News: Theatre Peckham launches Peckham Fringe

Theatre Peckham have launched the Peckham Fringe bringing an exciting new festival to South London this May. Across 5 weeks, 27 visiting companies will take over the main theatre and studio space. The programme grapples with important and timely issues including the experience of a Black transgender immigrant in NO ID, the challenges of mental health in Anybody of Water, the impact of society on our vulnerabilities in true story Sunny Side Up and Black freedom on British soil in The Pocket. There’s also fun for all the family with works such as Errol’s Garden. With theatre, spoken word, live music, multi-media performances and live cooking on-stage, Peckham Fringe offers a smorgasbord of live entertainment as we once again embrace all that theatre can offer.

Suzann McLean (she/her), Artistic Director/ CEO of Theatre Peckham comments, I am blown away by the fantastic multidisciplinary, intergenerational, intersectionality of this festival. From African Myth to South American theatre through food to the Moon and back again, Peckham Fringe celebrates the UK’s cultural communities and champions them centre-stage.

Included in the Peckham Fringe programme are a series of events curated by Theatre Peckham, called Fringe Features, including a New Writing Scratch Night, Black Musical Theatre Night, Comedy Night, Music Night, and an In Conversation with.

A combination of verbatim and epic theatre, It’s Not Rocket Science is inspired by interviews with over twenty female aerospace professionals relaying their experiences navigating a male-dominated industry. A powerful and vulnerable female exploration about food, the kitchen, and looking after oneself as a woman, Eating Myself offers a communal South American experience through cooking on stage. Can I Call You Back? is a coming-of-age comedy exploring visible auto-immune disorders, female body image and overcoming all kinds of grief.

NO ID tells the story of a transgender immigrant in the UK using live music to show us what it takes to validate Black and queer identities in the eyes of the law. Based on a true story, Sunny Side Up explores how society tries our vulnerability and how our environments can shape our masculinity as young Black boys. Set in London in 1772, a street singer, high class courtesan, man of letter and young dandy help lay the foundations of Black freedom on British soil in The Pocket. The latest instalment in The Voices of Black Folk in Unexpected Places, a series dedicated to shining a light on the forgotten rich history of Black voices across the UK and Europe looks at those including the Roman emperor Septimius Severus and Britain’s first Black Queen Philippa of Hainault. PlayFight examines the corrosive way in which racism determines the direction Black lives take, looking at two best friends and how things have started to get more complicated.

SLUMLORD is a work in development looking at Notting Hill in 1966 when the reign of the slum landlords ended but many were paying a punishing price. Set in a dystopian future in which censorship rules, The Underground Society for the Preservation of Human Kind uses pop, folk and soul music to tell the stories of those who have been silenced. Is it too late for their voices to be heard?

Bones tackles the effects of mental health, its implications and our support networks. A journey of self-discovery exploring the internal battle of self-acceptance in a turbulent world, Anybody of Water from Theatre Peckham’s Resident Company explores the challenges of mental health, and contemporary living in a meditative multi-media journey. Hayfever is a dark comedy which considers how living by different cultural rules can eventually alter feelings and alienate you from a country which you thought you were part of. From his underlying desire to reconnect with his loved ones and a need to express himself before it’s too late, Before I Go is about finding your voice through spoken word, movement and song. While in The Recollection of Tony Ward, Tony decides to refuse self-pity and embrace his life following his divorce.

In this Jekyll and Hyde fantasy, Life’s A Drag introduces us to Maxine, an awkward queer teenager desperately trying to suppress the other personality that lives inside of them. A one human show merging spoken word poetry, stand-up comedy and music, Playing Latinx takes us through the journey of constructing a wholly new identity whilst figuring out a place in the UK theatre scene. The cheekiest coming of age story you didn’t know you needed to see: You Can’t Understand is a journey of Barbz, besties and bad gyal business!

A bittersweet story of love, climate change and people power, Breaking News considers what happens when a couple have different strong-minded views on the world. In Away from Home, the damaged fates of three lost girls intertwine as they wait for the moon to eventually guide them home.

The Message in the Clay River is a tale of African Mythology, riddled with the eternally relevant themes that rule the human minds-those of love, identity, and destiny. Oriente Plus/Power Cut is a story about the things that keep us together, even when the world tears us apart, a story about poetry, music and culture and about the haunted bodies and dancing souls of the Caribbean people. The Great Barbecue seeks to save the African spirit so that future generations may never forget their roots.

Comedy An Investigation includes the basics of B.F. Skinner’s theory of radical behaviourism, and potential new applications of this theory driven by data science as well as transhumanism, novelty t shirts, TV’s ‘The Masked Singer’, supermarkets, determinism, CAPTCHAs, Taylor Swift and the debate over free will (which it will solve once and for all). PISS AND BILE follows two women navigating the monotony of working in the service industry and the frustrating customers they encounter; can their friendship survive in a world that fosters apathy, complacency and cruelty? An interactive musical for audiences aged 3-11 and their grownups, Errol’s Garden is filled with catchy songs, big ideas and a passion for plants. Skate of Mind Live creates a world of music, culture, and good vibes on wheels, as audiences are invited to bring their roller skates as Roll Jiggy brings their skate jam to Peckham.

Phillippe Cato (he/him), Associate Director at Theatre Peckham, comments, I am buzzing that Theatre Peckham is presenting the very first season of Peckham Fringe this spring with productions across both the Main Theatre and Studio spaces. We have 28 brilliant visiting company productions with many of the artists and companies being new to us at Theatre Peckham following a callout for submissions at the start of the year. Curating the very first programme of Peckham Fringe has been an absolute pleasure. I was very intentional in programming a festival that feels representative of Southwark, including more global majority and queer work and provides offers to engage more audiences across multiple age groups. I’m thrilled that there’s such a variety on offer and can’t wait to welcome audiences, new and existing to the building to experience it all soon.

Peckham Fringe is proudly sponsored by Gareth James, Estate Agency who said Gareth James is a family owned estate agency that has been active in the Peckham, Nunhead and Camberwell property market since 1994. We are proud of our local community and understand the importance of its culture, diversity and creativity, which is why we are excited to sponsor Peckham Fringe festival this spring.

Peckham Fringe runs from 2 May until 5 June 2022.

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