Mayfest Moments

8 May 2024
Matthew Austin and Kate Yedigaroff, MAYK co-Directors. Photo by Paul Blakemore

Mayfest is back for 2024 with a another programme of exceptional contemporary theatre taking place across Bristol, curated by MAYK

We have some vivid memories of knock-out productions over the last 10+ years. But what do the Mayfest team remember? We asked Mayfest producers Kate and Matthew for their highlights to get us in the mood for this year's wild ride...

Here’s a little look back on some of our stand out Mayfest moments from festivals gone by. It feels important to do this; to take a moment to reflect and to keep remembering all of the wonderful things that have happened over the years as we stand on the cusp of another one. These extraordinary artists and the impact they’ve had on audiences here in Bristol is what drives us. Today we’re thinking about…

Trilogy (2010)

Nic Green’s incredible celebratory intervention into the complexities of modern-day feminism. Heart-swelling, important stuff. Recalling the beautiful and triumphant sight of 100 naked women on Bristol Old Vic’s main stage. Start your own revolution. Oh, and we heard two people got married after meeting on this project here in Bristol.

The Strange Undoing of Prudentia Hart (2012) by National Theatre of Scotland.

Taking over Trinity Arts Centre’s infamous gig venue, this was an unforgettable story-telling experience. Rabble-rousing, skilled and playful. We all fell in love.

Selina Thompson’s Salt (2016).

Described by Selina as a journey to the bottom of the sea, Salt is a breathtaking one woman performance about grief, ancestry and colonialism. We were held in the palm of her hand. The silence at the end of the show was palpable. An absolutely stunning piece and we feel very proud of being part of bringing it into the world where it continues to live. 

Verity Standen’s Undersong (2018).

Nestled in the heart of Barton Hill in the Wellspring settlement – a chorus of song envelops the room and takes everyone with it -  up close with the sounds, the breaths, the feelings of the sound. Unforgettable. And this year you can experience her unique vocal compositions as part of Arch…

Exposure by The Vacuum Cleaner at Arnolfini (2022).

Art has the power to hold a certain kind of space for conversations. To process experiences that are difficult and painful. When it’s done with care and beauty - where there’s a collective want to listen and to heal - something precious happens. This piece did that. Created through interviews with Newham’s health workers in the wake of the first wave of Covid-19 Pandemic. Exposure was a grief laced evening of film, storytelling and music held with hope. 

Of Riders and Running Horses (2015) by Still House and produced by MAYK, on top of the NCP carpark on Queen Charlotte Street.

Music swells, and the seagulls call out. A dance is happening. A ritual for joy. And there’s this moment where a dancer raises her arms to the sky, and the rain comes and it feels like something very special is happening. 

Mayfest 2024 takes place in venues across Bristol from May 17-26. 

MAYK were recently announced as an Associate Company of Bristol Old Vic - read more here.