Sorry folks, we were planning to blog and tweet updates throughout the festival but we were somewhat thwarted by lack of internet access. We managed to send the tech photos back to the office on Thursday, but once the everyone had decamped to Suffolk we were scuppered.
So, now we’re back at HQ rested and somewhat recuperated, here’s a full round-up of the shows and the shenanigans as Paines Plough and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse pitched up at the glorious Latitude Festival 2010. Or what we can remember of it anyway!
The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse fun bus departs from Liverpool carrying the TINY VOLCANOES team – Laurence (playwright), Kevin & Michael (actors), Xenia (sound & lighting designer), Tim (video designer) and heroic Stage Manager Sarah who’s doing all the driving. Meanwhile Paines Plough’s James, George and Tara head to Coventry for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.
By midnight, the Liverpool contingent are pitched up round a camp fire at Latitude, joined by Suzanne and Lindsay – the brilliant Everyman & Playhouse literary team – while the PP gang are hurtling towards Suffolk from Coventry, via a flooded Travelodge and an adventurous break-in to a hotel with very few chickens and beds with protruding legs (you’ll just have to ask us next time you see us).
The PP car arrives on site and tent-pitching guru George takes charge of erecting canvas palaces for the entire crew. We grab our first glimpse of the Theatre Arena before our lunchtime tech – it’s as epic and gladiatorial as ever. Our brilliant creatives and the top notch onsite crew ensure the tech runs smoothly, as the boys get a feel for the stage. We can’t wait.
As evening falls, the main arena opens and the festival proper gets underway. We catch Theatre 503’s Epic and nabokov’s stonking musical It’s About Time in the Theatre Tent, head over to the Poetry Tent for Luke Wright and Aisle16 and Friends, before cramming back into the Theatre Tent for the RSC. Then it’s all back to ours for a campfire (expertly constructed by Fire Marshall Kevin, who was encouraging competitive firewood gathering) and a little nightcap.
It’s up bright and early for us as we head backstage for a couple of hours rehearsal to start the day. The boys are in tip top spirits and raring to rock the tent, but there’s still more than 24hrs to go until curtain up. Jack, Sophie, Hanna and Tash arrive from the PP office having been tied to their desks yesterday – the Latitude gang is complete.
Playwright Laurence is invited onto a BAFTA panel to discuss identity and Britishness in the literary tent alongside Billy Bragg and Mark Thomas. It’s a thrilling debate infront of 2,000 people, rounded off by Billy Bragg leading the masses in an accapello rendition of Jerusalem. Has he already seen the play, we wonder!
Then it’s off our leashes once more for a mosey around the beautiful festival site taking in multi-coloured sheep, Wild Beasts, Richard Hawley, dance, storytelling and poets. The camp is split between Florence and The National in the clash of the headliners, before re-uniting for a second trip to see nabokov’s It’s About Time.
It’s nearly showtime. Another early startas we’re awoken by the industrious amongst us cooking breakfast in camping stoves. Kevin is fast proving himself camp master general and whips up a full English. Suzanne challenges Tara to a British Military Fitness workout. Tara declines.
Over to the rehearsal tent and the adrenalin’s pulsing as we go through our paces. A brief break to watch The Bush’s brilliant The Great British Country Fete and we’re counting down. With half an hour to go, a sneak peak outside reveals a queue of people already snaking around the tent waiting to grab a seat. 5-4-3-2-1 blast-off!
In front of a jam-packed 600-capacity crowd with many more standing at the back, the boys get off to a flier and TINY VOLCANOES is go. Before we know it the tent’s echoing with applause as the lights dim on the curtain call. What a rush! One down, and the entire exuberant company toast the show backstage.
Then it’s time to watch the fantastic Lyric / Filter Dream and the imperious Belle & Sebastian, whose cover of Jumping Jack Flash has to rate as one of the great Latitude highlights of all time. Over in the poetry tent the astonishing Kate Tempest whips up a storm and then it’s post-haste to the backstage bar for a beer or three before bed.
Phew, it’s an absolute scorcher. We’re glad for the shade of the theatre tent as we gear up to take to the stage for our second TINY VOLCANOES show of the weekend at 1:20pm. An even bigger crowd has gathered and the boys are raring to sock it to ‘em.
From the get-go it’s an absolute stormer of a show. The crowd bellows and cheers and we have to stop six times for rounds of applause. At the curtain, a standing ovation. Bravo Kevin and Michael. Is there a more exciting place to produce theatre anywhere in the world than in a full-to-capacity-cheering-to-the-rafters theatre tent at Latitude? Not that we know of. Champagne corks pop and beer cans crack backstage as an elated company relives a truly thrilling experience.
And now, with the work over, it’s really time to enjoy the festival. We split in all directions to watch more theatre, see more bands, kneel in awe at the feet of John Cooper Clarke and generally whirr around this pastoral wonderland. Then it’s all backstage to boogie til sunrise, doused in lager and infected with the inimitable euphoria of Latitude. Some of us end up with unexplained tatoos, some with face-paint, some dancing inexplicably round a stereo with strangers, some staring sozzled down the neck of a cider bottle, some sound asleep under the stars.
Ouch. Our heads hurt. Tired, sunburnt and sad it’s all over, we begin the long slow march to the car park and wave goodbye to the greatest festival on earth for another year. Thanks Latitude – we had the time of our lives.