Liverpool’s vibrant theatre scene is more active than ever as Physical Fest returns for another year. Hosted by Tmesis Theatre to celebrate all aspects of physical theatre, the festival welcomes performers and companies from all over the world to take part in the nine-day event.
The festival was due to be hosted in its regular home at the Unity Theatre but, due to delays in the Unity’s renovations being completed, Tmesis Director Elinor Randle faced the seemingly impossible task of relocating an international festival in a matter of weeks. That she did and, in the spirit of a festival which shines a light on exhilarating theatre companies, this year’s event brings the city’s attention to two new venues.
The Arts Centre at the City of Liverpool College is playing host to most of the performances for this year, and kicking off on launch night was Finland’s Kallo Collective and their incredible show ‘Only Bones’ featuring one light, one performer and no text. Thomas Monckton delivers a spell-binding routine of mime, clowning and mind-blowing contortionist buffoonery that has to be seen to be believed. This exciting company set the tone for the next nine days of entertainment with a perfect example of how physical theatre can use the body to express stories and concepts.
A major component of the festival is the education element through workshops and in Tmesis Theatre’s training company. In this year’s intensive they have created the fully immersive, ‘Summer of Love’ inspired, hippy experience ‘Daydream Believers’, with a young company of talented performers. For those new to physical theatre, this piece has a touch of all of the elements of the genre to get you started, as well as buckets of silliness and some important imagery. This is the only piece in the calendar running for the duration of the festival and it is definitely well worth a visit!
Perhaps most excitingly of all though, is the venue playing home to the ‘Daydream Believers’. Since the closure of the beloved Lantern Theatre almost a year ago, the Liverpool arts scene has been crying out for a new accessible venue for Liverpool’s huge raft of theatre companies.
The Hope Street Theatre, launching officially later this year and opening its doors for a brief preview in aid of Physical Fest, is housed opposite the Everyman at 22 Hope Street. Leading the project is Sam Donovan, co-founder of the prestigious Papatango New Writing Prize, who aims to provide an affordable and versatile multi configuration studio theatre space for companies seeking a City Centre venue. For ‘Daydream Believers’ the space is transformed into a San Franciscan garden party and the potential of the new space is more than apparent with the vaulted ceilings and quirky use of projection around the walls. This is definitely a venue to look out for.
Whether you are new to physical theatre or already a fan, the eclectic array of dance, mime, clowning and immersive expressive art has something for everyone to enjoy.
Feature by Tate James
Photo: Mark London
Physical Fest is taking place across the city of Liverpool until June 3 2017