Day-long showcase of new work in Bite Size Festival

Steve Orme

A new take on Ovid’s Minotaur and a jukebox musical featuring the songs of John Bon Jovi are among the varied shows on offer at the 2017 Bite Size Festival at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry.

The festival offers a day-long showcase of new work from theatre makers across the East and West Midlands, featuring performances from emerging artists as well as established companies.

The shows will be at different stages of development—pitches, works-in-progress, fully-finished or extracts—giving audiences the chance to see a range of work from across the region throughout the day.

Paul Warwick, co-director of China Plate which is curating the festival, said, “theatre and performance-making in the Midlands continues to go from strength to strength, as the quality and variety of shows we saw at First Bite this year testifies.

“Bite Size promises to be a terrific opportunity to come and see an exciting snapshot of what the Midlands has to offer and the terrific value of a day pass means you can see the work of 16 artists for less than £30.”

Among the highlights will be extracts of three new shows selected from ideas presented at the First Bite Festival, which took place across the Midlands in the spring: Paul O’Donnell’s We’ve Got Each Other, Maison Foo’s The Interlude and Serious Business’ Captain Simon. Each company was awarded £3,000 to develop ideas for performance at Bite Size.

We’ve Got Each Other is “a tragic love story following a docker and waitress, and their forbidden love for one another”. It features the music of John Bon Jovi, who may not appear in person. It “takes a sideways look at the pomp and circumstance of modern jukebox musicals, and questions if the art of imagination is being lost to machinery, illusion and extravagance”.

Milk Presents will be pitching its show Bullish which is inspired by Ovid’s Minotaur. It is a “new mythical play with songs, negotiating ancient and new territories in trans-masculine gender and identity. This show drops a proverbial bull into a china shop and hopes it breaks everything.”

Talking Birds will be presenting its full show The Female Warrior; Or the Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell. It is a theatrical account of the many surprising incidents that befell Hannah Snell, born in 1723, and also known as James Gray, in her extraordinary career as a soldier, mother, stage performer and sometime publican.

The festival takes place on Saturday 7 October from 10:30AM until 10PM. The day’s events will be split into six sessions. Further details are available at the China Plate web site.