HighTide Festival 2017


I hate missing out on exciting theatre, but that is one thing I will be doing this September.

Now I know I can’t complain too much about missing this festival – especially as I will be having amazing adventures in Australia (and possibly even seeing theatre at the Brisbane Festival ) but I thought seeing as you were all so interested in the Norfolk and Norwich festival that I would let you know about The HighTide Festival taking place in Aldeburgh, Suffolk from 12-17th September. 

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HighTide started in 2007 as a one-off festival and has grown to be a world famous festival of new work, especially well known for supporting emerging writers. In 2015 moved to its current home in Aldeburgh and continues to thrive and flourish every year. Many of the productions have gone on to tour the world, with some transferring to major west end venues in London. This year they have taken it one step further, with the exciting addition of a HighTide Festival in Londons Walthamstow from Sept 26-8th October- allowing them to further engage new audiences and work with the amazing new writers.

As I said earlier, sadly I won’t be attending any of this year’s festival – I just thought I would spread the word about some of the productions and events that have caught my eye.


Kanye the First– 12 – 16 Sep- A world premiere by Sam Steiner

“Know what? If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me – you’re a fan of yourself. “

“Annie’s not really a fan of herself. How did she get a life like this? While her perfect sister poses in hipster hats, she has to take care of her sick mother. And she keeps mistaking hot men for her Dad.

There must be more than this. The celebrities that fill her social media feeds are only separated by a screen, but that’s as close as she’ll ever get to someone like Kanye West. People think he’s a God.

But what if everyone thought she was someone else? Someone different. Someone better.

Sam Steiner’s first commissioned play is a dazzlingly funny and original drama about identity, guilt, contemporary culture and the second coming of Kanye West.”



HighTide
is passionate about writers writing about the Here and Now, and that is very clear in some of the productions commissioned this year. It also enables the company to grow and adapt to the current climate with ease, making for relevant and moving theatre every year.


Heroine -13 – 16 September-A world premiere by Nessah Muthy

“We need to take back control, not politicians, not the police, us, the people, we are the power.”

“Young soldier Grace, following a medical discharge from the army, faces a daunting return to the UK. She struggles to find her place, her people.

Post-conflict and in search of the friendship she’s lost, Grace volunteers at a local community centre, bonding with other women. As her trust in the women grows, so does her confidence. She hasn’t laughed like this for as long as she can remember, and she almost forgets she has a secret to keep.

But as the group starts taking action, Grace’s secret becomes harder to hide, and the trust she has built begins to fray. Forced to question the very foundations of her beliefs, Grace finds herself back on the front line, but who is she fighting?

Patriotism, nativism and modern Britain collide in Nessah Muthy’s devastating exploration of the UK today.”

One
of the things that seem very special about this festival are the Talk Backs that take place after certain performances. These give the writer a chance to get to know what people thought of their work immediately after the performance – making for much more honest and helpful feedback from their intended audience and not just the critics. 


Sea Fret–  Wednesday 13th September by Tallulah Brown

“This is our land Ruby. We’ve got to keep hold of it. We’ve got to fight for it.”

“Rising sea levels are threatening the ground beneath her house but Ruby is distracted. She wants one final blow out before her best mate Lucy leaves for Uni.

With the local community in favour of letting nature take its course, Ruby must choose: follow Lucy inland or stay and help her father hold back the tide.

An evocative semi-staged reading of Tallulah Brown’s paean to her native Suffolk coastline, first produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre in April 2017.”

As well as fully and semi staged productions there are also readings of new work too. This is another part of the festival that I think makes it stand out! 

Reading: The Places Where We Lived –Friday 15th September by Healah Riazi

“Every HighTide production and play reading starts life as a commission, and we find our writers through an annual programme called First Commissions. We work with 6 writers who are paired with our Associate Artists to develop an idea from conception to full production – two of which are produced for performance at a HighTide Festival.

HighTide First Commissions presents a reading of The Places Where We Lived by Healah Riazi.”

Saman is eighteen and has just been refused asylum. Cam’s estate is about to be knocked down. Sharon works at the Home Office and is starting to crack.

A play about displacement and identity. The Places Where We Lived intersperse three monologues to explore what happens when people are pushed to the edge in a changing city landscape and ask who is left behind.”



There are shows for all ages too, including one of my childhood favourite tales….


Peter and the wolf. Saturday 16th September

“Join Peter on a hilarious adventure through the fields and forest as he discovers new sounds and noises. Featuring animal antics of singing birds, waddling ducks, sneaky cats, and a rocking wolf. With new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic, this is Peter and the Wolf as you’ve never seen it before.

Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf is a brand new show with amazing music created live with a variety of instruments and objects, including real musical vegetables. Combined with imaginative puppetry, physical comedy and fun interaction, the show will have children ages 4+ jumping for joy.

Goblin are a children’s theatre company known for their innovative use of original music and wild creativity with a dose of anarchy.”



For the music lovers out there they have hugely talented musican Joe Stilgoe. If I was at the festival this would be high up on my list- I adore film scores and soundtracks… it’s basically all my Spotify is!

 Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film

In Songs on Film, internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and entertainer Joe Stilgoe pays tribute to much-loved movies as he adds his own original and stylish orchestrations to some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history.

From Hollywood’s golden age, to the classic films of the 80’s, to the work of Tarantino, Tati, Paramount and Pixar, Joe and his remarkable band perform songs written for and inspired by some of the greatest films of the last century.

Songs on Film features a number of your popular favourites in a show of virtuosic musicianship, breath-taking theatricality and wit.”

HighTide festival caters for such an eclectic mixture of theatre and performance that you are almost certain to find something you want to see. There are even a few talks – hosted by author Kate Mosse, including Michael Morpurgo and Shiela Hancock

The whole festival is reasonably priced, with some events starting as low as £5. Its a festival for both tourists and locals, and that is reflected in the pricing. 

 When the festival moves down south to Walthamstow, many other exciting events are added to the programme, making it even more diverse. You can see the Festival Guide for Walthamstow HERE

Have any of the shows I have mentioned grabbed your attention?

Please let me know if you go and see any of them. The provisional dates for this festival are already added to 2018’s plans!

-Amanda xx

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