With less than a month until Brighton bursts into festival frenzy, many of us are busy scouring brochures trying to decipher what’s hot and what’s not to see in this year’s Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe. Choosing from the multitude of shows on offer can be overwhelming, or at best a lucky dip – and unfortunately you won’t know if you’ve picked a dud until the curtain falls.
Hearing other people’s opinions, be it on personal blogs, entertainment websites, or in the columns of the critics, can be good a way to help us make more informed decisions about what we see and ensure we don’t throw our precious pennies and free time down the entertainment drain.
This is why we’re thrilled to have Dorothy Max Prior here to give us her pick of the festivals, and to talk about her course Critical Writing and Creative Non Fiction starting at Evolution Arts on Wednesday 25th April.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in this year’s Brighton Festival and Fringe?
D/ There are two excellent circus-theatre companies in the Brighton Festival, NoFit State and Fauna. I saw Fauna at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it won a Total Theatre Award, so can recommend that. I’ve also seen Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk and would urge everyone to go! I’m looking forward to guest director David Shrigley’s contributions, especially Life Model 2 at Fabrica, and to the site-specific and outdoor work in the Festival, including IOU”s Rear View, Pivot, and the Without Walls commissions.
Are you excited about running your course with us again this year?
D/ Most definitely! Last year, we had a great mix of people with different experiences. Some were novice writers, some published writers, some ran their own blogs. There were academics who wanted to develop a more journalistic style; and journalists who wanted to develop their writing and extend it into a new direction.
In each session, we looked at examples of good non-fiction writing of all sorts: newspaper and magazine articles (mainstream and specialist press); blogs and websites; books such as Nick Hornby’s 33 Songs, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America, Iain Sinclair’s London Orbital, the essays of Angela Carter.
Everyone had the opportunity to bring some of their own writing in to read the group each week. Additionally, everyone was set ‘go and see’ tasks each week – taking advantage of the festival month of May to go and see exhibitions and shows and write reviews or reflections, which we then all talked about in the following session. See, for example, Keith Stewart’s piece on http://evolutionartsreview.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/human-being-they-us-you-me-by-keith.html
Some participants wrote articles or reviews for the Evolution Arts Review blog we set up, and some (such as Karen Dobres) also got accepted by Broadway Baby on to their reviewing team – I should say, though, that this option is very much only for those who feel they want an additional challenge! See Karen’s review of Enter the Dragons, here:
Who is this course for?
D/ It is for everybody who is interested in non-fiction writing of all sorts, regardless of their level of experience. Everyone welcome! I recently ran a similar course in Guadalajara Mexico, and it attracted hardened hacks, novice writers, circus/theatre artists interested in writing about the artforms they love, poets, songwriters, short fiction writers interested in exploring creative non-fiction… A mixed group makes for exciting sessions! See http://totaltheatre.org.uk/textear-el-circo/
Dorothy Max Prior specialises in theatre, performance and art. She is currently doing readings from, and promoting, a book she contributed to, called Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night: http://www.zero-books.net/books/punk-dead. She edits Total Theatre Magazine WWW.totaltheatre.org.uk, which was set up by and for theatre/performance artists. She prefers long-form writing to the usual short ‘review’ format – see here, for example http://totaltheatre.org.uk/nigel-barrett-louise-mari-with-abigail-conway-party-skills-for-the-end-of-the-world/ – although she believes there’s a place for both.