China Plate presents First Bite, a festival of free lunchtime events offers sneak peeks of ten works-in-progress from Midlands artists
Ten brand new work-in-progress shows by companies and artists based in the Midlands will have their first outing for audiences and industry professionals at this year’s First Bite festival. The free online micro-festival, produced by independent theatre studio China Plate, will take place over a week in four lunchtime events hosted by Georgie Jones. Each event offers an exclusive taster of a few different works-in-progress over 30 – 40 mins, and includes a chance to hear from the artists themselves and offer them feedback to help further develop the work. The annual event has been promoting Midlands talent since 2009, with all the shows chosen through an application process run by China Plate. This year, successful applicants received £700 towards the creation of a new idea and their online sharing of the work.
Shows include a physical piece about fatherhood rooted in the traditions of Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam, a queer fantasy adventure set to a synth-pop score, and the forgotten story of a group of lesbians who helped and comforted so many people during the AIDS crisis.
Two of the pieces seen at the First Bite online festival will be commissioned by the festival partners and programmed at the Bite Size Festival at Warwick Arts Centre in April 2022, receiving a further £3,000 as well as two fully-supported development weeks. China Plate will act as producing, development and creative mentors. The development weeks will take place across the First Bite partner venues and organisations: Attenborough Arts Centre, In Good Company, Warwick Arts Centre and/or Midlands Arts Centre. Previous artists who have been commissioned through First Bite/Bite Size include Caroline Horton, Georgie Jones, Steph Ridings, and Paul O’Donnell.
Also on the menu are three new pieces of digital work made by young companies and artists as part of Take a Bite – an initiative providing Midlands based 18-23 year olds with professional development opportunities within the UK arts scene.
All events are free to watch, but audiences must register in order to receive the viewing link.
Rosie Kelly, Senior Producer at China Plate said, “Following what has been an incredibly challenging time for the arts sector, it is fantastic to see so many brilliant, new ideas for shows being developed by artists working across the Midlands, and we can’t wait to offer audiences’ an exclusive sneak peek of this work in progress”
The full programme:
Tuesday 28th September 2021 – 1.30pm
Altered Skin – Fatherhood
Bringing together physical theatre rooted in the Indian performing artform Bharatanatyam and multilingual spoken text, Fatherhood explores the cultural & gender expectations on fathers and what it means to be responsible for a child navigating an increasingly complex world.
Penelope Yeulet and Lilith Harris – Where There’s a Rattle
An age-old legend told as you were never meant to hear – the apocryphal Fall of Man. This play is a story of revenge, rebirth and overcoming the monster. But above all, it’s a love story. This is the unspoken romance of the First Women – Eve and Lilith.
Radical Body – Planet Alex
Alex Draper is 16 years old. She’s autistic, stressed about her GCSE’s, and a few days ago she found an alien living in her garden. She has no idea what to do next! Vivid and joyful, the show is a coming of age story about disability, friendship, and finding your place in the universe.
Daz Scott – Curfew (Take A Bite Artist)
Curfew is a verbatim dance-theatre film exploring the absurd reality of women’s safety in public spaces at night. Combining the thoughts and voices of a variety of women, Curfew captures the experiences that women could enjoy in a world where sexual harassment and assault are not a threat.
Wednesday 29th September 2021 – 1.30pm
Keiren Hamilton Amos – Pulled
After a difficult break up and time on his hands due to a global lockdown “Pedro” has been slowly navigating his way through the online dating scene. Using spoken word, movement and digital art to tell this story, Pulled unpicks the plight of what it means to be Black and in Love.
Georgia Kelly – Blood
In 1980’s San Diego, a group of lesbians decided to do something about AIDS. Their work changed lives, galvanised a community, and gave comfort and hope to many during a time of crisis. So why don’t we know about them?
Jana Aizupe & Company – 1001 (Take A Bite Artist)
1001 is a study of exhaustion – of being pushed beyond limits and working 16 hour days (because what’s the alternative?). Inspired by personal experiences of mental collapse and burnout, the show explores and brings attention to the unbearable pressure of the capitalist systems and ‘routines’ that we are conditioned to inhabit – whether we like it, or not.
Thursday 30th September – 1.30pm
S.B.Cole / Rukus / Donna Briscoe-Greene – Forgiven
Forgiven is a musical set in Leicester in the early 2000’s and revolves around a multicultural cast of vibrant young charity fundraisers who are fumbling their way through their twenties, trying to heal the world and pay the rent. When an old friend returns unexpectedly after a bereavement their fragile world starts to fall apart…
Jess Green – Remember Me
You’ll love Tim. Friendly, gets on with everyone, good at his job in a tough inner-city comp. Easy going, despite balancing the pressures of his job with building bridges with his estranged mother. But in between visits to the care home, reading blogs on dementia and submitting his application for Head of Year, something terrible happens which could ruin everything Tim’s worked so hard to achieve.
Out of Office – Hang in There (Take A Bite Artist)
The Out of Office trio use abstract choreography, interviews, humour and absurd costumes, to explore how a nation stuck at home has adapted to the ‘new normal’. ‘Hang in There…’ propels the typical office setting into the streets of Leicester, with performers ‘hanging’ from a clothes rail in their office attire.
Friday 1st October 2021 – 1.30pm
Emily Howlett/Max Runham – The Teacup Monkey
Max and Emily are in a relationship, but also in therapy because of it. They can talk to a stranger more freely than each other. That is, if they’re being honest… Everyone knows some lies we tell to be accepted. But what about the lies we tell ourselves? The version of ‘us’ we present to the world instead of who we really are, and what we really feel.
Omar Khan – A Beginner’s Guide to Widowhood
Suria has just lost her husband (She hasn’t misplaced him or anything – he’s dead.) The family are on holiday in Turkey, trying to process their grief, but fraught emotions and the turbulent dynamics of a newly fractured family mean it isn’t exactly the restful getaway they had hoped for. A piece that explores women’s journeys through bereavement.
Fatt Butcher – Fister Act
Fister Act, is a life-affirming queer fantasy adventure through logic, space, time, and sphincter. With an original score of synth-pop musical theatre (think Bohemian Rhapsody in space) and kaleidoscopic visuals, Fister Act is a cult classic in the making. Oh, and it’s strictly B.Y.O. Poppers!
First Bite is on Tuesday 28th September – Friday 1st October 2021, Free and Online – register at Bit.ly/FirstBiteFestival2021