02/08/2017

Frameshift Build Up

Towering over the river is the stage for the greatest time travelling spectacle of the year. Yep, I said it; this is even bigger than the latest Dr Who announcement. The stage is of course for the opening night of SIRF and performers from Korea and Australia will be swinging around it to entertain us all come Thursday night in a performance they call Frameshift. I’d definitely recommend you come down to see it, especially after the fun we had when we paid them a visit this afternoon.

The structure is huge. Honestly, don’t underestimate the size of this performance. The scaffolding didn’t look like anything other than, well, a tall piece of scaffolding until Rick from Stalker Theatre started running around the outside of it. Seriously impressive stuff. Despite a little bit of liquid sunshine during our visit, performers from both groups were in high spirits, telling us of their excitement to perform and showing us a few of the tricks they had up their sleeve. They didn’t give a lot away, so if you’re looking for spoilers I am afraid I don’t have any, however, I’ll do my best to explain the act a little more – hopefully doing it justice whilst I do!

Basically, Frameshift is a collaboration between an Australian physical theatre company and a Korean vertical performance group, as well as a Korean B-boy (which is breakdancing for those like me that aren’t up to date with the lingo) group that aim to show us Korea in 1926, 2016 and 2106 – see, time travel!! They will use aerial rigs to move around the scaffolding that will be lit up by interactive video technology and honestly, I can’t wait.

Another SIRF Correspondent, Adam Loraine, interviewed the Stage Director at the set this afternoon and wrote up this quick interview to give us a snippet of life behind the scenes.

Q. Mike can you tell us anything about Thursday night’s performance?
A. “Well we’re trying to keep things quiet until the opening of the festival, but we have performed Frameshift in Seoul (South Korea) earlier this year. This piece is a co-production between us at Stalker Theatre in Australia and Creative Dandi and others from South Korea. Expect B-boying, an impressive lighting rig and aerial rigs throughout!”

Q. How long have Stalker Theatre been putting on performances such as this?
A. “Stalker Theatre has been together since the 1980’s, so that’s 30+ years of physical theatre that’s been shown around the world. I’ve been with the group since 2008. Frameshift specifically has been toured at 3 Korean festivals this year, and the performance is exclusive to SIRF and Stockton in the UK. We’re planning on taking it to Poland next year and then creating a different project entirely for China in December.”

Q. How long does it take to plan a performance like Frameshift?
A. “Between the whole team Frameshift took around 4 months to plan and sort out the logistics for, which seems like a lot of time for a small amount of performances. Thankfully we didn’t have to bring all of the equipment to the UK with us as it was a company in Newcastle that created the material and scaffold needed for the performance – all we needed to do was build it. It’s funny to think we’ve got a huge structure with us and all I’ve brought from Australia is my suitcase!”

The air of mystery surrounding this act makes it very exciting and the sheer size of it doubles that excitement again. It is going to be one heck of a start to SIRF so make sure you head down to the Riverside on Thursday night at 10pm to see it for yourself. As always, keep up to date with us on social media to find out more from the festival, and of course some backstage gossip!

Jess Hugill
SIRF Correspondent

27/07/2017

Now, I have to admit that I love a good party – don’t you agree? Good because I have some great news for you: this is your official invite to the best birthday party of the year and guess what, it’s only a week away!

SIRF is turning 30 and Stockton is the venue for the biggest celebration of them all, with something for everyone and a whole weekend of fun you just can’t afford to miss out. There will be entertainment for both kids and the big kids alike, those who enjoy the artistic things in life and those that like to live in virtual reality. It’s going to be bigger and better than we’ve seen before and I for one can’t wait!

Luckily, I don’t have to and neither do you. As an early gift to us all, SIRF will be delivering taster sessions to get us in to the party spirit with short performances from acts around the world in various locations right here in Stockton. I’ll eat my party hat if you can tell me another time you’ll get the chance to see a giant hippopotamus puppet wandering through Thornaby Town Centre or people with stereos for heads dancing around Ingleby Barwick – only during SIRF!

There’s more from where that came from too! You could also head to Preston Park to see if you can find the Bee Cart wandering around or to Norton High Street where some British Bobbies will be making a pretty big impact!

Now, SIRF would be nothing without the people of Stockton turning out to celebrate together. I am so proud to live here and be part of such a great community which is why I am very excited about one treat in particular. As a nod to the arts and the people of Stockton, we can get involved!! We’re all invited to head down to Billingham Town Centre to take part in a community art project where anyone of any age can start the festival by making their own mark, quite literally!

All of these events are taking place on Saturday 29th July and have no price tag attached to them! For more information on timings and location, visit the SIRF Roadshow page on their website and make sure you come and be part of what is going to be one big, bright birthday bash!

I’d love for you to share your SIRF experiences with me and the rest of the team on social media (we’re on it all!) and of course, keep coming back to this page to hear more about what is going on near you!

Let’s get the party started!

Jess Hugill – SIRF Correspondent

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