The Theatre and Circus (T&C) office is purring like a well oiled machine at full throttle, and after months of careful planning and more time spent at computer terminals than is probably healthy, we can finally reveal some of the acts and attractions we have in store for you lucky people this year. It’s time to name some names and make some claims!
Let’s take it one field as a time. Glebeland, which we like to think of as our Theatre Field, will now be kicking off on the Thursday afternoon with walkabout acts, music, mayhem and much, much more.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on a chance to climb up our new and improved Tor View Lookout, which offers a unique perspective on the festival and stunning views westward down the vale of Avalon and onward to Glastonbury Tor.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, the Lookout becomes the venue for one of the most elaborate outdoor shows we have ever staged. With the help of Arts Council England we are putting together a sound and light spectacular like nothing we’ve done before, featuring 21st century technology, daring aerial acrobatics and good old fashion vaudevillian delivery.
Glebeland is also the home of one of our largest tented venues, the Astrolabe Theatre, which this year plays host to, amongst others, American stage hypnotist The SandMan, Vou Dance Fiji, direct from the South Pacific, a new stage adaptation of Vivian Stanshall’s Sir Henry at Rawlingson End and Marcus Du Sautoy, who this year offers you the chance to win one million dollars if you can solve a mathematical conundrum. Bring your thinking cap!
Across the way is our Summer House stage with its floral motif and garden setting. Resplendent with deckchair seating and adjoining cocktail bar, there could be no better way to relax and enjoy some of the best in dance, theatre and family entertainment around.
Next up we have the Circus Field where you’re sure to see sights that will take your breath away and question your belief in the laws of physics. We welcome back the originator of acrobatic sword swallowing, Aerial Manx from Australia, whose daring backflips and tumbles are slick enough alone to warrant rousing applause, but when he does them with a 16-inch sword down his throat it’s just downright scary!
Catch him in our 3,000 capacity Circus Big Top which offers one of the best selections of national and international artists assembled anywhere. From award-wining companies like Pirates of the Carabina, to super-talented individuals like Yvette duSol and Eric McGill, the level of skill and dedication on display here is quite simply jaw dropping.
The Outside Circus Stage is a cauldron of delight where you can sit back and enjoy nonstop acts from all over the world, including world street performing champions The Flying Dutchmen, the unique escapology of Tianna the Traveller (if ratchet straps had been available in Houdini’s day, he would have done this act) and Canadian juggler and raconteur, Bill Ferguson, who will once more prove that it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it.
The field itself offers you a chance to have a go yourself at some of the class circus acts. Try your hand at juggling, soar like a bird on the flying trapeze or find your inner balance on the tightwire.
One of the highlights of the 2013 festival was the Cardboard Tower; a participatory art installation designed and led by renowned French architectural artist, Oliver Grossetette. It was so successful and so much fun that we have invited him back once again to create a full size replica of St Michael’s Tower, which has stood atop Glastonbury Tor for over five hundred years. We’ll need your help to assemble over 1,300 cardboard boxes in the run up to construction, so please come and give us a hand in the blue and white marquee next to the flying trapeze.
Head over the Whitelake River via Bella’s bridge and you will pass the Pissing Pillory. Yep, we are taking it seriously this year. If you’re caught short, don’t be tempted to take a tinkle in the bushes; use the loos. Those found with their trousers down will be hauled to the pillory and pelted with sponges soaked in warm and yellow Worthy justice.
Moving swiftly “onward and upward” as Arabella Churchill used to say, we now find ourselves in the field that bears her name. Featuring the Cabaret Tent, Poetry&Words, The Sensation Seekers Stage and our little late-night gem Mavericks, Bella’s Field certainly offers its fair share of stellar entertainment, household names, spoken word artists and some of the best late night entertainment around.
More familiar names on show are Josh Widdicombe, Professor Brian Cox, Shazia Mirza, Ross Noble, Shappi Khorsandi, John Hegley and Stephen K Amos, but there is a wealth of other extraordinary things to see and do. Mornings start with the world’s largest game of Twister and the nights end with our own favourite game show, Wheel of Four Tunes. In between, you can enjoy some of the best in beat poetry, slams and intelligent prose, try your hand at the Charleston, get your hands dirty helping to create a model of the Festival in clay, or simply lounge in a hammock and watch this crazy world we have created, pass you by.