Fancy a month-long festival of performances that feature everything from interactive game shows and knitting to surreal comedy and reptilian drag? Then you’ll want to check out the Fringe Futures Festival in London.
The festival will bring more than 50 shows to the Pleasance in Islington and The Vaults in Waterloo. There’ll be a host of live, work-in-progress shows, featuring bold and original new work across theatre, comedy and late-night entertainment. With a programme from leading independent performance makers, this festival aims to be a showcase of the future of the fringe.
Fringe Futures Festival sees the Pleasance and VAULT Creative Arts, producers of VAULT Festival, join together for an innovative collaboration. It will provide opportunities for early and mid-career artists to try out exciting new work in front of you, the live audience.
Festival shows at the Pleasance
The Pleasance’s programme of shows will take place across five weeks and has been curated by their London Associate Artists.
First up in Week One are Nouveau Riche. They’ll be showcasing work that extends the canon of what it means to be Black British and alive right now. Highlights include Michael Duke’s Pinky Swear. It follows a British Nigerian as he and his Jamaican boyfriend perform a daring public act on the streets of London. And Amelia Stevenson’s MANDEM which follows Felix, Jermain and Idris as they take on the transition from boys to men.
Week Two is just as lively. It sees Paula Varjack delving into the world of popular culture with shows like Burning Brick Theatre’s Northern Saint. This timely piece looks at how we treat women in places of viral political power, whilst utilising a group Whatsapp. And G&T Theatre’s Avocado On Tits is an interactive game show investigating the relationship between fast fashion and social media.
Next up, in Week Three, there’s a focus on early career artists. Spies Like Us brings us artists that will be treading the boards for the first time. One of the shows will be Sophie Bentinck’s Pauline. It’s an autobiographical journey, written after reading the suicide note of the grandmother she never knew. And RUNT Theatre’s one woman drum show spectacular PataFlaFla will explore loss, friendship and sexuality through music and spoken word.
More quirky shows at Fringe Futures Festival
Turning up the volume in Week Four are Burnt Lemon Theatre. They’ll be presenting work rooted in music and spoken word. This includes Volume Club’s Earth To Kurt, taking us back to the 90s with this fast paced comedy about Kurt Cobain and what it takes to be a rule breaker. And Klein Blue’s She Seeks Out Wool, combining live knitting and spoken word to unravel the story of migrant women from Vitebsk and Praszka.
Finally, Bric a Brac in Week Five brings us a mix of cabaret, drag and clowning through the lens of gender. There’ll be Anna Marie Simonsen’s electric one-woman semi-improvised comedy about the infantilization of women in Naughty. And Emer Dineen’s DUNCAN DISORDERLY, where Duncan will desperately try to rebrand himself as South London’s ‘hardest underground MC’.
Plus, the Pleasance and the Associate Artists will be providing free workshops throughout the duration of the festival.
Festival shows at The Vaults
VAULT Creative Arts’ programme of shows will take place in the first three weeks of the Fringe Futures Festival. These shows will be at The Vaults in Waterloo. And the focus will be on showcasing work that thrives on the energy and engagement of a live audience.
So, what are the highlights from this festival programme? Well, there’s 5 WAYS 2 RUN / DIOSA CALLEJERA, an innovative collage-style multidisciplinary exploration of identity from Jasmine Kahlia. It blends tales of being non-binary, Carribean, Roadgal and bilingual. And Dolly, an autobiographical piece from Chantelle Dusette. This show is about a woman with third degree burns learning to live with herself, and facing her fears and desires around motherhood.
Armbands from the award-winning Katie Arnstein examines sisterhood and staying afloat. Whilst General Secretary from Thick ‘n’ Fast is an hilarious comic journey through power and diplomacy. It sees two unqualified women suddenly put in charge of the world.
Meanwhile, Pip Williams’ FELT sees The Muppets do Waiting For Godot in a surreal and darkly comic exploration of toxic friendships. And Hot Cousin present a big, joyous and anxious party at the end of the world with TOXIC CRAZY LUCKY STRONGER, created across three continents over the past whirlwind year.
Comedy highlights at the festival
Fancy a laugh? Comedy highlights include Funny Femmes where Charlie George, Sharlin Jahan and Alex Bertulis-Fernandes bring you their uniquely hilarious view of a world that told them ‘women aren’t funny’. And BBC New Voices Winner and Amused Moose Finalist Jenan Younis presents Jenanistan. This work-in-progress show is about what it means to always be the minority.
Brand new material is also on offer from VAULT Festival stalwarts Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch and Heidi Regan, with two triple header events presenting the very best in stand up from new acts and household names trying out new material after a year on Zoom.
Friday and Saturday nights at The Vaults will feature a tantalizing array of late-night entertainment that audiences have come to expect from VAULT.
Lolo Brow is back with BRUT, a cosy and thrilling show featuring sideshow, music and stories that brim with puns, sex and regret. And Serena Flynn: Lizard King is drag as you have never seen it before! Are you ready for a powerful, sexy, shape-shifting reptilian humanoid presenting an hour of surreal comedy?
Finally, there’s Grey Widow. This award-winning solo comedy of horrors from Lady Aria Grey deals with drag, death and darkness. And London, Paris, Amsterdam offers the late-night crowd something different from award winning poet and playwright Jahmar Ngozi. It’s a spoken word concert of love, creativity and culture.
Love new theatre and innovative festivals? You’ll find more like this, here!
When: 24th May – 25th June 2021
Where: Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF and The Vaults, Leake St, London SE1 7NN
£: Festival ticket prices vary, depending on the event and cost from £5