Venues South West Meet Up

In Coopers Loft, free and unticketed – just turn up!

Artists! Come and get acquainted with venues and organisations in the Venues South West network. 

We'll organise the evening a little bit like a speed date with an opportunity to say hello and get introduced to everyone that's in the room. You can start to navigate your way around what is out there in the region, the work that they do, how you might get involved and introduce yourself and your work too. We'll also chat a little bit about what the Venues South West network is, and the intentions for how it works.

Venues South West is a network of venues and organisations in the South West who support artists, working together to enable quality work, better communication and touring in the region to develop the South West theatre sector.

  • 6:00pm
    Free, unticketed

Ferment: What's New?

In Coopers Loft, free and unticketed – just turn up!

There are some exciting changes afoot in how Ferment works, and we'd like to share them with you.

Following on from an event in this January's fortnight, come join Ferment Producer Ben Atterbury as he explains what the changes are, how they are going to work, and how you can get involved with what we do. For those who are brand new to Ferment, and those who know us well; we'd love to tell you what's happening next.

  • 6:00pm
    Free, unticketed

Icarus D'Icarus

By Kid Carpet

Icarus D'Icarus is a show about being a dick and revelling in being a bit s**t at stuff. Kid Carpet is attempting to make a show about transcending failure, finding confidence and learning to fly – a personal journey which asks what's the point of it all? How can we become more courageous and should we pursue our dreams even if they’re really absolute nightmares?

Kid Carpet travels to ancient Crete to bring Icarus back to the future, the dole office and Rajanis Superstore. Presented with video projection, talking dolls, plastic birds, UFOs, flashing lights, plenty of songs, copious amounts of swearing and a punk rock DIY attitude, Icarus D'Icarus is completely honest and true bulls**t.

Kid Carpet makes punk theatre and music shows for families and childish adults. His Noisy Animals shows have toured consistently since 2012 incorporating a wonky blend of music, puppetry and video projection. Kid Carpet is developing Icarus D’Icarus for grown up audiences. 

  • 8:00pm

Mid Life

By Diverse City

Mid Life pauses three fierce women at a moment in time - the menopause. Their bodies are changing and they have something to say.

They have to decide, at the midpoint, how to think and feel about what came before, what to take forward and what to leave behind. They voice their fears and try to accommodate their losses. They get down into the muck and talk sex, desire, rage, and flooding.

This work-in-progress unpacks real-life stories of loss, joy and transformation. Hold tight, there’s a change coming.

This performance will be BSL interpreted and Audio Described.

Diverse City are an award-winning engine of artistic & social change. They dream of a world where all identities are respected and valued. They make shows that imagine what equality looks like on stage, off stage and in the audience. Their work changes the lives of performers and communities.

  • 8:00pm
  • 8:00pm

Extraordinary Wall o̶f̶ ̶S̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶e̶

By Ad Infinitum

Helen, Alan, and Graham are told they are impaired and need fixing. As they begin to question the world around them, three powerful coming-of-age stories unfold, uniting in a struggle against violence, ignorance and oppression.

Connected through a shared past, they are transported to one pivotal moment in 1880 when a dangerous ideology was born: one that would impair the way the world views D/deaf people for over a century.

This work-in-progress performance of Extraordinary Wall o̶f̶ ̶S̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶e̶  is a bilingual performance in English and BSL with integrated captioning.

Ad Infinitum are an international ensemble based in Bristol, developing new and original theatre. Founded in 2007, Ad Infinitum is led by Co-Artistic Directors, Nir Paldi and George Mann. We create shape-shifting socio-political theatre to provoke, move and inspire. Through innovative storytelling and bold experimental styles, we make something completely different with each new production. Our theatre draws upon the power of the body, engages audiences with urgent issues, and ignites passionate debate.

Supported by Arts Council England

  • 8:00pm
  • 6:00pm


By Dionne Draper

"Look at Sarah's hair, it doesn't get wet!"
"Oh yeah" I say with surprise.
Separated from her Jamaican mother at 5 days old, Sarah is adopted and raised by a white family in rural Devon. Black in a white world, DAWTA is a one woman semi-autobiographical musical exploring identity, race, God and Sarah’s number one question; ‘who am I?’
Written and performed by South West actor and singer Dionne Draper and directed by Hanna Lune, DAWTA (Jamaican patwa for daughter) features 7 characters, 10 songs and 1 woman in a compelling and powerful story of a transracial adoptee’s quest to find her way home.

The show is Dionne’s debut musical and Sing With Soul’s first theatre production. Recent work includes Avona’s song ‘Beyond The Tide’ and feminist anthem, ‘We Rise’. Sing With Soul is a music production company with the mission to empower female voices through music, song and spoken word.

Supported by BOV Writers Department.

  • 8:00pm

Anansi and The Grand Prize (Ferment)

By Ruth Ramsay & Edson Burton

Presented as a series of vignettes, this work-in-progress sharing of Anansi and The Grand Prize is being put together to illustrate the story of a bigger show in the works. These vignettes will imagine the places, movement and music of the African and Caribbean world in which the story takes place, who Anansi is, where they're going and how they'll transform. 

Anansi is being produced a collaboration largely of Bristol-based artists of African diasporic descent, and this performance will mix together all the essential ingredients: audience participation, costume and song.

Ruth Ramsay is a visual artist with 20 years’ experience of coordinating and delivering arts events and workshops which engage with, and brings communities together allowing them to share their creations at public events and spaces.  She has a passion for positively sharing African Caribbean heritage and all things Carnival.   

  • 8:00pm


By Empty Deck

What if it was all over?
If time had run out?
If everything before was gone?

This solo show is newly-devised in response to the global climate emergency and is asking for an end to life as we know it. What might come next?

Part performance, part event, Kay Michael of Empty Deck brings you Sequel, made with her old friend and trusted collaborator Bertrand Lesca of award-winning duo Bert&Nasi and with sounds by avant-synth-future-techno producer Janine A’Bear.

This is a work in progress and there might be blood. But on the other side: transformation. Plates and cutlery provided.

Empty Deck is a Peter Brook Award nominated arts company, led by Kay Michael, that makes interdisciplinary work from theatre productions to sound installations. Sequel has been developed thanks to Theatre Royal Plymouth, the TippingPoint & House seed commission Doing Nothing Is Not An Option and the MGCfutures Bursary. Kay is also a co-founder of Culture Declares Emergency.

  • 8:00pm

World of Mega Questions

By Wilf Merttens & Sam Halmarack

What would a world be like made out of your favourite food? What would it be like to fly through that world shooting lasers from your eyes?

The World of Mega Questions imagines a digital universe where the answers to these questions come to life in a fantasy world. It’s the Never Ending Story crossed with Facebook. A storytelling show about statistics, with unicorns and people who get their head chopped off.

Wilf Merttens is an award-winning show off. He is a published poet, printed journalist and professional storyteller.  He does great shows and runs inspiring workshops that help people of all ages and abilities learn what magnificent performers they all are.

As sound designer and musician, Sam Halmarack has worked with Still House, One Step At a Time Like This (AUS), JOF (AUS),  Bryony Kimmings, Emma Williams,  She Goat, Action Hero, Tom Marshman, Sylvia Rimat, Liz Clarke, and Jennifer Bell Company amongst many others. He is a sound design mentor and consultant with community outreach schemes across the country. His show WE ARE LIGHTNING! was nominated for the Melbourne Green Room awards in the category of Community Collaboration. Sam Halmarack and The Miserablites was nominated for the Arches Brick Award and the John Chattaway award for innovation.

  • 5:00pm


By Tom Bailey / Mechanimal

Bali Tiger. 
Dusky Seaside Sparrow. 
Problematic Flasher. 
Fire Millipede From Hell. 

One human. 26,000 animals. Vigil is an intimate, interspecies meditation on mass animal disappearance; a physical, tragicomic poem about a changing planet Earth. 

This is a new solo show in development by Tom Bailey, following Mechanimal’s 2018 award-winning Zugunruhe. Created with Guy Jones (Orange Tree/RSC), Pip Hambly (1927’s Golem) and composer Andrew Cooke (Saltings/Noizubito).

Mechanimal is an award-winning Bristol-based company, led by Tom Bailey.  Current projects include: Zugunruhe (UK/ Europe tour); Ghost Sonata (Samovar Teateret, Norway); Possession (D-CAF Festival, Egypt). Resident at the Pervasive Media Studio, the company is currently artist in residence at Earth Sciences, Bristol University.

Supported by UCL Performance Lab, Pound Arts and Arts Council England

  • 8:00pm


A novel distortion by Massive Owl

Yellow smoke lifts on a trash-drenched bay. A traveller discovers paradise closed down, guarded by a shark.

Eden is a retelling of Alex Garland’s novel, The Beach. It might also be a retelling of its film adaptation of the same name. Massive Owl want to expose the fiction and truth in Garland’s popular story.

This is the second in Massive Owl's series of experimental adaptations: TheDistortion Trilogy – a work about adaptation, Generation X and a ruined nirvana.

This is Eden.

Massive Owl are a Bristol based collaborative theatre company who make cinematic performance. They are currently making work about the relationship between film and theatre, popular culture and the process of adaptation. They have made and toured work nationally and internationally, most notably at the Barbican Centre (London), HOME (Manchester), Project Arts Centre (Dublin), OUTNOW Festival (Germany), The Lowry (Salford),  Mayfest (Bristol) and ACT Festival (Spain). They are associate members of artist-led collective, Interval.

  • 8:00pm

My Great Giraffe

By Brook Tate

My Great Giraffe grew from a very short poem Brook wrote for his nieces last year:

‘I’m brave.’ said the girl as she folded her scarf. 
‘I hope that you stay that way.’ said the giraffe.’

Since writing that poem, the voice of children, especially girls, has had an unprecedented impact on our future and that of our planet. Brook's last project Mr Maglump focused on themes he felt were important in the world his nieces are growing up in, and he hopes My Great Giraffe helps them find the strength, and importance, of their own voices.

Brook Tate is a Bristol based painter who has discovered a universe of words, music and stories all thanks to a wonderfully receptive and non-judgemental audience – his two nieces. He has been writing them stories and silly poems for the past five years and very much plans to continue doing so.

  • 5:00pm

Thank You

Ferment is supported by grants from trusts and foundations who have invested directly in artists and the development of their work, through bespoke programmes of research and development, mentoring, dramaturgical support and a variety of public-facing performances, including work-in-progress scratch events, such as Ferment Fortnight.

The Garrick Charitable Trust
The Fidelio Charitable Trust
Unity Theatre Trust