Last weekend was the final Avanti XL. It has been an interesting if exhausting thing to try, seven different performances over two days. It turned out that performing the shows was not the most challenging part, once in the right trousers the details of the show were in muscle memory. It was everything else, the logistics and transport, schedules and plant hire, delivery times and pick up and finally loading both vans in the right order so it would all fit in. I had amazing support from the team without whom it would have been a nonstarter. Thanks also to the Out There tech team who took it all in their stride. Out There is run by Sea change arts and is one of the best outdoor arts festivals in the UK no, in Europe, aptly described by Maggie Clarke as ‘convivial’. Long may it continue.
Over the weekend of the 6/7 August we played the Avanti XL at Stockton International Riverside Festival. This festival, one of the longest running outdoor arts festivals in the UK, has always been part of Avanti’s season. Over the years all of our shows have played there A feature of the festival this year, and this is not unconnected with the fact we were presenting a retrospective of our work, was the number of young people we talked to, for whom the event has been part of their whole life. A young woman and her mum stopped by our backstage area to say she first saw The Spurting Man when she was four, twenty years ago! Whilst this can make one reflective on ones own story it also points out that she had probably seen most of the main Euopean outdoor performances of the last twenty years and could rightly be described as an expert. Where else in the UK is the audience so well informed? Make no mistake Stockton is not without its problems and the festival is only one weekend, but look at the new magnificent sculpture The Stockton Flyer and the beautiful public fountain we were lucky enough to perform in this year. They both create focus and interest all year. Well done Stockton long may you continue.
We just got back from a five-day trip to the Olala festival in Lienz Austria. This very particular event, legendary for its wild, final night parties was celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. This is the third or perhaps fourth time we have played there but the scenery still takes your breath away. Nestled in a valley between high Dolomitic peaks the first night features a bus ride to dinner on top of a mountain! After twenty one years of playing the Spurting Man I thought that everything that could happen probably had happened but in a new twist when we picked up our schedule its says.
This looks normal until you find out Innichen is in Italy!
Well we did it! Six shows making eleven performances over two days. Only made possible by outstanding help and support from Jon, Helen, Trevor, Adam and Robyn plus of course the team at the festival. The weekend included a guest appearance by the festival director himself joining in with the crowd scattering ending of our mini finale, thanks Frank. Thanks also to Cloud Nine theatre company for playing in Leak and for joining in with the finale. We are now preparing to do it all again in Stockton. (Last time the fountain machine was in Stockton High Street we crashed into a bus!)