Lunchtime works-in-progress in online festival

Published: 24 September 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Altered Skin will present work-in-progress Fatherhood at the First Bite Festival Credit: Deniz Soezen

Ten new work-in-progress shows by companies and artists based in the Midlands will have their first outing at the free, online First Bite festival.

Produced by independent theatre studio China Plate, the festival will take place over a week in four lunchtime events hosted by Georgie Jones. Each event will offer an exclusive taster of a few different works-in-progress and includes a chance to hear from the artists themselves and offer them feedback to help develop their work.

The annual festival has been promoting Midlands talent since 2009, with all the shows chosen through an application process run by China Plate. Successful applicants received £700 towards the creation of a new idea and online sharing of their 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 many people during the AIDS crisis.

Two of the pieces at the First Bite festival will be commissioned and will be programmed at the Bite Size Festival at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry in April 2022.

Also on the online festival’s 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- to 23-year-olds with professional development opportunities.

Rosie Kelly, senior producer at China Plate, said, "after what’s been an incredibly challenging time for the arts sector, it’s fantastic to see so many brilliant, new ideas for shows being developed by artists working across the Midlands. We can't wait to offer audiences an exclusive sneak peek of this work in progress.”

The festival runs from Tuesday 28 September until Friday 1 October at 1:30PM each day. All events are free to watch but audiences must register at the China Plate web site to receive the viewing link.