So what do you do when you’ve made the brilliant decision NOT to have children and then, at age 35, you find yourself pregnant? Answers on a postcard, please. A mischievous look at the existential crisis of motherhood. Award-winning Popelei return to the stage to take you on an exhilarating journey through the guilt and the glory of one woman going her own way. Featuring blisteringly honest confessions, vibrant dance theatre and one extremely knocked up performer.

“Simply brilliant.”

“A hilarious, moving, tragic and heart-warming piece of theatre…one not to be missed.”
★★★★★ Three Weeks on Manuelita

“A wonderful, warm performance that will have you leaving on a high.”
★★★★ The Stage on Manuelita

Popelei is an arts organisation based in Bristol. We make award-winning performance work which we tour across the UK and Latin America. We produce The Popelei Naked Podcast and curate new alternative arts festival PAPAYA Fest. We were awarded the Three Weeks Editors Award (Top Ten Shows of the Fringe), were runner- up two years in year at the LUKAS Awards for Best Theatre Production and were shortlisted for the Naseem Khan Commission.

Age restriction: 14+ (contains strong language and adult themes)
Running Time: 55 mins (no interval)

The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People

In Treherbert Rugby Club amongst the fag smoke and the singing, Rhys’s parents fell in love. Rhys has never fallen in love but heard it’s a nice thing to do because that’s what his Mam said. It’s in her diary. And Rhys has read it all.

Award-winning performance artist Rhys Slade-Jones takes their audience to the hot sweaty summer of 1977. By reading his Mam’s diary, Rhys explores the claustrophobic, nosey, loving, loud, beautiful community of the Rhondda Valley, and tells us why dancing in the same spot your parents met is pretty bloody cool. Expect great legs, a one-man pantomime horse and a good ol’ fashioned singalong.

“Natural performer and adept storyteller… Raw, at times aggressive, but always heartfelt.”
★★★★★ Edinburgh Festival Mag

“Truthful, friendly, authentic.. Land of My Fathers is a tender and communal experience which definitely shouldn’t be missed.”
★★★★★ Voice Magazine

“A highly enjoyable hour in the company of a very funny man.”
★★★★ British Theatre.com

“He’s an easy-going performer, always ready with a raised eyebrow and a knowing look.”
★★★★ The Stage

Rhys Slade-Jones is a bold emerging queer artist from South Wales, cross-disciplinary working through theatre, cabaret and craft. Rhys learnt tits and teeth showman ship from pub singers and psychic mediums. Rhys’ performances tread the line between cozy and confrontational, making work that’s fun, silly and full of heart. Expect singalongs, stripping and the best legs west of the Severn Bridge.

Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)

Father Figurine

Combining poignant spoken word poetry with hip hop dance, Father Figurine explores the fractured relationship between a father and his son and their inability to healthily deal with a traumatic event. Will they be able to share their emotions with each other? Or will they fall into the statistic of nearly half of men believing they can’t express their feelings?

With the current climate of mental health discussion, Father Figurine talks about the fragilities and vulnerabilities in men and young boys. Figures show young people are affected disproportionately with over half of mental health problems, starting by the age of 14 and 75% by 18. Body Politic’s work isn’t just about raising awareness. It’s a fight to keep mental healthcare at the tip of our tongues and affect real change. Continuous change.

“Physical struggle dissolved into a closing moment of hope – but this was a profoundly visceral reflection of the damage wrought by suppressed emotions and masculine silence.”
The Place

“The failure of fathers has been handed down for generations… but his young son is already watching, learning by imitation, reaching out less, hardening. Father Figurine is a powerful show, profound, painful and full of empathy. Stereotypical ideas about masculinity and male behaviour are stubborn but it will be up to this generation to challenge them.”
Mark Aspen Reviews

“So important and powerful. Heart-gripping!”
Audience Feedback

Founded in Oxford in 2012, Body Politic creates thought-provoking and poignant hip hop theatre work addressing the needs and issues of young people. Their work targets young people and artists from priority groups including, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, gender, young offenders, and those excluded from accessing

Running Time: 55 mins (no interval)

The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a shared dialogue amongst the collaborators about queerness, inclusion and playfulness in a political climate of adversity, austerity and commercialism. The Major Arcana’s pieces explore the tarot cards’ themes; anxiety, ecology, sexuality, gender, freedom, love.

The host performers, Tom Marshman, and special guest Timberlina (on the 11th Dec) will select one audience member for a tarot reading of their past, present and future cards. Their future card is a bespoke, performed cabaret experience, creating a vivid spectacle for the wider audience.

The Major Arcana lasts for an hour and a half, with readings working in 10 minute cycles, with performances from Corali Dance Company, Impermanence and host performers. The aesthetic of this “game show” varies greatly from raggle-taggle charm to a refined visual spectacle.

Originally devised for Latitude Festival by Impermanence, Tim Redfern and Tom Marshman

Ruby Wax

Running Time: 90 mins

The Bearpit

The night is young.
The world is ending.
The relationship is exploding.

Publicly, Flora and Nic are the perfect couple. Privately, they haven’t spoken to each other in months. As the Glaciers melt and the rain begins to fall, they’ve got one night to settle the scores. One of them is going to crack. The Bearpit interrogates what we tell ourselves to be true versus the reality raging beneath the surface. Utilising and contrasting text and movement, the show is investigation into what happens when a community stops talking to each other.

“Brilliantly co-written… like a firework going off in your face.”
Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

“A deeply atmospheric piece of theatre, achieved with style.”
Broadway Baby

“A stunning debut.”
730 Review

Kopfkino is the collaboration between Flora Marston and Nic McQuillan. We tell stories about what it means to be part of our generation, and the juxtapositions of living in a polarised society. Our work burrows down into the cracks between public and private; real and unreal. It is inherently autobiographical.

Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)

Dirty Words

Exploring the filth, fun and aftertaste of our everyday interactions, Dirty Words is a humorous, intellectual, visceral experience that leaves you contemplating your own individual modes and forms of communication.

A crash landing of self-expression, communication, humour, action and reaction through live music, dance, theatre and digital media. This visual monologue questions the physical, verbal, facial, tonal, nuanced way we talk to the world. An exploration and debate of music and movement that rebounds, vibrates, clashes, reacts and challenges each other in the same space, just as our words do.

A music and dance duet with dancer, Grace Clayton (Grace Clayton Dance, Cheap Date) and multi-instrumentalist, Seamas Carey (Kneehigh, Wildworks) created with associate director Kyla Goodey (Trifle Gathering, Kneehigh, Wildworks). The work, through the use of subtitles and sign language, explores modes of accessibility to a deaf and hard of hearing audience.

“Hilarious and energetic and didn’t require you to lie afterwards pretending you understood the concept.”
Memegirls on Cheap Date’s How We Lost It

“A life affirming performance – amazing. Blown away again by the talent of Cheap Date Dance…. effortlessly brilliant!”
Audience Member on Cheap Date’s Little Women Big Balls

“Captures something essential and honest.”
Roy Campbell-Moore, National Dance Company Wales

“Fresh, fast and flipping funny.”
Kirsty Cotton, Talent Development Office HFC

Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)

Lovely Girls

Chess and Cristina are The Hiccup Project, a comedic dance-­theatre company. People commonly refer to them as ‘the lovely Hiccup girls.’ It’s got them thinking… It’s been 100 years since (some) women got the vote. This was a (bit of a) step towards gender equality, but how liberated are women today?

After diving into the world of romance and heartbreak in critically acclaimed multi-­award winning May-­We-­Go-­Round?, Cristina and Chess explore what it means to be a young woman in brand new show Lovely Girls.

As little women, and through their teen years, they were fed fairy tales, stories and images full of the idealized woman; beautiful, sweet, passive, lovely. Now, they are 27. They are feminists. They’ve read lots of books, had tons of conversations, and are feeling empowered. Yet they still find themselves on Google asking; “I feel good when an attractive man compliments me, am I still a feminist?” Chess and Cristina open up the confusing pot of contradictions, clichés and expectations, that face women today; Have lots of sex and be sexy, but not too much. Strive for a good career, but make time for everyone else. Have curves, but don’t be fat. Be assertive, but not bossy… Blimey!

Lovely Girls meanders through real women’s stories using The Hiccup Project’s potent blend of dance, theatre and comedy. It is an insight, a celebration and an ode to being a woman in the 21st Century. A show made by women for women and men, and everyone, regardless of gender.

WINNER – Outstanding Theatre Award, Brighton Fringe 2015
WINNER – South East Dance Award, Brighton Fringe 2015
WINNER – Pebble Trust Brighton Fringe Award 2015
NOMINATED – Audience Choice Award, Brighton Fringe 2015

“Physical comedy and dance are stupendous companions when they work – and Chess and Cristina have the energy and the intelligence to make it work.”
★★★★★ Fringe Guru

“Theatre and dance that throws custard pies at convention. Outstanding.”
★★★★★ Fringe Review

“Comparable to French and Saunders… their work defies theatrical convention in every sense.”
★★★★ Miro Magazine

“Men will laugh from their very core… in a story every woman can relate to.”
★★★★ Total Theatre (on May-We-Go-Round?)

Image: Paul Seaby
Ages 12+
Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)