Mayfest needs to change, but how? Eddie Gibb considers what’s at stake.
Will this be the last Mayfest as we know it‘.’ No one is quite sure. but during the coming weeks some
searching questions will be asked about its future. To f
assist in the introspection, a firm of Liverpool-based
consultants, Positive Solutions, has been appointed to .
dissect this year's festival. Sticking to the line that the board will not pre-judge the outcome. one director conceded that it's possible the review could lead to a recommendation for the whole thing to be scrapped. but that's very unlikely.
There is. however. a feeling that the time has come to force the pace ofchange. Mayfest director Robert Robson‘s announcement earlier this year that he would be leaving to run His Majesty‘s in Aberdeen has given the board the breathing space to examine the way the festival works before a new director is appointed. Mayfest has evolved slowly and organically over the past eleven years; ifthere’s ever going to be change by Big Bang, it‘ll happen this year
One ofthe issues which is likely to be central to this review is the involvement of larger venues. ‘I think there are some critical questions that need to be examined.‘ says board vice-chair Mary Picken. ‘For
E instance, ifGlasgow has this vibrant festival in
Mayfest, why can’t it programme the King‘s?‘ Cats is opening at the King's on the same day as
issue the board will have to resolve; should Mayfest become a more cohesive, centrally-programmed event like Edinburgh's international festival, or instead move towards the ‘everyone‘s welcome' umbrella ofthe Fringe?
The other key problem is what to do with the community programme. Community involvement has always been central to Mayfest, and that commitment has inspired the development of companies like Clyde Unity Theatre and venues like the Mercat Theatre in Drumchapel. The community T element is almost entirely funded by Strathclyde Regional Council, which allows Mayfest to subsidise tours by professional companies to outlying areas of Glasgow. But that money is almost certain to disappear with the reorganisation of local government and Picken does not expect it to be ; replaced. The board will have to decide whether to divert money from the main programme or simply , cut the community arts adrift. whether it can swim or not.
Positive Solutions was chosen as consultant in part for its experience in community arts which suggests this aspect of Mayfest figures in the board's thinking. The assumption that there should continue to be a separate community programme is likely to be questioned by those who believe it widens the gulf between city centre and outlying audiences.
‘l’ve no problems with the word community other
than the connotations the arts world has put on it,’ says city council ans officer Graham McKenzie, who i is based in Castlemilk. ‘l would like to see more ofa partnership with Mayfest rather than just waiting to
i see what they send us. Over the years Mayfest has
i been tremendously important in generating the idea
I Mayfest begins. but it‘s clearly not a Mayfest show in l Oflhcalm in the Communlli’v bl" WC'VC 80‘ ‘0 83‘ name or spirit. Productions at other venues like the
Tron Theatre Company’s Diimbslrur'k sit more comfortably in the Mayfest programme, but are no
i more Mayfest-specific than Cars. This is the central
beyond that ﬁrst stage.‘
i The consensus view is that Mayfest works, but it
? would benefit from a clearer sense of purpose. What exactly that purpose should be. has yet to be decided.
traverse hit unidentiﬁed Human actor/contortionist Angela Laurier. ‘l V AOAPTATIONS Remains, than my, mow, mm asked lain Banks ii he’d like to be I gentle style characterised by llllltilllad ill it.’ 8813 Pm Chili 0' Bondagers. ‘Part of me loves being BOMMOIII'S. ‘iti Which lit! Mill“. lyrical and dreamy,’ he admits, ‘but “AbSOIIItOIY lilii"- ii '83 8 W Your average stage adaptation tends another part or me wants to produce a complex book to write, a bit ot a to be drawn trom the canon ot visceral region) nightmare, but he was all for someone classics and 0 Grade set-texts, usually 30 n shooting up in toilet; and else taking his ideas and moving them cashing in on an eager and ready throwing up in public are not your on from there.’ market. But two Scottish shows this thing, perhaps you should think twice. It might seem odd that Benchtours, Mayfest take their sources lrom more on the my hand, Welsh himself has which has normally created devised contellllltliali Wilt. namely laill ’ been sitting in on rehearsals and he performances, albeit in conjunction Banks The Bridge and lrvine Welsh s reckon, um Ewan annual (star or with a writer, should be using a work Trainspotting. performed by, Naked) is a dead-spit perlect cast tor oi literature as its source, list Clerk Benchtours and the Citizens Theatre Mark "onion, up, “folnshoﬁgd ham, stresses that the book is merely a respectively. As is the case with more so fans or m. naval maidn't be starting point. ‘Vle use text but we’re tamlliar books, the novels have both disappointo¢ not a text-based company,’ he says. will!“ 8 “9'99 0' 3000933 0" "Me" On a much bigger scale, Benchtours ‘tt’s got to work visually primarily. The the productions will capitalise. but it . , has tdten over the Fruibnarket in book has some tantastlc visual is still good to see modern writing n” “‘9'” 'l ‘ 9“ '° 'W “‘“W Albion Street to create a highly scenes maul" “8'83 M '0 I.“ having a chance to be illuminated by a vernacqu by lrvine Welsh. ‘You need physicah prom“. union or lain to represent, the characters, the dltlerent medium a 8‘08“! Stomach to lead the b00lt.’ Banks’ surreal re-imagining oi the dreams, a lot oi the time he’s drawing ‘Part oi the power is hearing the sails Brown. ‘and the audience is Forth Road Bridge seen through the pictures. i think it will adapt very language out loud,’ says the Traverse’s going to need one too. It’s quite on; or a victim of a nupratai road well.’ (Mark Fisher) Ian Brown who has been invited by the shocking. It is explicit and it is in- accident, to “In it do this, French Trainspotting, Citizens' Rube. Citizens’ to direct Trainspotting. the vouclace.’ lleerlless to sail. the Canadian director and Robert lepage Glasgow, wed 4-sat 21 May. unsettling novel of Edinburgh drug production is likely to have more in migrant 4m.rm¢.ric Messier has The Bridge, Frulbnnrket Glasgow Frl addiction, written In a tluld, colloquial common with the rough-edged be... drafted in, a; has are remarkable mini 8 May. ’ ’
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: MARK LAMARR C THE OHOLMONOELEYS O ELEANOR MOEVOY
The List 22 April—5 May 199415