Kneehigh’s third Asylum season in Cornwall sees the company open up the tent doors to invite members of the wider company to present their own work in a festival week called Short Blasts!
Since launching in 2010, Kneehigh have been clear that the first three years they wanted to explore and experiment with their new space. Now in 2012, they are set to reinvent the Asylum by programming other peoples work into the venue, and introducing audiences to the dome tent from their ‘kit of parts’.
From last year’s epic 670 seater, this year will take on a more intimate feel – perfect for Steptoe and Son, but also ideal for some of the smaller shows from Kneehigh collaborators with just 370 seats available per night. Short Blasts is a week-long celebration of Kneehigh performers, all of whom audiences will recognise. Each night along with shows, there will be live music from the Kneehigh Band and pop up performances from the company’s Connections team, all wrapped up with the usual food, drink and general merriment.
Opening the festival week is Global Cornwall, returning for a second year, and this time World renowned reggae poet and musician Linton Kwesi Johnson joins the line up for a night of poetry and provocation as they explore the theme of protest and its many forms. Linton was described by TimeOut as ‘the alternative poet-laureate'. His recordings are amongst the top-selling reggae albums in the world.
Joining the lineup that week is Bec Applebee – the original ‘Girl’ from The Red Shoes in 2000 - with her one woman show ‘Oh Mary’ the tale of a Cornish Highway Woman at the heart of one of Maritimes greatest escape stories. Dan Canham (Brief Encounter, Tristan & Yseult) brings 30 Cecil Street, a dance-theatre show that explores what a theatre might be like when it closes its doors to the public. On the same night, Dom Lawton - last seen for Kneehigh in Don John – presents The Raun Tree in which he and a cast of musicians take the audience through a twisted tale of music, story and theatre. Stu McLoughlin, not long back from touring The Wild Bride as The Devil, teams up with Howard Coggins to present his new show The Six Wives of Henry VIII the blurb says “This promises to be an ill-researched lesson in cross dressing Tudor history”.
The whole week is then wrapped up with the return of a favourite amongst Kneehigh audience regulars, Blast! is the Cornish history you weren’t taught in school – exploding saffron buns and inspired lunacy will be back for just two nights performed by the brilliant Carl Grose, Simon Harvey and Craig Johnson.
Kids can enjoy performances from Kneehigh collaborator Craig Johnson as he brings The Sea Show back to the Asylum and Cscape present their latest show for anyone aged 4+ - If The Shoe Fits, written by Anna Maria Murphy, is an interactive show combining dance, story-telling, poetry and music.
With tickets selling fast, and significantly fewer available seats than in previous years, audiences are encouraged to book soon to avoid disappointment.