I’m sitting at the back of a crowded studio theatre in the Roundhouse and it’s suddenly dawned on me what a significant talk I’ve just walked into. For one thing it’s being live streamed across the world, for another there is a man on one side of me who worked with Pina Bausch for twenty years and another on the other side of me who graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1958. The company is as diverse as it is intimidating. This debate, involving the head of the Arts Council and Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC), is part of a much bigger and yet refreshingly unpretentious event.
…something pretty exiting has emerged by accident, almost.
In a city tarnished with arts and educational cuts, at the forefront of tomorrow’s theatre something pretty exiting has emerged by accident, almost. A few years ago a few students having nowhere to showcase their work decided to club together and show it all at one time and in one place, and thus an Accidental Festival was created. Having found a home last year at Battersea Arts Centre it has now moved back to the Roundhouse where it has been in previous years. Years on, the festival has accidentally turned into something quite profound.
Many of the events are free and anyone can apply to perform with no charge for a space, like in other bigger festivals. This means that emerging artists, individuals and companies, old and young, can showcase their talent amongst some of the biggest names in new and contemporary theatre. The program combines everything from youth theatre to rehearsed readings to sell out performances from Forced Entertainment, Seven Sisters and Future Shorts.
What it is, in my opinion, that makes this festival truly valuable is that it is run by people who still retain a fresh passion for the arts; having nothing but the determination, creativity and sheer resilience that is needed to create something out of nothing in these dark times.
The Accidental Festival runs until Sunday 22 May.