Watch Out Festival to provide day of varied theatrical events at the Cambridge Junction
Referred to as “the edgiest contemporary theatre around” by The Stage newspaper, the Watch Out festival is a showcase of fresh experimental work, showcasing contemporary performance from local, regional and national artists
Hosted by bearded drag lady Timberlina, this year’s festival will be packed with world premieres, previews and new work from performing artists based in Cambridge, the UK and abroad.
Highlights include the Edinburgh Fringe smash hit Mouthpiece, Nightclubbing, an explosive new performance embracing Afrofuturism and the cult of Grace Jones, and Figs in Wigs performing a live art adaptation of Little Women [Little Wimmin] supported by The Stobbs New Ideas Fund.
There will also be Essex-based artist Roxanne Carney talking frankly about what it is like to be a young millennial in modern Britain in I’m The Hero of The Story, and Black Holes, a new piece co-commissioned by Cambridge Junction.
The Place and Chisenhale Dance Space by Seke Chimutengwende and Alexandrina Hemsley will combine spoken word and movement to retell the history of the universe.
Throughout the day, the Cambridge Junction foyer will be taken over by Cruising For Art, a performance installation created by Brian Lobel featuring the work of local artists, each presenting a short one-on-one performance.
There will also be music all day from Cambridge female DJ collective You Know It Makes Sense.
This year’s event will be the first current Cambridge Junction arts producer Daniel Kok has overseen, though he is quick to point out that it is a team effort.
He told the Cambridge Independent: “We very much wanted to keep it similar to previous festivals, so we haven’t been too drastic in terms of changing it. We still want it to be really innovative, experimental, contemporary performance – and also present work that we’ve supported in some way.”
Daniel continued: “How it might be different is that we’re working with different artists and inevitably that’s going to create different shows, but this year we’ve also put a lot more stuff in between the shows as well.
“We’re going to have one-on-one performances in the foyer, we’re going to have DJs to make a very lively atmosphere...
“We have a host, a drag performer, who is going to be the compere for the day to lead the audiences through all the activities, and we have a piece called Mouthpiece, which is from a Canadian theatre company.
“We’re really proud to be presenting them because they’re currently on their international tour, so we’re very lucky they’ve managed to make a stopover in Cambridge. This was a massive hit in Edinburgh last year.
“Then we’ve also got Roxanne Carney, who is from Essex, who has been supported by our Troop artist development scheme.”
On how the list of performers gets drawn up, Daniel said: “The way that we go around doing it is probably not as immediate as just thinking of artists straight away that we might want to work with.
“One of the things that we’re really proud of is the amount of artist support that we give, whether it’s directly via us or through one of the many schemes that we’re associated with.
“For example, two of the artists who are performing have been supported by Diverse Actions, a live art UK initiative which champions culturally diverse ambition, excellence and talent.
“We’re really proud of that and we want to showcase it in the festival.”
Taking place across all three Junction venues, the event starts at 12pm. Said Daniel: “We’ve scheduled it throughout the day so that you can see everything if you want to, but you obviously don’t have to if you don’t want to – and it happens in J1, J2 and J3.
Daniel says the day is aimed more at young adults upwards, as some of the shows have an age restriction – “and also it’s quite a long day so we wouldn’t want to drag young children along to it.”
There will also be food and drink provided. “It’s just going to be a really fun atmosphere,” enthused Daniel, who goes on to compare Watch Out to one of Britain’s best loved festivals.
“If you go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you see loads of really exciting shows, and you’re having a drink and you’re chatting to your friends about what you’ve seen... it’s basically that but just in one place in Cambridge.”
Daniel concluded: “I’m really excited and I’m really excited to see what people think. I will be there and I’m very open to meeting new people from the area.
“If people want to have a chat with me and tell me what they think, then I will be there all day.”
The Watch Out Festival takes place on Saturday, May 26 at The Junction all day from 12pm. Festival pass £20 (£15 conc).
Box office: 01223 511 511 or junction.co.uk.