Bedfringe 2021 Interview: An Evening With The 2 Toms

“As well as being just round the corner from my house, Bedfringe has always been a great festival to be involved in. James and the team are an absolute joy to work with.”

WHO: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq: Performer

WHAT: “Join viral star Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. and London cabaret virtuoso Tom Carradine for an evening of sing-along-fun and musical humour! You can expect plenty of laughter, raucous audience participation and, if you’re lucky, they may even play a song or 2 together!”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 22 July 2022 @ 19:00 (60mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

This is my 3rd Bedfringe (Thomas B. Wild Esq) but it will be Tom Carradine’s first. I have not done a full show in the main theatre before (on other years I’ve performed in the garden or bar) so this will be my 1st time doing that. As well as being just round the corner from my house, Bedfringe has always been a great festival to be involved in. James and the team are an absolute joy to work with and make the whole experience very easy. There is always a diverse range of acts and the venue(s) are offer great facilities for producers, performers and punters alike.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

Since my last visit to Bedfringe, I finally managed to finish my 2020 tour (I had lots of re-scheduled shows) and I managed to record a new album of original songs which came out just before Christmas. 2022 has been mostly focused on arranging shows and making connections with other artists. To be honest it’s been a bit of a whirlwind now that we’re able to play in front of actual audiences again and I haven’t really had time to think! I have got a lot better at recording music in my home studio (spare room) though! Tom Carradine has been continuing his online shows but has also been able get back to in person gigs (and has even found the time to record piano and accordion for some of my album tracks!) We’ve even been discussing the prospect of some international shows, if this all goes well!

Tell us about your show.

This will only be the 2nd time we’ve performed this show together! The best way of describing it is raucous, sing-along fun. Tom C’s part of the show consists of songs that everybody will know (and the lyrics will be on hand just in case) and my part half is perfect for after those interval drinks! The suggestion for us to combine forces came from GetYourCoatsOn’s very own Dan Lentell, so we hope he’s happy with himself (and he’d better write us a good review!)

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

I’m looking forward to so many acts this year! Of course, Dave Alnwick is always excellent as are Marcel Lucont and Luke Kempner, and I discovered the hilarious Shelf comedy online last year so I look forward to seeing them live. There is also the fabulous Coor Brow Obles on the garden stage again, as well as all the acts being put on for the Blender takeover. So much great stuff to see on my doorstep! I will have to try and convince Tom Carradine stick around for a bit!


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Max Fulham: “Is It Just Me?”

“To be in the lovely Quarry Theatre with a room full of people and sharing laughs was very special.”

WHO: Max Fulham: performer

WHAT: “When Max’s parents bought their nine-year-old son a puppet for Christmas they were not expecting him to become a full-time ventriloquist!

Returning after his successful show in 2021, Max Fulham brings his hilarious show combining stand-up and skilful ventriloquism to Bedfringe 2022. With television appearances including ITV’s ‘Game Of Talents’ and viral success on TikTok, Max brings the traditional art of ventriloquism bang up to date.”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 30 July 2022 @ 14:00 (60mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

This is my second time at BedFringe after performing there last year. I had a really great time and it was one of those magical shows that survived amongst pandemic chaos. To be in the lovely Quarry Theatre with a room full of people and sharing laughs was very special. Really looking forward to coming back this year with some brand new things and maybe a puppet debut or two. Oh did I mention I’m a ventriloquist? Should probably have given that context earlier otherwise you would have thought I’m just some guy with puppets… suppose I am that too though- but in a funny comedy way, not a lonely, are-they-replacements-for-real-friends kind of way!

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

It has been a busy year so far performing everywhere from comedy clubs to cruise ships! There was one week of gigging recently where I clocked up over 1500 miles in my car (which is more than the Proclaimers covered on foot). I’ve also been busy creating #content for social media too. It’s very fun firing out my silly videos into the internet for people to enjoy. This year I also performed my first solo show in London’s West End, but that’s just showing off now!

Tell us about your show.

My show is what happens when old-school variety meets modern-day stand-up. Some people switch off when they hear ventriloquism but cast your Summertime Special and creepy dummy thoughts aside and come along as I introduce you to my various puppet characters, including my own Grandad, and we will have a great laugh.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

I wish I was around for more of the BedFringe!! There are so many good shows on! I would love to see Katie Pritchard with her show Disco Ball on 24th as I am yet to see her perform live but love the clips I have seen online. I’d also love to see The First Broadcast: The Battle for the Beeb in 1922 by the superb Paul Kerensa. And thirdly, because three is a neat number, I would definitely go and see ‘Charlie Russell Aims To Please’ as I am such a huge fan of Mischief Theatre’s work.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Olaf Falafel: STOAT

“Did I mention I’m the three-year holder of the Edinburgh Festival Funniest Joke?”

WHO: Olaf Falafel: Star!

WHAT: “Olaf Falafel is the holder of ‘Dave’s Best Joke Of The Fringe’ but more importantly he is also the holder of ‘Person Whose Show Description You Are Currently Reading And Are Tempted To Book Tickets For’.”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 22 July 2022 @ 20:00 (60mins)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

It’s not, I think it may be my fourth. Bedfringe is always a really warm supportive crowd, perfect for when some of the stuff I’m trying might not necessarily be 100% yet. They’re a comedy-savvy crowd and I’m not just saying that to butter up my audience members!

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff – making art videos for kids on YouTube, illustrating kids books, making comedy videos, writing children’s books – I’m like Little Britain’s Dennis Waterman (RIP)

Tell us about your show.

Well, it’s a mixture of stupid jokes, (did I mention I’m the three-year holder of the Edinburgh Festival Funniest Joke?), audience interaction, weird videos and a very loose thread running through it about my cat.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

I’m actually going to be heading straight off for a quick holiday straight after my show but I’d love to have been able to catch Matt Winning’s Hot Mess. Matt is equal parts funny, talented and intelligent, his show is all about climate change and it is going to be really good.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Chelsea Birkby: No More Mr Nice Chelsea

“As a comic, I love a fringe where you can feel that something is in town when you arrive!”

WHO: Chelsea Birkby

ROLE IN THE PRODUCTION: Star 😉

HAT: “Chelsea Birkby: No More Mr Nice Chelsea is the debut hour from “rising star” Ox in a Box, “one to watch” Funny Women and multi-competition finalist, Chelsea Birkby.

It’s about accepting the things about ourselves that aren’t so lovely, and includes the perks of having a breakdown in your early 20s.”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 22 July 2022 @ 19:30 (55mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

It’s my first time at Bedfringe. I’m excited as my sister and her family live in Bedfordshire and I’d visit all the time from Milton Keynes as a teen (fond memories of Bedford Nandos and Primark, huge to me at that age). The one-way system was overwhelming for me and my P plates after MK’s roundabouts. A great festival is one with a selection of acts from TV stars to up-and-comers, where you can see stand-up and sketch and clown and anything else. As a comic, I love a fringe where you can feel that something is in town when you arrive! And although the shows might be in studios and tucked away, you can feel something special is happening.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, being older or years of therapy but I’ve felt a real change in 2022. I care a little less what people think and I feel something new is blossoming: I feel more present, more resilient. And it’s changed the show, I previously wanted to do a show about sexual shame and philosophy but after the lockdowns (and a trip to clown school in Paris), this one is sillier and more honest. Also, I’ve really got into iced buns. That’s not part of the show but just, why are they so good, it’s so simple!

Tell us about your show.

No More Mr Nice Chelsea is an hour of stand-up where we’ll explore what it is to be ‘nice’ and when it’s time to stop. Looking at where being lovely comes from and the things polite people don’t talk about like sex, drugs and rock n roll (well, Nickelback). It’s a show for anyone who’s ever been afraid of their wild side and what happens when we hold it in…and let it out. Come if you say sorry too much, love philosophy and pop culture, and like your comedy playful and thoughtful. My first preview got this review from Oxford’s DailyInfo “Chelsea’s show crackled with energy and ambition…what was most admirable was the performer’s willingness to skirt easy laughs and handle more challenging subjects. It may just be April but it felt like we witnessed a potentially big hit when this show reaches its final destination…Brimming with talent, sure to go far.”

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

Bedfringe is teeming with incredible shows from brilliant artists. My advice is to go and see things you’ve never heard of as well as your faves. Personally, I can recommend Phil Green’s show (we’ve both been developing our shows with support from Soho Theatre), Shelf are fantastic and always have been, Louise Atkinson is one to watch, Katie Pritchard is one of the most joyful performers, I’ve seen every show Jacob Hawley has done and look up to him, Michael Akadiri’s debut is very exciting and my top recommendation is Eric Rushton’s first hour, there’s no one like him on the circuit, he’s brilliant.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Just So Stories

“Audiences have been slow to come back, but with vaccines and boosters, more people feel comfortable in crowds. But we have also had the time to dream and plan about future projects to share on both sides of the Atlantic.”

WHO: Bob Paisley: Producer/performer

WHAT: “Three of Rudyard Kipling’s classic ‘Just So’ children’s stories are brought to life in a joint production between Central Standard Theatre in Kansas City and Blackout Theatre Company in Bedford. Starring both American and local British actors and with live percussion and sound effects, these stories will delight and entertain children of all ages (and their grown-ups!)”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 24 & 25 July 2022 @ VARIES (60mins)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

Nope. I played John Clancy’s The Event at Bedfringe in 2013? However, I first started coming to Bedford in 2010, bringing several shows over the years… Driving Miss Daisy, The Zoo Story and Bill Clinton Hercules were all presented at The Place. Bedford has always shown itself a fantastic theatre town… patrons willing to take a chance on something as strange as a theatre company from America’s Heartland. The talented group of local artists that I’ve grown to know have become fast friends and the cultural exchange is never boring.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

Actually, the pandemic restricted much of my work both with touring and home stage. After being shuttered for almost 2 years, we finally resumed KC production in September of 2021. It’s been a challenge to remember how to do what we do. Audiences have been slow to come back, but with vaccines and boosters, more people feel comfortable in crowds. But we have also had the time to dream and plan about future projects to share on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tell us about your show.

This version of the Just So Stories has been around since 2005. My co-conspirator, John Story, adapted three of the fables for the inaugural Kansas City Fringe. John is a Sound Designer and engineer by trade and the production features percussion and sound effects to enhance the story. Each of the three stories features a Narrator, of course, as well as a menagerie of characters using Yank and Brit performers. Our sister company, Blackout Theatre Bedford, led by David Baxter, is partnering with us to present the show at Bedfringe. Joining me and John Story onstage will be local actors Natalie Částka, Elizabeth Thomas, Verity Moore, Matt Baker and percussionist Matt Hodge.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

KIN – Blackout Theatre’s other fringe offering. Lissy Malt and Julie Blunt in the show. I can’t wait to watch my Brit friends play two American sisters from my part of the world. No Pressure.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Louise Atkinson: Mates

“…if a watermelon exists, does that also imply there is such a thing as a firemelon? airmelon? earth melon? and are all of those melons going to come together to help us?”

WHO: Louise Atkinson: Stand up comedian

WHAT: “You can never complete a night out with your friends unless someone has cried over their ex, you’ve all made a new best friend in the toilets that you’ll never see again, and you’ve done three laps of the bar looking for Lisa. Seriously though, where is she?”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 24 July 2022 @ 15:30 (55mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

I first performed at Bedfringe in 2019 at their opening night show, sharing the stage with some super cool acts. It must have gone well because when I came back two weeks later with my full show ‘Actual Magic’ I was grateful to find they had moved me into the main performance space because of high ticket demand.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I wouldn’t say I have absorbed any lessons, but I have found myself taking the time to dedicate my thoughts to the bigger questions in life like why has Head & Shoulders never released a body wash called ‘Knees & Toes’? And if a watermelon exists, does that also imply there is such a thing as a firemelon? airmelon? earth melon? and are all of those melons going to come together to help us? Oh, and I did learn how to make fudge. That’s useful.

Tell us about your show.

It’s about friendship, and what a vital role that plays in our lives.

For me, you can never complete a night out with your friends unless someone has cried over their ex, you’ve all made a new best friend in the toilets that you’ll never see again, and you’ve done three laps of the bar looking for Lisa. Seriously though, where is she? I do worry.

Louise’s show examines the role friendships play in our lives. We all have the same kind of friend in our life: thoughtful, energetic, vomit-over-a-bouncer after half a WKD. Our friends are our chosen family, however, do we appreciate these relationships as much as any other?

I explore that friendship forms the fundamental basis of all relationships, and how that can be amazing, but also how, when it goes wrong, friendships can break up – which are devastating, not spoken about very often, and hilarious.

Oh, and I also have a good joke about an orange. Just in case a joke can count as one of your 5 a day.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

Honestly, you are spoilt for choice, certainly comedy-wise.

Katie Pritchard is one of my all-time favourite comedians and human beings. What a combination of loveliness, silliness and talent(ness).

Adele Cliff Is literally one of the best one-liners comedians this country has to offer. Oh and the UK pun champion. You like either of those things and literally want to see who is the best at them, go see Adele.

Chelsea Birkby is so funny, charming and great to watch. She’s really smart and witty but also incredibly endearing. I love watching her.

Phil Green is an absolute top bloke and good comedian. You feel when you sit down to watch him you could just listen to him speak about anything, and I would, happily.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Bela Lugosi’s WHITE ZOMBIE

“I think festivals that manage to have a particular spirit but also provide a variety of unexpected experiences are great, and this one certainly does!”

WHO: Jason Frederick: Performer / Composer

WHAT: “Experience the very first zombie film WHITE ZOMBIE, starring the greatest horror star of all-time, BELA LUGOSI as Murder Legendre, with new original score performed live-to-picture by composer Jason Frederick.

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 25 July 2022 @ 19:00 (60mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

This is indeed my first time. I’ve been aware of Bedfringe for awhile now and really looking forward to being a part of it – I think festivals that manage to have a particular spirit but also provide a variety of unexpected experiences are great, and this one certainly does!

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I don’t know if I’ve ever absorbed any lessons at any time, to be honest, but I’m certainly still trying! In general, I’m being out in the world now, both personally and professionally – after a long period of creating things by myself that were meant to seen and heard by other people eventually (often under the lightbulb while much of the world is sleeping), the time has come to actually have them out there, which is pretty fab.

Tell us about your show.

It’s the past meeting the future in an evening of classic horror! – The main event is a screening of the 1932 gothic horror film White Zombie, starring the inimitable Bela Lugosi, accompanied by a new original score performed live-to-picture by me. Lugosi’s performance is great (I personally think it’s even better than Dracula, which he’s most famous for) and it’s got great sets, great zombies, great costumes. It’s big and over-the-top, and lots of fun, and it’s been great making a new score to go with it.

And – as if that weren’t enough – there’s also a opening short film called ‘The Vampire Bat’ (also with new music) and some scenes from a documentary about Bela Lugosi that I scored, so you’ll have definitely gotten your fill of classic horror this evening.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

Well there’s just so much to see for whatever mood you’re in – being a bit of a one-man-band when I need to be, I’m mighty interested in ‘War Of The Worlds’ (on a budget) and Dave Alnwick’s Nightmare Magic.


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: Kin

“Bedfringe is a fantastic opportunity to present work in a quality, friendly festival as well as a chance to see some brilliant acts before they head up to Edinburgh.”

WHO: David Baxter: Director

WHAT: “Two estranged sisters meet after twenty years. In a remote house in the American Midwest over a single night they try to bury the hatchet. As their dying father lies in the room next door, they’re forced to confront who they were and who they’ve become. When the only person they have left in common disappears, is their relationship worth saving?”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 28 & 29 July 2022 @ 18:30 (60mins)

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Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

This is our fourth Bedfringe show, previously performing Alan Bennett’s ‘Her Big Chance’, ‘Contractions’ and ‘Bull’ (both by Mike Bartlett).

Being a Bedford-based company, Bedfringe is a fantastic opportunity to present work in a quality, friendly festival as well as a chance to see some brilliant acts before they head up to Edinburgh.

I’m also the Front of House and Bar Manager at The Quarry as my day job, so this is very much a home gig for me!

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

This will be our first show back after lockdown. We intended to perform ‘Kin’ last year but had to postpone due illness in the cast.

Tell us about your show.

‘Kin’ is written by actor, comedian and writer Max Dickins. It’s the story of two estranged sisters who meet after twenty years. In a remote house in the American Midwest over a single night they try to bury the hatchet. As their dying father lies in the room next door, they’re forced to confront who they were and who they’ve become. When the only person they have left in common disappears, is their relationship worth saving?

There is a strong comedy element in the play which attracted me as a director, which sits beautifully amongst the more serious and moving themes of loss and grief. My cast of two , Julie Blunt and Lissy Malt, are raring to go, both are currently in another show, but as son as it finishes we start rehearsal in earnest!

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

There is so much good stuff this year, and a huge number of Edinburgh previews. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Jon Culshaw in ‘Les Dawson: Flying High’, ‘The Same Rain That Falls on Me’ (which I saw last year and loved) and ‘The Green Knight’. In comedy, there’s the wonderful Simon Munnery, Aurie Styla and Jayde Adams.

I’m also co-producing an adaptation of Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’ with my friends from Kansas City, so I’d obviously advise you to see that too!


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: The Green Knight

“At Bedfringe ’21 we performed ‘Boudica’ in the Quarry Theatre Garden to a wonderful audience who gallantly stuck it out through a rain shower, which in fairness, made the Roman versus Briton battle scene extra dramatic.”

WHO: Grace Cherry: Actor (Playing Sir Gawain)

WHAT: “The Green Knight is a fun, imaginative take on the Arthurian poem written around 1400AD. The play follows the young Gawain as She journeys across Ancient Britain to prove herself worthy of becoming one of the Knights of the Round Table.”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 26 & 30 July 2022 @ 14:00 (75mins)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

It is our 2nd time! We were here in 2021 with our production of BOUDICA and were delighted to walk away with the ‘SPIRIT OF THE FRINGE AWARD’. We performed in the Quarry Theatre Garden to a wonderful audience who gallantly stuck it out through a rain shower, which in fairness, made the Roman versus Briton battle scene extra dramatic.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

After managing, against all odds, to take a small yet mighty tour of BOUDICA across the country in 2021, we have been hard at work. We have created site-specific story walks, worked closely with young people to devise their own response to our show, upgraded our set and written a brand new play. So now here we are, taking THE GREEN KNIGHT & BOUDICA on a ‘not so small this time’ but ‘definitely still very mighty’ UK tour. We have learned along the way that there is a surprising amount you can do with four performers, some wishful thinking and a lot of duct tape. We are yet to learn that we should stop writing plays with triple the amount of characters as actors, but everyone loves a speedy costume change right? Right!?

Tell us about your show.

THE GREEN KNIGHT is a raucous family show based on the Arthurian legend. We follow the treacherous, and at times somewhat baffling journey of Sir Gawain and her loyal steed Gringolet as they search for The Green Chapel and discover what it truly means to be a knightly knight. You can expect some colourful characters, some surprisingly decent sword fighting and a lot of laughs. Even if we say so ourselves, which we do.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

We of course will be recommending the best type of theatre (in our opinion): Children’s theatre. Therefore go and check out: The Fearsome Giant, Where The Lost Socks Go and The Munch Mission!


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Bedfringe 2021 Interview: The Munch Mission!

“I love Fringe festivals. They are the theatre equivalent of a smorgasbord.”

WHO: Daul Lawless: Actor/Deviser/Producer/Tour Booker/Production Manager

WHAT: “A world famous artwork has gone missing from Oslo National Museum. Work with Agents Kahlo and Dali of the Company of International Artists to solve a fiendishly sneaky art heist. Help them to chase leads, decipher clues and interrogate suspects to retrieve the missing artwork in this globe-trotting adventure. ”

WHERE: Quarry Theatre

WHEN: 24 July 2022 @ 14:00 (60mins)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Bedfringe?

Yes it is.

We were recommended to apply by Marina O’Shea who runs Yet To Be. She spoke highly of James and the Bedfringe team. Yet To Be also happen to be included in the Bedfringe line-up this year with their show ‘The Geneva Convention of Human F**cks’ which we recommend (although their show is distinctly not suited to a family audience).

I love Fringe festivals. They are the theatre equivalent of a smorgasbord. I love attending Fringe festivals as a punter. There’s such a buzz and there’s always something for everyone. From an artist’s perspective there’s this collective solidarity between theatre makers. We all know how hard it is to be in this profession. The passion, dedication and output of contemporaries is always inspiring given the hurdles we have to overcome to do what we do.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2021 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

Brave Bold Drama has been focused on our multi-form project Company of International Artists, which is comprised of a postal subscription service of the same name, two playable family theatre shows, including ‘The Munch Mission’, and in-person workshops which are a fine blend of art-history, craft and songwriting.

We have also been working on a commission from Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to design and create videos for families attending BMAG. The videos respond to the 6 themes of Grayson’s Art Club (family, nature, food, dreams, work, and travel) which is a collection of artwork curated by Grayson which is currently being exhibited there until September. These videos, however, respond to pieces in their permanent exhibition so this work will have legacy despite tying directly into the temporary collection by Grayson Perry.

We also design and facilitate community engagement projects in Hartcliffe and Withywood, an area of multiple deprivation in South Bristol. This work includes a Creative Writing Group for adults, a youth theatre for teenagers and once-monthly fundays at a local community centre through which we host performances and creative workshops for families based in the area.

Tell us about your show.

‘The Munch Mission’ is a playable art-heist adventure theatre show for families featuring quirky, affable Agents Dali & Kahlo from the Company of International Artists. Audience members are ‘in-role’ as newly recruited agents to this top secret global agency which solves artistic mysteries. The audience accompany Dali & Kahlo in their mission to retrieve world-famous artwork stolen from Oslo National Museum, visiting Japan, the Netherlands and England along the way.

As a playable theatre show, at different points throughout the show the audience are asked to vote for different narrative outcomes. This impacts on which characters Dali & Kahlo interview and which countries they visit.

What should your audience see at Bedfringe after they’ve seen your show?

We are big fans of Olaf Falafel. I contacted him on Twitter recently to let him know we are also performing at Bedfringe. He has yet to reply, but if you’re reading this Olaf – we’d love for you to attend our show. We think you will really appreciate it.


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