Latitude Loves Theatre
Damp and debilitated, bruised but buzzing, we returned to PP HQ on Tuesday this week after another epic and brilliant Latitude Festival. No amount of rain and mud could dampen our spirits as we premièred Kate Tempest’s WASTED on Friday and Sunday night.
A WASTED production meeting gets under way in the performer's bar
Our first performance of the show at 11:20pm on Friday was packed to the rafters with many having queued for more than half an hour to get into the tent. There was a real party atmosphere pre-show with an estimated 700-odd punters crammed in to the first ever performance of Kate’s first ever play.
With a smaller but more concentrated line-up in this year’s theatre arena, we were treated to some top notch work. The Lyric Hammersmith teamed up with Peepolykus and Spymonkey to commission Joel Horwood (the writer behind nabokov’s smash musical IT’S ABOUT TIME at last year’s festival) to give us an uproariously and irreverently hilarious take on JEKYLL AND HYDE. nabokov were back with a contemporary twist on CINDERELLA by Jack Thorne and Arthur Darvill that had the capacity crowd up on their feet from the off. We also saw and loved work by Theatre 503, Fuel, Clean Break, the National Theatre of Scotland and Eyebrow Productions, amongst others. And that was just in the theatre tent.
Here’s our team’s top picks of the weekend:
Claire (General Manager):
“This was not only my first Latitude, but my first festival so I was fairly unsure about what to expect from the weekend. I loved the whole experience, from the diverse and exciting line up, to the soggy camping. A couple of my favourite performances were INTENSIT I & SOLDIER A in the Poetry Arena and THE NAKED AND FAMOUS in the Word Arena. I’ll definitely be going back to Latitude again.”
Gathering rain clouds weren't enough to keep us away from the Obelisk Arena
“So with torrential rain washing me err ‘clean’ as I ate soggy chips and drank rain-diluted beer, anything under cover in the Theatre Arena (FORWARD THEATRE PROJECT, 1927), the Word Arena (FOALS, JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW, EVERYTHING EVERYTHING), Comedy Arena (DOC BROWN), Cabaret Arena (BOURGEOIS AND MAURICE) and the Poetry Arena (SOLDIER-A AND INTENSI-T, and the amazing KATE TEMPEST) were the highlights of my festival experience. Although I did brave the rain for SEASICK STEVE and Fuel’s ELECTRIC HOTEL, both of which were rather epic. Oh… and I LOVED the impromptu SOUND OF RUM gig beside a random tree on the Saturday night, followed by a dance at the embarrassingly spectacular GUILTY PLEASURES! …and let’s not forget all those infamous car park discos DJ’ed by our very own AD James Grieve until the sun had well and truly risen. Too many highlights to choose… can we do it all again please?!”
Guilty Pleasures rocking out the Comedy Arena after hours
George (Joint Artistic Director):
“With James assuming directing responsibilities this festival, I had the chance to get around quite a few of the music stages. I really spent a huge amount of time at the Sunrise Arena, enjoying sets by AARON WRIGHT (one of the collaborators on The 8th), FOSTER THE PEOPLE and TROPHY WIFE. JAMES BLAKE’s late night set on the Sunday was astounding”
Natasha (Production Assistant):
“Through the haze of my memory, I remember sheltering from the rain and discovering folk singer JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW; loving DOC BROWN rapping about Britain’s Olympic Dressage hopes in the Comedy tent; gazing at KATE TEMPEST turn the air electric at a midnight poetry reading; melting at David Bradley’s brilliant performance as both brow-beaten husband and shrewish Widow in ON THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF TOBACCO/CAN CAUSE DEATH; and salivating at The Trailer Beach BBQ, where I had the Best. Hotdog. Ever.”
James (Joint Artistic Director):
“I’m biased, but KATE TEMPEST’s headline gig in the poetry tent on Saturday night was mind-blowingly good. The impromptu SOUND OF RUM set afterwards was a stroke of genius.”
James Blake playing live
“I attended latitude for the fifth year in a row, and as always the people, programme and party did not disappoint. Thursday night kicked off with a blast with nabokov’s reimagining of CINDERELLA; fantastic performances, energising music and witty lyrics plus with bonus of two circus performances representing the realistic meeting of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Friday afternoon was a real highlight with the sun shining and listening to DEERHUNTER and CARIBOU (Word Arena) and SCHLOMO in the Theatre Tent.”
Chrissy (Trainee Producer):
“What a weekend it was! Well, my first time taking a show to Latitude so how can the highlight be anything other than our own WASTED, the amazing cast and creative team really pulled together to make something magical. I did have some fun too… a few of my highlights were the Lake Stage, Latitude’s new band stage where the SEA OF BEES were a real standout. Dancing all night with the lovely Hanna Streeter to THE FOALS in the Word Arena, an afternoon with SEASICK STEVE at the Obelisk and my first KATE TEMPEST poetry gig. And of course lots of laughing and dancing in the rain and the rising sun.”
Lizzie Watts performing WASTED (not literally)
There’s loads more about the journey we took from page to stage with our Latitude production of WASTED here. You can still listen to our Latitude playlist sampler here, featuring many of our team’s recommended bands from the festival. Meanwhile you can read a blog about our love of Latitude on the Guardian website, here. Plus there are loads more photos of our festival weekend on our Flickr page, here. Finally, tell us about your Latitude by leaving us a comment below.
Until next time, Latitude. You’ve left us exhausted, exhilarated, and begging for more.