Tron artistic director Andy Arnold discusses the politically-edged theatre festival
To say The Tron’s artistic director Andy Arnold has big hopes for this year’s Mayfesto would be an understatement. Launched in 2010, Arnold’s plan was to bring Glasgow a new, socially and politically engaged theatre festival – and that’s just what he did. For over two weeks in May he brought us innovative theatre, pulling in eager audiences and attracting the attention of theatre makers in the UK and beyond. Running this year for just shy of a month (4–28 May) the calibre of the programme shows just how far the festival – and his vision – has come. Comedy and music jamboree It’s a Dead Liberty features old school favourites Dave Anderson and Sandy Nelson with original songs from Wildcat and 7:84, while elsewhere on the programme Communicado presents, and Gerry Mulgrew directs, a rehearsed reading of Ten Men Dead, about Bobby Sands and the hunger strike of 1981; Iain Heggie’s King of Scotland gets a showcase, so too does David Ireland’s politically charged Everything Between Us, alongside the Tron Theatre Company’s own productions of David Harrower’s Day Long and Gary Owen’s Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco. ‘We really want to build on last year,’ explains Arnold. ‘Last year it was largely in-house companies dealing with casualties of war; this year we’re taking it much further. It’s much more broadly based with a Celtic theme, and with some fantastic new work. ‘The motivation for the festival was really to pick up on the excitement that’s here [in the city] for theatre. Last year there was such a great buzz about the place from the bar to the theatre with shows sitting around and on top of each other throughout the Tron, giving people access to as much theatre as possible. In my bones I feel it’s a great thing that will just get bigger and better this year, and hopefully people will come along and agree.’
The story of Lily Litvak, a Russian fighter pilot during WWII and one of the thousand women who volunteered for the Red Air Force. Peter Arnott's tale of patriotism, warfare and love, with Litvak, the 'White Rose of Stalingrad', at its heart.
Flann O'Brien's comic send-up of Irish literature and culture tells of a lazy student writer and the characters he creates. Presented by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company with director Niall Henry. Tue 17 May – Sat 21 May: Part of Mayfesto 2011.
Gary Owen's foul-mouthed and visceral play is a story of karaoke wannabes and old school bullies in a small Welsh town, produced by the Tron Theatre Company with director Leann O'Kasi. Tue 24 May – Sat 28 May: Part of Mayfesto 2011.