Arts & Entertainment Urban Echo News 

Colourful street theatre line-up headed for Bradford Festival

Bradford City Park is set to burst into life in summer with a quirky programme of colourful and entertaining street theatre suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds.

 Innovative British arts company, Bootworks Theatre will re-create classic pop music videos in a hilarious lip-syncing musical medley in The JukeBoxes. Using props, masks, puppets and a terrible selection of wigs, the kitsch duo animate celebrity pop-stars from past and present. The Beatles, Sinead O’Connor, Miley Cyrus, Stevie Wonder and Adele all make cameos, and people will be encouraged to sing or dance along with the show.

Two players enter the labyrinth of a virtual world and compete for the ultimate prize in First Person by Zest Theatre, an award winning company based in Lincoln. Made especially for public spaces and influenced by video games, First Person is a quirky fusion of fast-paced story, physical theatre and silent disco technology. Festival goers are encouraged to grab some headphones, predict their winner and cheer them on to the finish line.

People can join talkative Prince Amir, one of the three wise meerkat kings, following a star atop his grumpy camel, Nazreddin in Prince Amir and Nazreddin by UK puppet masters, Creature Encounter.  People are invited to witness the miniscule majesty of Amir and the cranky old camel who laughs at anything, especially himself. Though reluctant to admit it, they are lost, and in need of directions to the nearest stable. The colourful animatronic characters will be available for photos so people can take home a memory of the Middle Eastern magic on show.

Festivalgoers can follow a swarm of super friendly bees as they search for a new home in Waggle Dance by UK street theatre troupe, Egg People. Queen Beeatrix, The Beezey Rider, BayBee, Granny Bee, Scout Bee and Lord Bumbleton The Third will meet audiences as they try to adapt to life outside the hive in a high impact, interactive, playful show. 

Festival favourites, Pif-Paf returns with another bee-themed show which is bound to get audiences buzzing. Bombus and Borage have left the hive with their surreal and all too real Bee Cart loaded with inventions and super-sized wonders from the natural world. People will marvel at the energy needed to take off with their Flapper-winger-tronerators. The piece will also show everyone what they can do to conserve bee populations. 

One Man and His Dog meets roller disco in One Kid and Their Dog by Mufti Games, a UK company specialising in creating playful and memorable experiences for all ages. A local shepherd and sheepdog, Shep, find themselves lost in Bradford City Park. They have one reliable sheep but struggle to find any others, so resort to herding people instead. As the farming team’s confidence grows, they will recruit a child shepherd to help run the show.

Hilarious interactive comic duo, Beautiful Mess, bring The Lost Grannies who will pootle through City Park interrupting people as they find their way and reminisce on good times gone by. Disorientated and in need of gentle assistance, the inquisitive grannies accost unsuspecting passers-by and burst into nostalgic pavement-dancing and domestic routines.

Stunning stilt walkers, Gorgeous Girls by UK street theatre duo, Upper Level, will tour City Park giving people the chance to snap the perfect selfie. With amazing mirrored outfits and fabulous high-heeled boots YOLO (You Only Live Once) and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) attract attention wherever they go.

Celebrated Bristol-based street theatre company, Frenetic Engineering, bring Talent Show an interactive piece where anything goes. There will be no nasty judges here and the audience claps to activate the clap-o-meter to decide the winner. Each performance ends with an amazing, no expense-spared awards ceremony to We Are The Champions complete with a party popper pyro finale.

Award-winning local interactive performance company, Same Difference will bring their new street theatre piece, Memory Collectors where two sisters explore the sense of smell, hoping to remember lost memories. People are encouraged to find the smell machine on the rickshaw riding around City Park’s Mirror Pool and watch the story unfold.

Highly creative and collaborative Bradford-based arts company, 154 Collective, returns with a new interactive work where participants create music by touching plants. From the singing shrubbery, to the tuneful tulips, to the harmonious herbs, each plant in The Musical Botanist plays a different sound. Local musician, Nick Lewis, will periodically appear as the ‘Musical Botanist’ to collaborate with the audience and play the musical garden.

Festival favourites, Cecil Green Arts, returns with Florence, Nelly and Bertha, three larger than life puppets re-enacting the dramatic history and struggles within the Bradford suffrage movement. The colourful characters will celebrate the stories and actions of the brave and daring local women and will surprise people by showing the lengths the suffragettes went to to gain the right to vote.

Bradford arts organisation, The Brick Box will perform The Little Bubble Up, a specially commissioned interactive artwork which celebrates Bradford’s deep connection to water. People can expect colourful costumes, playful water-based activities for families, magical cleansing rituals, watery cocktails and the chance to learn and perform a special watery dance.

A rare pair of exotic birds will escape captivity and take a liking to the local habitat in The Birds by Frolicked, a theatre company specialising in puppet experiences for unusual locations. The Rubious Harmonious has unmistakable plumage, a surprisingly trusting disposition and a repertoire of bird song that’s not to be missed.

Audiences will be surprised and delighted by the mischievous garden fairies that live within Topiary Bushes by Bread and Butter Theatre. This is horticulture on a grand scale. Festivalgoers are warned but beware, they can be over-zealous with their watering cans!

Hilarious Welsh company, Kitsch & Sync, return to the festival with Babs and Stella’s Intergalactic Spectacular. Conjoined cosmic space cadets from ‘Planet Kitsch’ have crash landed in Bradford. The twins go on a mission to find the evil Dr D. Dreadful and take revenge.

In 2017, the festival attracted over 150,000 people into Bradford city.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Environment, Sport and Culture Portfolio Holder, said: “This year’s street theatre programme looks really exciting and we are thrilled to bring such an excellent range of high quality entertainment to Bradford.

 “The Bradford Festival is part of a programme of events and activities designed to bring people together and support economic growth in the city centre.”

 The Bradford Festival will be staged in the award-winning public space, City Park, from 13-15 July and entry is free.

 For further information and updates, visit www.bradfordfestival.org.uk or follow Bradford Festival on Twitter and Facebook.

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