Posted on February 06, 2018

Late last year we announced that we were successful in our bid to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund to present and tour three international participatory arts projects.

And now we can tell you what those projects are.

We’re working with artists from Japan, Canada and Australia on three major performance projects that will tour to Bristol, Weston Super Mare, Gloucester, Derby and Folkestone this spring and summer.

Our partners on this project are Strike a Light (Gloucester), Theatre Orchard (Weston Super Mare), Derby Theatre and Quarterhouse (Folkestone). All three projects will premiere at Mayfest 2018.


Imagine a kind of dance that’s also a martial art, that’s also a bit like a game that reminds you of something you’ve seen on the internet, or in a slapstick film, or on the streets.

Making their UK debut, Contact Gonzo bring their unique, playful, jaw-dropping physical style to Bristol and Weston Super Mare. It’s violent and tender, very funny and very serious. The show you’ll see involves performers from Contact Gonzo and Bristol and Weston Super Mare working together to create a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.

Based in Osaka, Japan, Contact Gonzo were founded in 2006 and made their name on YouTube. Contact Gonzo is both their collective name, and the name of the practice developed by Masaru Kakio and Yuya Tsukahara. They have made work in Singapore, New York, Moscow, Reykjavik and Budapest among others.


In a fixed location, writers type out observations of the world unfolding around them. In that same moment, a town choir receives these observations via a large screen and sings them out to the public. Drawing on patterns of relaying information that mirror Twitter or Facebook, Town Choir treats everyday considerations as the news. Intimate and minute details are transmitted through the ether, and then filtered through the live body in an epic choral declaration.

Town Choir is the musical iteration of Theatre Replacement’s Town Criers project, a continuing series of site-oriented performances that are built through partnerships with an artist or company and a festival or venue in any given location. Town Choir premiered at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in 2017, and has toured to the Dublin Fringe Festival (September 2017).


You are invited to the final requiem for the last music joint left in town.

Joseph O’Farrell (Mayfest 2013’s So You Think You Can Interpretive Dance) and UK’s Sam Halmarack (Sam Halmarack & The Miserablites and Of Riders and Running Horses) combine theatre with the fist-pumping euphoria and power ballads of a stadium gig, in WE ARE LIGHTNING!, a darkly comical work that reflects on the importance of communal spaces where people can come together and express themselves.

Each touring venue will be transformed into a music venue on the brink of closure. A teen band, a community choir and ageing rockers join JOF’s drums and Sam’s guitar to mark and protest its demise, leading audiences through a strange ceremony and heartfelt celebration of how music shapes the lives of the people that play it.

Join us for our last chance to come together and be saved by music.