunity to experience a provocative and heartbreaking show from the bravest theatre company in the world. We’re very proud to have them back this year.


Trash Cuisine was a powerful and bold study of capital punishment.”  Huffington Post


“This is world-class theatre, built on the guts of raw experience.” Dominic Cavendish (on Belarus Free Theatre)


“Belarus Free Theatre completely shook me out of myself. Beautiful. Life-affirming. Full of fight and hope” Audience member (on Belarus Free Theatre)


Artistic Directors Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin said: “In a time where there is much talk of austerity, Bristol is without doubt bucking the trend when it comes to arts and culture. It continues to be a city where artists come to live, make work, innovate and experiment, and where audiences enjoy an unrivalled mix of theatre, digital art and music. Festivals provide a unique focal point for that creativity and our tenth anniversary programme celebrates the wealth of talent in the city and places it alongside some of the most brilliant theatrical voices from around the world. We can’t wait to get stuck in.”