It is 8:30 a.m. on a sunny Wednesday morning at The Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue when, at an intimate breakfast, several of the creative minds behind The Latitude Festival, members of the P.R. department, and a few journalists sit down to discuss the exciting and innovative material due to take place at the festival in Henham Park this Summer.
There is a plethora of varied work programmed. It seems much of the theatre work will be almost like art installation. One may be able to walk past a performance, and, in some cases, not even be aware of it. The pieces are aimed at different audience sizes, ranging from just one person, to as many as can gather round.
‘…Latitude has a very wide demographic, and what we’re trying to do is to reach all of those people, and, to make them experience theatre in a way, perhaps that they haven’t experienced it before…’ Tania Harrison, curator for all the non-music stages
Tanuja Amarasuriya, producer and director of Sleep Dogs, spoke about her two-person company, (Timothy X Atack and herself), and the premier of their new production, The Bullet And The Bass Trombone, a hymn to lost places and voices, which will be performed in the theatre arena, by one person, (Atack), playing the role of a composer who becomes separated from his concert orchestra during a military coup. Amarasuriya explained that Sleep Dogs want to inspire the imaginations of their audience in such a way that they feel they have experienced a massive event, even though there is only one person telling the story. They will use a lot of sound effects to aid this, so are going to have to be very thorough on this aspect in order to achieve the full potential of this intriguing idea.
In contrast to the theatre arena, Elizabeth Freestone, artistic director of Pentabus Theatre, stated that Stand Up Diggers All will be taking place in ‘The Faraway Forest’. Based on a protest that all land is ‘common ground’ and should not be owned by anyone, the company is going to build an actual diggers’ plot in the forest, making this piece quite site-specific, and the action will occur right there in the forest, comprising a ‘mixture of performance, protest, music and mayhem’. Freestone also commented on the fact that they will be using original protest music, sung by the actual diggers.
‘…theatre is always at the forefront of telling people, and explaining to people, the responses, and writers’ and artists’ responses to what is happening in the world, and we’ve tried to embrace that in its many, many different forms…’ Tania Harrison
The diverse range of work will also include five different pieces from Lyric Hammersmith, Harry Burton will be directing the work of Pinter, Harold in Havana, and Look Left Look Right will perform a specially commissioned piece, Not Another Musical – ‘…a team of talented actors to bring you the songs that should never have left the board room.’
This is, of course, just a small slice of the gargantuan amount of theatre that will be happening at Latitude this year, and with music, comedy, cabaret, poetry and much, much more to boot, this three day festival has crammed in as much creativity and entertainment as possible. It sounds like it’s going to be an exhilarating and relishable few days.
– David Richards