Mayfesto: mini-festival to focus on music for 2017

Mayfesto: mini-festival to focus on music for 2017

Daphne Oram

Get out your glam-rags and gig-going gear for a rocking month of theatre

Even when he isn't directing one of his plays, Andy Arnold evokes Samuel Beckett. This year's 'mini-festival' Mayfesto is inspired by the Irish absurdist's struggles with language and sound, and his conclusion that 'music always wins'. Beckett's pessimism aside, Arnold's curation suggests that 'gig-theatre' has established itself as a dynamic genre.

With Blood of the Young presenting a study of BBC Radiophonic Workshop pioneer Daphne Oram, Alan McKendrick teaming up with the Smack Wizards to tell the story of a tour from hell, and A Band Called Quinn grappling enhanced interrogation, Mayfesto draws from rock'n'roll, experimental electronica and punk ferocity as much as the magic of the script.

Further work comes from Ramesh Meyyappan, an artist as restless as he is creative: Off Kilter looks at being an outsider, with literal magic in the mix. Horse McDonald brings her Fringe hit play Careful to the Tron, and even Glasgow University joins the party, as academics and fledging superstars Davie Archibald and Carl Lavery roll out the latest episode of The Glam Rock Dialogues, a counterblast to punk-rock 'authenticity' and the belief that theory doesn't have its own swagger.

If Alan McKendrick's Cadaver Police in The Electrocution Afterlife – as seen in progress during the Take Me Somewhere festival – hides a caustic sting inside its rocking metaphor of life on the road, A Band Called Quinn take on the ultimate sell-out. Based on the research of musicologist Dr. Morag J Grant, Music is Torture considers the condition of a band when their songs are used by the military – with humour promised.

Mayfesto has always had a political edge. Despite the serious subjects and intense performances, this year's theme ensures that the programme is a celebration of collaborative creation and a battle between media that resolves not into a victory for music but for imagination and audiences.

Mayfesto, Tron Theatre, 3–30 May.


Mayfesto celebrates edgy and provocative new work and theatre that focuses on what's going on in the world, responding to recent events.

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