While many a summer festival focuses primarily on music Latitude likes to mix it up with a lineup including theatre, comedy, film, cabaret, literature and performance. This July, the multi-arts festival returns for its 11th incarnation with a theatre programme focused on the theme of ‘love thy neighbour’.
Musing on the theme are Berlin-based arts collective Gob Squad, whose Super Night Shot celebrates unplanned meetings with strangers; Australian company Circa explore themes of displacement and refugeeism in Il Ritorno, an acrobatic display set to operatic music; and Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit of Sh!t Theatre examine the housing crisis in Letters to Windsor House.
Representing musical theatre are Graeae Theatre Company with Reasons to be Cheerful, featuring classic hits by Ian Dury and the Blockheads. British sign language, captioning and audio descriptive banter are worked into the show, as opposed to added after. French company Airnadette bring their lip-synching airband spectacular to the festival, and Licensed to Ill is an energetic account of the Beastie Boys rise to fame.
The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is marked by Fight in the Dog, who have comedians putting their own spin on Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Action to the Word attempt to shock with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other classic works at Latititude include a work-in-progress performance of The Importance of Being Earnest by Lyric Hammersmith – the angle being only two actors, Mel Giedroyc and Ed Gaughan, will play all the parts.
New work at the festival includes Liam Williams’ play Travesty about twentysomething angst, Christopher Brett Bailey’s drone soundscape piece, Flipping the Bird’s performance of a new feminist piece written by Phoebe Éclair-Powell and comedy trio Sleeping Trees’ take on sci-fi films, set to a live score.
Latitude has also specially commissioned theatre for the festival this year. Glen Neath & David Rosenberg present Séance, a piece that takes place in total darkness inside a shipping container, while Leeds Beckett explores what we can learn from the lived experience of different generations in Borrowed Shoes. Those who don’t mind a bit of intimacy can climb into one of seven beds to have stories whispered to them by one of seven actresses in Everything By My Side.
For puppetry fans, Blind Summit and Improbable team up for improvised puppetry in Animo. With no script, no set and only everyday materials, five improvisers will invent the puppets and the story anew each time. Finally if all you want from theatre is a ‘hot air balloon flying machine’, Les Enfants Terribles has got you covered with The Fantastical Flying Exploratory Laboratory.
Latitude Festival, Henham Park, Suffolk, Thu 14–Sun 17 Jul.