With Bestival and Sun and Bass closing the festival season the weekend just gone Summer is officially over! But have no fear, with the current climate epidemic, we are due to have some freakish hot weather say mid October/November plus nabokov are staying true to our Latitude pledge of bringing the summer festival vibe into our everyday lives starting with wearing glitter all the time! Glitter is not just for festivals people. Post Latitude Festival over Summer every weekend there seemed to be something glorious happening that was free and good vibes. Artistic Director Stef O’Driscoll fell in love many times over and here are her Summer highlights.
LATITUDE FESTIVAL AT NATIONAL THEATRE RIVER STAGE
nabokov brought REFORMATION NATION to the NT River Front stage as part of the Latitude Festival takeover weekend.
As soon as Dj Sweetpea and Deefa Mc got going and the sounds of drum and bass graced the Southbank, a dancefloor for all ages was formed. With no inhibitions the two year olds started to dance in the sunshine and their parents soon followed as the crowd began expressing their politics with homemade protest sign bearing slogans such as POWER TO THE PEOPLE, MAKE ART NOT WAR and BOOKS NOT BOMBS.
A beautiful sight!
REFORMATION NATION was our experiment of how can you rave and engage with politics.
Alongside Deefa MC’s politically conscious bars some brave spoken word artists, Sabrina Mahfouz and Jemima Foxtrot, joined us to rework their political poems fusing them with the sounds of Dj Sweetpea.
We commissioned three playwrights (Luke Barnes, Omar El-Khairy and Monsay Whitney) to also respond to the brief and some invisible theatre, a social experiment, was created.
- How do the audience respond to a girl (Joana Nastari) who is rolling through from the night before trying to engage whoever will listen to her politics on the social housing crisis?
- How does the audience react to a tipsy, white northern lad, Derek (Mark Newsome), asking for the mic so he can express his truth about his shitty, zero hour job with a poem?
- How does the audience react to a young black male (Cory Hippolyte) not feeling Derek’s poem and grabbing the mic to save the vibe only to be removed by security. Do they see the injustice? Do they respond? Do they act?
When Cory was removed at least 10 people rushed to defend him. The audience felt protective of him and the basic human right of freedom of speech, which gave me a good deal of hope that us humans are capable of standing up for what we believe in.
REFORMATION NATION was rounded off with an impromptu live PA from Hannah Eve. We were blessed to have her in the crowd and the finally was a poignant and charged performance from Benin City with a track reminding us of the incessant gentrification of London.
All of this was FREEEEEEE!
I feel in love with seeing an audience I have never seen before (unless you walk 100 metres to where the skaters and graffiti artist hangout) on the doorstep of the National Theatre engaging with Sabrina's Mahfouz story of UKG SUMMER 2001 LONDON RAVING! At one point did I hear a laughing gas canister being cracked?
We need to keep finding new ways to engage new audiences with theatre and stories! National Theatre, how do we now get that audience IN your building?
THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS: HISTORY OF HIP-HOP TERRACE PARTY
Another weekend and London just keeps giving, the sun was shining and the people gathered again along the southbank for a schooling in the history of hip hop. Serious vibes were had overlooking the Thames as The Doctors Orders took us through 70s soul breaks through 80s rap and 90s Boom Bap, right up to today’s trap bangers with live appearances from Jehst, Cappo, Black Twang and Fliptrix. All this was for FREE. VIBES SO MANY VIBES! VIBES FOR DAAAAYZ.
I then had a brief love affair with Edinburgh....
Just a quick one. The town was buzzing, brimming with people baring their souls and telling their stories the only way they knew how. Lush. The top three shows that really got me thinking and inspired to make work were...
Middle Child's TEN STOREY LOVE SONG by Luke Barnes. It was mint. Yes to playing with the form of gig theatre, yes to putting working class stories with a social political conscious at the forefront of their work. Just yes yes yes. We are proper excited by these guys. Roll on 2017 they have some epic plans brewing.
COUNTING SHEEP A Guerilla Folk Opera - Yes to the immersive political experience where as an active participant you are forced to feel and experience the injustice. The Ukrainian politics and the truth of the situation was strengthened by actual real footage from protests and news coverage supporting the story being sung, danced and protested. So much food for thought for upcoming nabokov projects.
Lucy McCormick’s TRIPLE THREAT - I am slightly in love with this woman. She is a G. She had me at singing her opening number into a dildo. She is bound to have a run at Soho Theatre London. You must see this!
A big thank you to Auld Jock’s Pie Shoppe. I love your pies. Liz loves your pies. nabokov loves your pies! You have had a refurb but the pies are the same.
and finally, thank you POLLYANNA’S. Where were you all the other Edinburgh Fringes? This was the party place to be this year. The intimate space was heaving every night with Edinburgh’s finest late night cabaret acts embracing the alternative, the queer, the messy, the sweaty, the political, the glittery and the glitzy. At the closing night, I fell in love again this time with Drag King johnsmith. What a G!
Fresh off the plane from Scotland, I felt guilty for cheating on London so I had to make up for it by dancing my heart out in the streets of London for Carnival. Big up the People’s Sounds system on All Saints road for bringing the vibes.
Carnival gets so much bad press in fact so does anything that allows people to express themselves, come together and rave, to let go and be free. Do one media!
With the recent devastating news of Fabric night club’s closure, what is left of our London raving culture?
Since Fabric opened in 1999 there have been 6 unfortunate accidental deaths but let’s put that in perspective during the same time period 108 people died being held in custody by the Metropolitan Police. London has lost half of it’s clubs and 40% of its music venues in the last 8 years. The true reason for its closure is, once again, for capitalist gain!
We have got to do something! Campaign time it is! Keep an eye out on the fabric website for how you can be useful http://www.fabriclondon.com/save-fabric and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on how you can help.
And to round off our beautiful Summer, we got back in the crew van and took our production of SLUG to the Gundog pub in Halifax as part of Halifax’s Square Chapel Open Rooms Programme. A great programme designed to engage new audiences by taking theatre, music and film into non theatre spaces. WIth local homegrown talent joining us on the music bill we brought gig theatre to the Halifax locals. The audience was a mixture of old boys sipping their Friday night ale, young people on a night out and hardcore Bellatrix fans.
With exclaims of “did they really just say that?” and ‘“that was genius, you will never see that again in Halifax,” we fell in love with the West Yorkshire locals and most definitely with how cheap a round was.
Next stop is Sheffield as we take SLUG to Theatre Deli The Moor on the 1st October!