The Tempest and Our Country’s Good among highlights of Mayfesto 2014 theatre programme
Other highlights include Return to My Native Land, Saltbush and My Name Is …
Mayfesto, The Tron's annual festival, promises a month of politically engaged performance and more. Artistic director Andy Arnold explains what keeps it going.
What inspired Mayfesto?
It came out of the desire to re-establish a celebration of theatre in Glasgow, from the ashes of Mayfest. The currency of Mayfesto is text-driven work: it is the essence of theatre.
How did you decide on this year’s theme of colonialism?
We decided with the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, it would be appropriate to have an examination of the darker side of the commonwealth.
What are this year’s main house productions?
I am directing a deconstructed production of The Tempest: I have got a female Prospero and Caliban. Gerry Mulgrew is directing Our Country’s Good. We are going to have a composite set, using it on alternate nights. They are classic texts, but they both symbolise the theme.
Is it all about the big productions?
In the last few years, Mayfesto has also focused on ancillary events: works in progress, readings and discussions. Return to My Native Land is a powerful poem by Aimé Césaire, and I always thought that would make a wonderful piece of theatre. And Césaire had written his take on The Tempest, with Ariel as a freedom fighter. So I thought – let’s do a reading of that!
What else do you have lined up?
There’s My Name Is …, based on a true Scottish story, and also Saltbush, an aborigine piece in the main space in the round on a magic floor. We also have a love story in post-colonial Iran, and a debate about art and politics.
Apart from directing The Tempest, are you personally doing anything else at Mayfesto this year?
I do hanker to be back on the stage, and I am performing in a debate: Alan Bissett is the Scot and I am the Englishman. I can’t keep my public waiting any longer!
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 6–Sat 31 May.