Photo: Circus Suburbia’s Katie Hardwick amazes audiences in the Rose Theatre Culture Café, following the Raise the Roof! opening night concert in the Main House.
IYAF has well and truly landed in Kingston this weekend, with dozens of shows and many more musical acts playing in the town’s theatres, parks, cafes and outdoor venues.
In the Rose Theatre Main House on Friday night, Raise the Roof! surpassed all expectations, as acts such as The Celtic Colleens, the Day Waterman College, the National Youth Music Theatre and Jaz Delorean showcased some of the outstanding and incredibly varied art that they will be bringing to the festival over the coming fortnight. Neon shoes dancing in the darkness from the Celtic Colleens, a dwarfless performance of Snow White from Filskit Theatre, powerful African musical theatre all the way from Nigeria by the Day Waterman College, and dancers from StemKU rendezvousing with small puppets from Smoking Apples were just some of the highlights which helped to define an extraordinary evening.
Meanwhile, the Culture Café – home to live music each and every day of the festival – once again proved to be a big hit, entertaining the Rose audience long after the main show had finished. The Reptiles and The Brass Kats kept everyone dancing, while the stunning new addition of our very own aerial rig enabled Circus Suburbia’s Katie Hardwick to wow the crowd with her silky skills - as seen in the above photo.
Photos of the entire evening can be seen on Facebook here.
Elsewhere, Kingston’s market place became home to Our Friends Records’ K-Town live weekend, as Saturday and Sunday saw musical acts such as Tankus the Henge, Felix Hagan and the Family and The Endurance Steel Orchestra entertain the crowds. In fact, OFR did such a good job of programming the market stage that the weather decided to show its approval by holding off the rain and providing us with some sunshine – well done boys!
And so the sun beat down upon the puppets, drummers, washboard players and other assorted colourful characters as the annual IYAF Carnival procession left the market place on Sunday afternoon. Undoubtedly more entertaining than the tennis, the procession proved a great hit with shoppers and passers by who stopped to snap pictures of Smoking Apples’ giant puppet, Xalia, among the other attractions.
Unfortunately the rain did eventually find its way to Kingston on Sunday in time to disrupt Redefining Space, an ambitious experimental outdoor project, programmed by Circus Suburbia’s youth circus, sound designer Tim Hart, Me & You Studio and Creative Youth, which combines, projection, circus, interactive sound sensors and music to a previously underused location outside Bishop’s Palace House. Those who turned up on Saturday however were fortunate enough to catch the performance, which wowed the gathered crowds by transforming a dingy delivery area behind a car park into an awe-inspiring party. The youth circus, who every year impress more and more with their solo and synchronised silks, hoops and trapeze acts, bought the space to life on our giant circus rig, and the unique soundtrack and interactive sound sensors allowed the audience to begin to really engage with the space. The experiments in this space were not for a one off event… keep your eyes and ears to the ground for a potentially very exciting new performance space in Kingston in the future!
Elsewhere, some of our fantastic theatre shows made their IYAF debuts this weekend. Creative Talent company byMoonlight Theatre left the audience smiling as they got off to a fantastic start with the first showing of their modern adaptation of Taming of the Shrew in the Rose Main House on Sunday night, while The Shoestring Players, all the way from the University of South Carolina, delighted audiences in the Arthur Cotterl Theatre. Elsewhere Smoking Apples’ mystical and beautiful tale, The Wordcatcher, is proving a big success as Saturday and Sunday saw the performers – and a puppet friend – provoke the thoughts of the Rose Studio audience.
And this merely scratches the surface! With other acts in the Arthur Cotterel Theatre at Kingston College, the River Festival at Eagle Brewery Wharf, the Unity Festival in Fairfield Park and many other performances across the town, IYAF is well and truly under way. If you’ve missed out, be sure to check out the programme and find something over the next two weeks to enjoy.