15 Years of the Unexpected

10–20 May, Bristol

Mayfest, Bristol’s festival of international theatre, announces its 2018 programme featuring over 20 shows from the very best theatre makers in Bristol, the UK and beyond. 

Mayfest is back, celebrating its 15th year of adventurous, thought-provoking theatre. Spilling out across the city, Mayfest playfully – and sometimes provocatively – champions extraordinary new work from artists with distinct voices, for audiences, whoever they are. From the classical architecture of St George’s to the nightclubs of Old Market, Mayfest invites you to come together, play along and take a moment to reflect. Artists from Canada, Japan and Australia offer opportunities for participation and exchange: Town Choir, Contact Gonzo and We Are Lightning! will all collaborate with talented performers and musicians from Bristol.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of The British Paraorchestra’s new work The Nature of Why, commissioned by Unlimited, who celebrate and support the work of disabled artists. Taking inspiration from the unconventional curiosity of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, and his search for meaning in the world around us, The Nature of Why brings together dance and live music into an epic and beautiful performance. Featuring a cinematic live-score from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, an ensemble of musicians from the acclaimed British Paraorchestra and four extraordinary dancers, The Nature of Whypromises to be an up-close-and-personal dance experience like no other.

With an explosion of work from around the world, some of the highlights from overseas this year include the UK debut of Japanese company Contact Gonzowhose jaw-dropping physical style will thrill audiences at Jacob’s Wells Baths on 12 and 13 May, after a week’s residency. It’s violent and tender, very funny and very serious. Direct from an acclaimed off-Broadway run, Halifax Nova Scotia’s, 2b theatre company bring Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, a deliciously dark folktale woven together with a blistering Klezmer-folk gig. Also from Halifax, The Accidental Mechanic’s Group’s Let’s Not Beat Each Other To Death lands at The Loco Klub – a genre-defying play/memorial/electro-pop dance party and a celebration of LGBTQ people around the world. Cult musician Doug Hream Bluntflies in from San Francisco for a collaborative performance with The Cube Workforce at The Cube Microplex.

The UK premiere of WE ARE LIGHTNING! by Sam Halmarack & Joseph O’Farrell takes over Trinity with a cast of nearly 100, including a huge choir, a brass band and a teen band. Following their Mayfest premieres, WE ARE LIGHTNING!, Town Choir and Contact Gonzo will tour to Theatre Orchard, Weston-super-Mare, Strike a Light, Gloucester, Derby Theatre and Quarterhouse, Folkestone this spring and summer, supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

Bristol’s rich artistic landscape plays out in rude health: Sabrina Shirazi’s Choral Cuisine is a sonorous dining experience in a coffee roastery where a two course meal becomes an opportunity to create music while you dine; Draw to Look byHannah Sullivan invites you to join her in the simple and deliberate act of looking and noticing through drawing, and the world premiere of a major new work by Verity Standen, Undersong. Now Is The Time To Say Nothing by Caroline Williams is an interactive video installation made with Syrian film-maker Reem Karssli and young people from London.

Ridiculusmus make a welcome return to Mayfest, with a rare opportunity to see the full trilogy of their work focusing on mental health, Give Me Your Love, The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and Complicated Grief, taking place at The Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Southville Centre between 16–19 May.

Also returning to the festival is Scottee, with Bravado, his blistering memoir of working class masculinity, performed at Jack of Diamonds on Old Market.

For younger audiences, there’s Snigel and Friends by Caroline Bowditch and Bristol’s very own Drag Queen Story Time.

The festival also ventures out of the city for the first time with Richard Allen’s The Killers, at The Regent restaurant on the sea front in Weston-super-Mare. Inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story of the same name, The Killers is a binaural sound work where the audience listen as two assassins arrive at the restaurant thirty minutes before a killing.

Other shows include the smash-hit Edinburgh show Velvet Petal by Scottish Dance Theatre, Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, Live Before You Die by Byron Vincent and Dave McGinn, and How (not) to Live In Suburbia by Annie Siddons.

Mayfest is curated and directed by MAYK, the producing organisation based in Bristol led by Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin. They said of this year’s programme: “We are living in a particularly big political, cultural and social moment. The work in this year’s festival speaks loudly and subtly about where and who we are, right now. It’s so good to be back after a year away, and we can’t wait to share this year’s programme with audiences from all over the UK.”
PRESS ENQUIRIES: Claire Skelcey at Mayfest on 07977 535508 / 0117 925 9999
Follow Mayfest on Twitter: @mayfestbristol and via Mayfest’s Facebook page

News From Heart N Soul

The Fish Police are back with their brand new single Cactus taken from the upcoming EP ‘Edge Myself to the Middle’!

The Independent has described it as: “Joyful in its simplicity, a funk guitar line, glitching synth and 808 drums sitting under frontman Dean Rodney Jr.’s matter-of-fact, resolute vocals suffused with positivity.”Read the full review and listen to the track here!

The band are launching the new EP at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas! But they need your need help to get there, you can support this adventure by donating here!

Make sure you follow The Fish Police on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because next week they’ll be releasing the next single and music video!

Heart n Soul at South by Southwest

Heart n Soul will be hosting a discussion at SXSW called Exploring Music Through The Lens of Neurodiversity on 14 March.

It will feature Dean & Charles from The Fish Police, Heart n Soul’s Artistic Director Mark Williams and artist Robyn Steward.

They will be looking at different ways of seeing the world as musicians and how they collaborate together as artists with and without learning disabilities.

Our Own Thing

It was amazing to see so many talented young from Do Your Own Thing people making music and art at LSO St Luke’s last Friday! Thanks to everyone involved in performing, watching and supporting – you helped make Our Own Thing a night to remember!
 Check out photos of the night here and keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as there will be a video of the event soon! 


Too Hot for Candy have just finished filming their new video for a SoundLab project they’ve been working on with Grace Savage, more will be revealed in April!
 Have you visited our SoundLab website recently? Over the last three years we have explored how digital music making technologies can be used to help people with learning disabilities make the music they want to make. Visit the website to find out how you can share, learn and play!


Join us every week from Thursday 22 February until Thursday 29 March for the new season of Allsorts! This year we start with The Season of Choice and will have more variety than ever, ranging from beatboxing to Strictly Come Dancing!
 Find out more about the programme on our website.

Do Your Own Thing

Don’t forget that Do Your Own Thing returns on Saturday 17 February in it’s new home at The Albany, where we’ll be making more art and music! To find out more about Do Your Own Thing, visit the webpage here.


Heart n Soul Choir

It’s the final Heart n Soul choir session todaybefore Allsorts starts again, check out future dates on the website. Don’t forget you can see them perform tonight at our Deptford Club Night at Buster Mantis! Heart n Soul’s Club DJs will also be there playing tunes for you to dance to, we can’t wait to see you there!

Spaceheads and Rucksack Cinema

Spaceheads is a duo that graft the sound of technology. They generate a fusion of jazz, funk, dance, electro and indie to create an inimitable sound of their own.

Andy Diagram has played trumpet through loopers and effects with various bands from the bright leftfield pop indie heroes ‘James’ to the darker abstract sounds of Pere Ubu’s David Thomas. He has taken the sound of the trumpet into the heart of alternative music (recently integrated a mobile phone to transform a single horn into the full sound of widescreen cinematic brass!) Richard Harrison‘s unusual drum beats and percussive trickery utilses tin cans, bottles, sheets of metal and a pair of squeaky toy pigs.
This performance follows hot on the heels of the release of their new 13-track ‘A New World In Our Hearts’ from their 13th album, which is inspired by peoples’ struggle for a better world.
The Spaceheads’ experience is accompanied by Rucksack Cinema with live mixing of video images. Enjoy b&w films of steam trains, 1920s space films, clips from classic movies combined with images of the universe, spinning stars and psychedelic swirls from floor to ceiling…
 Welsh anarcho punx, Mwstard hail from Pembrokeshire and are supporting Spaceheads at the next TRANSIT. Describing themselves as “DIY Pre-post punk kift disco band” they have new material to share with their fans. This will be your only chance of seeing them and their funky projections in West Wales this year – so don’t miss it!

Little Sparks


Disability Arts Cymru and Making Minds are proud to announce the full programme of events taking place as part of “Little Sparks”,   a new Mental Health Arts Festival in Wales this Autumn/Winter 2015. Opportunities have been created to participate, perform and develop skills in the arts; A platform for extraordinary talent and Seminars and Film Screenings will provide discussion and debate.

Our grateful thanks go to our funders, the Arts Council of Wales and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and also to all those organisations and venues who have shown both financial and in kind support for this initiative. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for a Mental Health Arts Festival in Wales and we are delighted to bring you this first taste of what we hope will just be the start of many Festivals to come.
To download a pdf version of the programme click here.
To visit the new website for the Events go to

MaDCaff Funding Success – Launch Night…

Miranda playing at Schizophrenic The MaDCaff  Project, led by Miranda Betts, with support from Disability Arts Cymru has secured funding from Time to Change Wales to put on MaDCaff, stigma-busting open cafe events in Ceredigion.

Miranda Betts from New Quay has secured funding from Time to Change Wales to put on MaDCaff, a much-needed new music and dance project across Ceredigion. These open cafe events will showcase the talents of local musicians and dancers who are, or have been affected by mental illness. The MaDCaff Launch Event will take place at 4.30-7pm on Friday March 21st, in Aberystwyth University Students’ Union bar. Tickets are free from Eventbrite and you can buy a £3 refreshment voucher on the door.

There will be a ‘swap-shop’ at each cafe event, where people can bring and swap CDs, books, clothes etc, as well as time to talk and meet new people, and of course, tea and cake! The swap theme at the first event is CDs.

Miranda is hoping to attract people both with and without experience of mental health conditions to come along and enjoy the music and dance performances. “The main aim behind the project is to give musicians and dancers with mental health problems a safe space to share their stories, skills and talents, and to get people together, talking about mental health”, says Miranda. People with either personal or professional experience of Mental Health conditions are equally welcome.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people in any year; it could be you, someone in your family, a friend or colleague. Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in Wales. For further information contact Miranda on Or look us on Facebook or at our Blog,

The MaDCaff Project is funded by Time to Change Wales and supported by Disability Arts Cymru.