The recreation of this charming story will be told on North Devon’s iconic Tarka Trail in a promenade performance by theatre company Burn the Curtain, who first toured with Beaford as part of its ‘Breathing Space’ development programme for SW theatre in Autumn 2011.
Commissioned by Beaford with support from Arts Council England, Devon County Council, and Exeter City Council this charismatic show sold out almost every performance of its Exeter run. Travelling together on bicycles, actors and audience members experience the colourful and misguided escapades of Don Quixote – self-styled Knight of La Mancha. This exciting piece of interactive family theatre involves actors riding custom-designed bikes, and you can decorate yours too in the workshop before the event. North Devon dates are in August and word is spreading fast – some performances are already sold out.
On a slightly different note, a slightly rusty old bicycle (amplified and well-tuned!) is made to sounds like a whole Caribbean steel band in a spectacular musical cabaret for all ages from Varieté Velociped. ‘The Butterfly Effect’ is a music and comedy performance that finds unexpected music in everyday objects. Loosely themed around the unpredictable consequences of a distant butterfly’s flapping, the show is loaded with fun and extravagant musicality.
Family Theatre is once again to be found in several different locations and several different styles this season, kicking off with the return of Shanty Theatre and their version of the nautical classic ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Expect storms, holy hermits, silly sailors, seaside stories and live music in the coastal village of Lee.
Chulmleigh and Beaford’s new community partners in Dolton will be playing host to Kilter Theatre and ‘The Last Post’. Commissioned by Beaford, ‘The Last Post’ holds on to a fragment of a world now passing into history. As the art of letter-writing fades and rural Post Offices disappear, Kilter Theatre will launch a fleet of specially-crafted postboxes into Chulmleigh and Dolton. In the weeks leading up to the show, these postboxes will find their way in to the very centre of village life encouraging people to write and post a special letter of their own. On the day of the performance, hear of an unexpected world through letters from across the globe – and have your letter passed on to become a part of the future performances.
Another north Devon favourite is back from France with a new show this season. Compagnie Animotion specialises in fun theatre for everyone with an innovative mix of mime, movement and sign language. Hard of hearing or not, young or old, ‘Portmanteau’ is a non-verbal show suitable for anyone aged 5+ which celebrates classic cinematic traditions and mixes original film with the unique experience of live theatre. Once again, Beaford and its community partners have something special planned for the Halloween season. Inspired by Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’, Jammy Voo present the story of four women who lived through the Bird Apocalypse and survived. The Jammies pull the audience into their ever-so-slightly mad world of comedy horror with a mix of dark clowning, enthralling puppetry and an original live music score by Greg Hall (Minima).
And talking of Minima, one of the big hits of the autumn 2011 season is back with a new show. This year, Minima plays along with what Wikipedia calls “one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era” – ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari’. Minima was established in 2006 as a band specifically designed to compose and perform live accompaniment soundtracks to silent film. Using electric guitar, bass, cello and drums the band performs totally live with no pre-recorded music. Minima has performed at venues, spaces and festivals including: The Barbican, Tate Britain, Edinburgh Fringe, Arnolfini, Latitude, and many more.
‘Frankland and Sons’ – made at Beaford and Battersea Arts Centre – returns to North Devon this Autumn after its three-week London run earlier this year with a show created by three generations of the same family. Created and performed by Tom and his dad, ‘Frankland and Sons’ maps a true story of fathers and sons on to the events of the 20th century. Both playful and moving, it’s a heart-warming tale of love won, love lost, and wholly inappropriate girlfriends.
There’s even more live music on offer this season. Following Spring’s three sell-out gigs by Moscow Drug Club, Beaford is offering two live bands in several different venues in October and November.
The Roving Crows formed in early 2009 and their inexhaustible energy gives them stand alone status in the up-surging live music scene; boasting fiery fiddle playing, trumpet, guitar, drums, bass and vocals. Described as completely unique and uncontainable, they offer an original Celtic vibe, also drawing influences from genres including jazz, ska, folk, kleizmer and blues.
Medicine Creek are a foot stomping old time string band from Bristol. The band specialises in rootsy bluegrass and alt-country, reinventing dark tales of murder and mayhem from frontier times with gospel-flavoured harmonies and violin abuse. Band members are Nuala Honan, Aaron Catlow and Dorian Sutton, Aaron and Dorian are also members of Sheelanagig who toured with Beaford in 2010 and 2009 and pleased the crowds every time.
Beaford’s Autumn comedy offering comes from one of the UK’s most dynamic and best-known exponents of stand-up poetry. A regular on BBC Radio 6 Music, and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Saturday Live’ and ‘Loose Ends’, Murray Lachlan Young is known best for his satirical commentaries on the bizarreness of contemporary life ( and for occasional attacks of unaccompanied erotic folk song). In a brand new show, Murray will delve deep into the psyche of Christmas – exposing the light and dark of our traditional festivities. Join in with the winter festivities and watch Murray perform his latest show ‘Christmas Comes but Once a Year – Thankfully’.
The season finale is set to be the coolest event of the year with Norwegian musician Terje Isungset’s ‘Ice Music’ in Appledore. Terje is a pioneer in the creation of instruments made out of ice. Taking his raw materials from frozen lakes and glaciers from the heart of Norway, he carefully carves this centuries-old ice into percussion and blown instruments that create beautiful, poetic sounds. Terje may come from a jazz background but this music transcends genre.
Terje first brought his ice instruments to the UK in 2010, with a sell-out Christmas/New Year weekend at Somerset House in London .He’s now coming back to the UK for four very special performances in rural locations, setting his extraordinary, natural music in its perfect context.