HighTide returns to Aldeburgh in Sussex for their 13th festival, running from 10 to 15 September 2019, with a world premiere and new work from homegrown talent. This programme, founder Steven Atkinson’s final Festival as Artistic Director, illustrates HighTide’s commitment to championing new writing as the space for political, contemporary and provocative work, created by new and diverse artists.
Supporting exciting theatremakers and providing them with the very best platform on which to be heard, HighTide is renowned for the discovery of new playwrights, including Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Vinay Patel. From HighTide’s home, East Anglian writer Kenny Emson’s Rust, about two people who never expected to fall in love again, is the centrepiece of the 2019 programme alongside the world premiere of LIT by Sophie Ellerby which follows Bex, a teenage girl looking for love in all the wrong places.
Running in conjunction with the theatre programme, leading artistic figures such as Andrew Davies, Kate Mosse, Catherine Johnson and Deborah Warner will discuss their crafts and the hilarious Simon Evans and the popular showman Joe Stilgoe will also be on hand. For the first time, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts will come to the Festival to record live performances of new HighTide radio plays by alumni Tallulah Brown and Vinay Patel for broadcast later this year.
Steven Atkinson, Artistic Director of HighTide, comments:
“HighTide Festival 2019 exemplifies what the Festival is internationally renowned for: premiering top quality new writing by talents such as Sophie Ellerby, Yolanda Mercy and Margaret Perry, while also working with household creative names such as BBC Radio 3 and the Bush Theatre. HighTide Festival is a unique melting pot of the brightest new talents and the greats of today’s creative industries, in the intimate and beautiful setting of coastal Aldeburgh.”
HighTide Festival Aldeburgh will see the world premiere of LIT by Sophie Ellerby (THREE) lead the theatre programme, ahead of its transfer to Nottingham Playhouse. Exploring turbulent teenage years, the spark of LIT came from Sophie’s experience of studying young women and mothers in the prison system; here she revives a proud British tradition that places complex working class people at the heart of the work. A co-production between HighTide and Nottingham Playhouse, LIT is directed by one of the leading innovators in British Theatre, Stef O’Driscoll (Artistic Director of nabokov).
Transferring from a season at the Edinburgh Fringe and Bush Theatre, Rust joins LIT as the headline productions for HighTide Festival Aldeburgh. Ultra-contemporary, sexy and funny, Rust is a love story about two people trying to escape the pressures of the modern world be pushing the boundaries of trust, love and lust to the limit.
Written by Kenny Emson (Plastic), directed by Eleanor Rhode (King John, RSC; Boudica, Shakespeare’s Globe) and starring Jon Foster (Dear Elizabeth, Gate Theatre) and Claire Lams (One Man, Two Guvnors, Broadway, West End and National Theatre), it explores the societal pressures that can sometimes trap us, preventing us from chancing something, or someone, new.
Collapsible (winner of a VAULT Festival 2019’s Origin Award for Outstanding New Work) is a funny, furious new monologue about holding on, by award-winning Irish writer Margaret Perry (Porcelain), directed by Thomas Martin (Ross and Rachel), and co-produced with Ellie Keel Productions. Following the life of a complex bisexual woman, it looks at connecting with others when you’re not connected to yourself. It features a stunning set piece for this character who quite literally doesn’t have her feet on the ground.
Pops from award-winning writer Charlotte Josephine (Bitch Boxer; Blush), directed by Ali Pidsley of Barrel Organ, and co-produced by Jake Orr Productions and Live Theatre, follows a father and daughter caught in a cycle of addiction trying to love fiercely through a hopeless situation. Asking challenging questions about mental health, it looks at what is inherited and who is responsible. In this harsh political climate, it tells a story to rid people of self-inflicted shame.
An exciting partnership with HighTide and The Queer House sees Since U Been Gone by Teddy Lamb and Mia Johnson’s Pink Lemonade come to Suffolk. Lamb’s moving autobiographical account of growing up queer in the Midlands, finding yourself, and losing a friend is brought to life in Since U Been Gone with storytelling and an original pop music score. Johnson’s Pink Lemonade is a multi-disciplinary piece exploring masculinity and lesbianism in Black womxn.
Never losing sight of its idyllic setting, HighTide also presents exciting productions which keep Aldeburgh close to their heart. Beach walks, fish and chips, carnival processions, echoes of bygone Aldeburgh summers, The Old House by Kate Maravan is a funny, heart-wrenching and beautiful story of a mother and daughter. LIGHTS! PLANETS! PEOPLE! is an intimate and exhilarating play about space science, legacy, loss and communication – both interpersonal and intergalactic. Presented by Suffolk company, Wonderful Beast, Thea Smiley’s The Last Woodwose is a beautiful piece which follows a rare Woodwose, or wild woman, captured in a woodland, who must share her extraordinary story to regain her freedom.
There’s fun for all the family with flying cows, jazzy cats and runaway crockery as Hey Diddle Diddle! jump and jive to the music in a brilliant new take on the classic nursery rhyme. In a globe-spanning journey of attempted escape, with songs along the way, the Fringe First award-winning Status by Chris Thorpe and Rachel Chavkin about nationality and trying to run away from the national story you are given. Art Heist is the new existential comedy caper from Poltergeist, the team behind the award-winning Lights Over Tesco Car Park.
The Festival will also present the first looks at the freshest work-in-progress coming from contemporary writers and, offering a new way to enjoy one of last year’s hit shows, the Songlines Installation and Exhibition will present extracts from the 360-degree virtual theatre experience captured during performance last year by LIVR, the new virtual reality platform, alongside artefacts from the production to showcase how it was made.
Amongst the talks
Deborah Warner CBE is the award-winning director whose worked in theatre and opera across the world, with productions on the West End and Broadway, for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English National Opera. On Sunday 15 September 2019, she will be joined in discussion by MyTheatreMates co-founder Terri Paddock, a theatre influencer, event producer and marketing strategist with over 20 years’ experience. Terri also co-founded and ran WhatsOnStage.com, building it into the UK’s leading theatre website, as well as musical theatre social media directory StageFaves.com.