NNF12: New works in progress at BETA

Promising the curious and adventurous, BETA at the Norwich Puppet Theatre sees brand new theatrical works by a range of artists. SIMON PARKIN previews it.

BETA is a new platform for underground and fringe performances taking place at Norwich Puppet Theatre over the last eight days of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

The series of theatrical events, which begin tomorrow and reach a finale on May 26, will showcase new and daring pieces of work, many at an evolving stage, by emerging and established performers from this region and further afield.

All shows are �5 or pay what you can on the door, meaning anyone can afford to attend. Perhaps fittingly for an event making its debut, things begin with How to Avoid Making an Entrance of Yourself (May 19, 9pm) a one-woman piece about entrances and exits: what its like to be waiting in the wings, behind the scenes and backstage, devised by Norwich-based performance artist Dot Howard. That is followed by a reading of a new piece by four time Fringe First award winner Chris Thorpe (May 19, 10.30pm) drawing on ideas of heroism and the compromises we make over a lifetime.

Since disappearing a decade ago in the midst of two concurrent performances in London and Sydney, Maudeline Spacks has become known as the vanishing artist who vanished forever. Be ready to witness her reappearance in The Remarkable Disappearing and Reappearing Maudeline Spacks (May 20, 9pm), a new piece created by Norwich artist Will Teather.

Using a 19th Century theatrical illusion called a Pepper's Ghost, artist/director Patrick Eakin Young, best known for work with Opera Erratica, interacts with his body cut up, re-arranged and re-animated, on a tabletop stage in Body Pieces (May 20, 10pm/11.10pm), a new solo performance piece with holograms and live improvised music.

Meanwhile theatre company Curious Directive (May 20, 8.30pm) will be performing 10 five minute one-to-one pieces exploring our intimate relationship with perfume.

Most Read

Torrents Of Rapture (May 21, 9pm) is a multimedia love-story comedy by Dugald Ferguson told through 'olden-days-style' film, animation, live performance and the evocative music of yesteryear. The Pirates of Carthage (May 21, 10.30pm) is a new play by visual artist Daniel Kelly that examines the recent uprising across Tunisia alongside The Mercenary War (264-241 BC) in the ancient city of Carthage.

Live-art performance Dis-Auction (May 22, 9pm) is a participatory piece that takes the form of an auction.

When award-winning poet Ross Sutherland's house burnt down, the only thing that survived was a videotape that used to belong to his grandparents. Standby For Tape Backup (May 22, 10.30pm) sees him remixing the material as an audiovisual poem on memory, death and reruns.

Since 2009 Dan Canham has been capturing conversation with people of the fens, from eel-catchers and farmers to molly dancers and conservationists. The result is Ours Was The Fen Country (May 23, 10.30pm/May 24, 10.45pm), a dance-theatre piece that fuses movement with words and memories.

Opera director Sibylle Polster and mezzo-soprano Dylan Bandy present Strangers in a Song (May 24, 9.30pm), an interactive operatic performance giving the audience the chance to receive their own private concert.

I Am Not Your Art (May 25, 9pm) is the story of how Dora Maar who gave her face to Picasso as The Weeping Woman series. In the 1816 poem The Dream, Lord Byron reflects upon the nature of dreams. The Raw & The Cooked (May 26, 9pm) uses musical and visual materials to extend the nature and poetic beauty of Byron's work.

The series ends with BETA Finale (May 26, 9.30pm) which will see Berlin's Mica Moca collective and Eastern Scratch Showcase performers creating a new piece.

? All shows take place at Norwich Puppet Theatre. Full details of events can be found at www.nnfestival.org.uk