Outlier rehearsals begin24 May 2021
Malaika Kegode and Jakabol begin rehearsals at Bristol Old Vic for major new production about friendship, love and loss in a small town.
Wednesday 16 June, 7.30pm PRESS NIGHT at Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Rehearsals begin today for OUTLIER, the first brand-new production of the year to develop from Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment programme. Co-produced with Bristol poet Malaika Kegode, Bristol band Jakabol and an accompanying team of incredible independent artists, OUTLIER will take place in the Theatre at Bristol Old Vic (12-26 Jun) as the auditorium is transformed into a house party, bringing the audience into the heart of the action.
The powerful poetics of Malaika Kegode and soaring music of Bristol band Jakabol combine in this autobiographical gig-theatre show. Genre-defying and emotional, OUTLIER explores the impact of isolation, addiction and friendship on young people in the often forgotten places. Through their collaboration, Malaika and Jakabol fuse words and music to give a theatrical experience that finds the epic in the ordinary and magic in the everyday.
“The sky was painfully big, but our worlds were small, our lives little. So when we found each other in the muddle of it all, that feeling of belonging was addictive.”
Mal, Ama, Lewis and Oskar have grown up together; hedonistically charging through life in rural Devon. Living from party to party, they're railing against the stories that have been written for them as they stand at the precipice of adulthood. But all the space can be suffocating, and it’s tough sometimes – feeling so low in a place so beautiful.
OUTLIER’s journey to the stage began as part of Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment Fortnight in February 2020. It was commissioned and further developed throughout lockdown by the creative team with the support of Ferment and will finally have its premiere on the main stage this June, as both an in-theatre and live-braodcast event.
Malaika Kegode is a poet and performer based in Bristol, who has worked with organisations including Roundhouse, Historic England, and the BBC. As the founder of spoken word night Milk Poetry, Malaika Kegode has had a significant impact on Bristol’s literature scene. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize. She was also included in the 2019 BME Power List, celebrating Bristol’s 100 most influential Black and Minority Ethnic people. Malaika’s work tells of how we can find beauty and hope through the darkness. Her overall themes of family, mental health, addiction and love always have an undercurrent of optimism and strength. She has written two poetry collections Requite (2017) and Thalassic (2020), published by Burning Eye Books.
Inspired by the energy of bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Jakabol are an experimental band from Bristol with prog leanings and unorthodox instrumentation. Fusing world folk influences with progressive textures and explosive riffs - the term eclectic just doesn’t cut it. They play frequently at gigs and festivals in the city and released their self-titled, debut EP in 2019.
The show is directed by Jenny Davies and designed by Rebecca Wood, who were both recipients of a Leverhulme Scholarship from Bristol Old Vic Ferment in 2019/20 to develop and grow their practice. They are joined by Joe Price as Lighting Designer and Christopher Harrisson as Animation and Projection Designer.
Talent Development Producer Ben Atterbury said: “This show is an amazing example of what can happen when incredible artists coalesce around brilliant ideas; what began with Malaika Kegode’s beautiful and personal poetry meeting the loud and energetic riffs of Bristol band Jakabol a number of years ago has grown into Outlier, an epic and tender gig theatre production in the Theatre at Bristol Old Vic. Malaika’s powerful story of hope, connection and friendship feels more timely than ever in the changed world we are emerging into. Through Bristol Old Vic Ferment, we’re pleased to co-producing projects like this in direct collaboration with the creative workforce; carving the space for ideas and artists to lead the way and to share their incredible talent on our largest stages across the country. Outlier is the essence of what Ferment is for and we can’t wait to share their work with you.”
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Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.
They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.
On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.