Bedlam Fair

Bedlam – It’s Great Outdoors

Watching films from the festivals in the early 1970s, it’s obvious that taking the festival to the streets, to outdoor spaces, to the people where they were rather than hidden away in an obscure room or out-of-the-way park, was a big part of the idea then, and it still is for us now. Whether it’s work made for the streets, or artists from indoors trying it out outside, it’s something very important to us. We wish we could do more but gathering it all together into a few concentrated sessions like Bedlam weekend makes it easier to relate to. So on Sunday in Saw Close and Kingsmead Square, and on a slightly reduced scale on Saturday in Southgate & Brunel Square (by the Railway Station) it’ll be art on the pavements in the fullest sense. We’re also sending some of our performers to Bath Festival’s Finale weekend on the Recreation Ground.

Back in the day, of course, there wasn’t much training in outdoor arts. You joined a company and worked it out as you went along, Nowadays, to the benefit of both the artists and their work, there is training, there are college courses: but after those are over the artists are still a bit out on their own. This is where Bath Fringe’s Arts Council funded New Work Works programme steps in. A dozen of the acts that you will see this weekend have had their new shows reviewed and re-focussed by experts in the field (there are plenty of those in the SouthWest) and workshopped together – and come Bedlam we will see the new improved versions hit the streets for the first time (and the help doesn’t stop there but continues on into the summer). We are very pleased to welcome back previous visitors Curious Company, Mimbre, Rost Productions, Jon Hicks, but there are also new-to-us and very local companies we are looking forward to just as much. The dedicated Bedlam leaflet and website will tell you all about all of them nearer the time. We also welcome new pieces from Mufti Games (definitely a joining-in one there) and an acrobatic exploration of parking rage from Tangled Feet.

If you’re interested in Outdoor & Street Arts you will also be interested in:

• Outside Now project’s 2 pieces on Sunday June 9th
• Walcot Arts Weekend’s day of films of early festivals and other events (The Bell, also June 9th)
• The Brilliant or Bonkers? exhibition about the history of counterculture festivals in Bath
• Our symposium on the 50 year development of outdoor arts, September 28th.
• The forthcoming 50th Birthday of the Natural Theatre – celebrating all year from this summer to next – see their website (at some point).
• Toby Gascoyne’s The History Game (June 3-5, see page 25)

• The Hot Potato Syncopators (June 1, page 23)

Bedlam Fair 2019

Opening Party, Friday May 31 Green Park Station, 9pm, with Camo Clave
Saturday June 1 Southgate & Brunel Square, 1-5pm
Sunday June 2 SawClose, Kingsmead Square, and around, 1-6pm.