Upstart Theatre Announce Full Programme For Dare Festival 2018

Upstart Theatre today announce full programme for the third annual DARE Festival at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Three days of performance, art installations, conversation and fun. Selling out in 2016 and 2017, DARE Festival brings together artists and audiences from across London and beyond in an explosion of new and in-development work. This year's festival explores the theme of power through performance, installation and conversation. Inventive, unexpected, challenging and joyous, DARE Festival is a place for people to make, discover, dream and play.

The three-day festival features a variety of performances including one-woman shows from Rhiannon Brace and Channie B, East London performance duo Emma Clark and PJ Stanley present Atlantic, and new companies Don't Be Absurd and Pink Freud Theatre present their debut productions. In addition Izzy Joan and Bradley Birkholz perform a verbatim piece, Here, Queer and Mentally Unclear and Paula Varjack, Luca Rutherford and Catriona James perform devised work #thebabyquestion, Artistic Director of Upstart Theatre, Tom Mansfield presents Kerensky Boulevard, and Thomas Ryalls performs his new work, Can You See into a Black Hole?. There are also a variety of informal discussion events and opportunities to network across the three days.

Tom Mansfield, Artistic Director of Upstart Theatre, said today, "We're thrilled to be returning to Shoreditch Town Hall for the third DARE Festival. This is our biggest and best festival yet, bringing together an eclectic mix of twelve new performances, installations and games along with compelling discussion events. As well as giving audiences an unrivalled opportunity to check out new work in its most exciting stage of development, DARE Festival has given artists the chance to try out new ideas and make new connections, leading projects touring nationally and artists collaborating with partners across Europe. DARE Festival is the highlight of Upstart Theatre's year and I'm thrilled to be welcoming artists and audiences to once again join us underground."

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and by Cockayne - Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation.


Written & Performed by Rhiannon Brace

Voiceovers: Scott Swinton

Rhiannon is thirteen and has a recurring dream about the end of the world. She is not like her classmates; there are no birthday parties, Christmas trees, pop music or make-up. She can recite all the books of the bible, the Ten Commandments, the twelve sons of Jacob and is fearful of being possessed by the devil. Despite her fears she is beginning to find her voice and her own identity and she secretly loves peering at the twinkly Christmas lights in wintery windows.


By Channie B

Sound Engineer: Curtis Arnold Harmer

What would happen if I stripped you of everything you knew, to rebuild us? I want to let you know that it's not just about me, or people like me, it's about all of us, because who knows who will be next.

Channie B's new work combines poetry and sound design to create an evocative exploration of humanity and brutality.

Don't Be Absurd present


By Goethe and Hebbel and devised by the company

Performed by Atilla Akinci, Stef Brückner, Judith Von Orelli, Rebecca Phillips

Directed by Kesia Guillery

Two women. Both dead. Hanged; jumped down a well. Two writers: Goethe and Hebbel - who condemned them. But this time, they won't stick to their stories.

Welcome to The School of Womanhood, a chance to learn from those who have died for their sexual transgressions. This school will form you (all of you) into real women.

Pink Freud Theatre presents


Written & Performed by Riz Davis and Amelia Brown

Created by Ria Davis, Amelia Brown and Coco Jackson

We have fought.

We have flown.

We have frozen.

And we have f*cked.

Three people have stories to tell. These are stories of smeared consent, sexual violence, rape. Let's create a space in which to hear them. Let's create a space in which they can respond to them.

This is a play about voices and spaces and sexual violence. It is also a play about kindness.


Written and Performed by Thomas Ryalls

Epileptic seizures are like black holes, we don't know a lot about them and we can't really observe what's happening inside them. Can You See Into a Black Hole? puts feelings of shame, power and love back in to the scientific timeline of a seizure and tries to understand how they might be part of this little-understood phenomenon.

It's also a pretty mint disco. Tom is going to take you to a proper northern (epileptic-friendly) party, the walls are covered in EEG charts and the strobes have been smashed. We might not see into a black hole but we'll have a good time trying!


Created and performed by Emma Clark and PJ Stanley

We've been told that the world is drifting. Ideologies, societies, people. Even our planet is slowly tearing itself apart year by year, the steady accumulation of history piling up like the garbage patch in the middle of the sea.

So there's only one thing for it. We're headed out to the middle of the ocean to pull everything back together again. Nations, cultures, tectonic plates. After all, there are no rules in international waters, just two people and an open horizon.

Izzy Joan and Bradley Birkholz present


Written by Izzy Joan

Performed by Izzy Joan and Bradley Birkholz

A verbatim music and theatre piece featuring stories from people in the LGBTQ+ community who suffer from mental illness. This work focuses on education and healing while supplying the audience with both heartbreaking and heartwarming stories, humour and music. Aimed at breaking down the stigma our society carries towards these things, while also examining the interconnected nature of queerness and mental illness. This piece asks the question why is the LGBTQ+ community 3X more likely to experience mental health disorders, and what can we as a society do to help ease this crisis.


Created and Devised by Paula Varjack, Luca Rutherford and Catriona James

#thebabyquestion is a devised research-based performance by three female performers, investigating how the decision of whether or not to have a child impacts women differently than men, and the pressure it can create on career and relationships. Why are contraception, parenting, and fertility still so often seen as "women's issues"? In 1974 the contraceptive pill was made available by prescription to single women for the first time on the NHS. What has changed since then in the way we discuss not when or how but *whether* a woman has or wants to have children?


By Rachel Gadsden

Composer and Musical Director: Freddie Meyers; Musician: Rihab Azar

All at Sea is a creative collaboration between visual and performance artist Rachel Gadsden and composer Freddie Meyers featuring renowned Syrian oud player Rihab Azar. The artistic enquiry focuses on the plight of refugees who have settled in the UK, Germany and Jordon. Migration narratives have been explored with refugees to stimulate powerful evocative responses. The emerging performance will express the challenges and hopes of diaspora, and will consider how individuals not only survive harrowing migration journeys, but also how these cataclysmic experiences authorize future existences and can ultimately empower individuals.


Concept and Director: Natasha Hyman

Dramaturg: Aleksandra Jakubczak; Composer: Nika Pasuri; Producer: Maya Ellis

Part online platform, part installation and part performance, Confession is an interactive multi-art form project exploring the practice of the admission of sin.

Developed partly through workshops with young people aged 15-18 based in Hackney, we interrogate ancient and more recent models of confession, to ask who has the authority to forgive us?


Designed and facilitated by Tom Mansfield

It's 1989 and the Berlin Wall has fallen. In the tiny nation of Grusinia, revolution is in the air. This is a time for new leaders: you. How will you shape your nation's future? Will it become a land of peace and freedom, a socialist utopia, or a devastated warzone?

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