The works in this year's Mayfest ask a lot of very good questions about the world we're living in, and the responsibilities we have to each other as human beings. Some of them are difficult questions, some are downright scary – and none of them have easy answers. But we don’t have to answer them alone.

For Mayfest 2018, MAYK will be in residence in Arnolfini's Front Room - a space created for people to meet, to talk, to work through, to tease out. We’re working together to create a sort of conversational container; the kind of space you can come along and know you’ll encounter other citizens-of-the-Mayfest-world – citizens ready to discuss their thoughts on the work they’ve seen, and the ideas within them.

It will work like this:

  • There will be daily events from Saturday 12th, announced each morning; follow us on social media to get the updates.
  • Anyone can suggest a conversation – or run one themselves! Suggest via #mayfestopen and turn up at 1pm for these Open Sessions.
  • Tuesday 15th and Saturday 19th, at 6pm, bring a plate and meet our artists for a shared meal.

All these events are designed to respond to the conversations you're having. Some days there will be artist talks; some days, broader conversations about the themes that the works in Mayfest address, about change, kindness, conflict, and intimacy. There might be prompts for autonomous reflection, and some days it might just be time for a good old-fashioned story. Please see details of confirmed events below – keep checking back for updates!

Resting Space: 'If we all lay down more, would the world be a better place?'

Raquel is interested in the simple act of lying down in public, and is curious about the different kinds of conversation we can have, lying side by side. During Mayfest, she will be doing a series of horizontal interviews with visiting companies and other interesting folk in the Mayfest Resting Space (Arnolfini Front Room). 

Her work challenges the etiquette of our public spaces and ask us to re-imagining our use of public space, in a more fluid and playful way.

Draw To Look Outcome Sharing

Drawing does many things, it records but it also asks us to pay attention. Hannah is interested in the liveness of observational drawing, the affect this occasion has on our relationship to what we choose to draw, and the resulting marks as maps of our looking. Using a simple drawing exercise Hannah hopes to create an accessible drawing experience, dispelling pressures of skill or technique, refocusing on allowing time to notice what we cultivate when we draw.

Following her 3-day run of Draw To Look in this years Mayfest, Hannah Sullivan will be sharing the resulting drawings at the Festival Hub until the close of the festival.

Sunday 13th May @ 3.30pm - MAYK Young Programmers 

Some of MAYK’s new Young Programmers group will be meeting to chat about their impressions of the festival so far with Rife Magazine’s Tim Lo

Wednesday 16th May @ 11am - New British Music Theatre

As part of Mayfest we are working with New British Music Theatre to facilitate an informal conversation around music and performance. 

Basically this is a chance to get together and share our experiences of what it means to be creating performance in this context.

NBMT is an artist-led initiative established to help identify, promote and connect this work across the UK and internationally.

Join us for drinks as St George’s on Tuesday 15th May after the second performance of Verity Standen’s Undersong and in Arnolfini’s Front Room on Wednesday 16th May at 11am for a good ol’ chat.

Friday 18th May @ 5pm - Mashirika Arts Discussion

Join Artistic Director of Mashirka Arts, Hope Azeda and visiting artists from Kigali for an informal discussion about their work, the Rwandan cultural context and their time here in Bristol. 

Saturday 19th May @ 11am - Old Stock and Jewish Renaissance

Following her recent chat with 2b theatre company writer Hannah Moskavitch, Jewish Renaissance writer Judi Herman joins us in the front room to discuss Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story with director Christian Barry. Find out more about the true tale of two refugees arriving in Nova Scotia in 1908, having fled the pogroms in Romania, told through klezmer music and life-affirming drama. Check out Judi’s interview with Hannah here to get a taster of this great Front Room discussion.

Saturday 19th May @ 3pm - Stories of Technology and Improvised Theatre

When It Rains is an experiment with what the limits of improvised theatre are. On July 13th at the Bristol Improv Theatre they will be offering two experiences as part of one show, where they will reflect on your memories of the rain and find the stories hidden underneath. Graham Johnson, producer, will be talking about the inspiration for the show and how the rehearsal process has been going.