The Mimetic Festival at the Waterloo Vaults runs from the 18th until the 29th November. It showcases cutting edge cabaret and theatre like you have never seen it before. I caught up with artistic director Alexander Parsonage and cabaret programmer Catia Ciarico to find out more about this fascinating festival.
Could you give me a brief introduction to the Mimetic Festival and your roles within it.
Alex – The Mimetic Festival is a celebration of european physical theatre and cabaret. The festival was founded by my company Finger in the Pie three years ago – my main role is programming the work. It’s a bit like putting together a huge mix tape of all the work I currently think is important – then programming it in a way where hopefully each of the pieces speaks to each other. Creating a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.
Catia: I am an associate programmer and have programmed the Cabaret, alternative cabaret and club nights and really represents some of our pop culture right now, this section of the festival is known as Mimetic Vaultage.
How do you pull together all the acts.
Alex – I’m looking after theatre and Catia’s looking at cabaret. We both work
full time in the industry so have an ear to the ground looking out for new work. As well as that we’ve got a small army of friends and colleagues suggesting work to us throughout the year. It’s then like a huge jigsaw puzzle – you have a couple of really big shows you fall in love with that you program – it’s then a case of gradually finding the other pieces that will fit around them to create a finished picture.
Catia: I have a massive base of contacts and work that I regularly programme in my productions, there was some work that I really wanted in the festival which I felt was ahead of the game when it comes to entertainment and what’s coming through on the entertainment and cabaret circuit, and like Alex, was determined to get that in to the festival.
What are you looking for when you put together the programme.
Alex – It’s about three things, first giving the audience a snap shot of what is exciting in emerging physical theatre and cabaret at that moment in time, the second is making sure we’re programming work that speaks to the other work we’ve programmed, so we get a good balance, and finally it’s bringing together companies we’re excited by – and who we think will be excited by each other. A festival is as much about creating a creative space for artists to meet as it is creating an experience for the audience.
Catia: I would like to add to that it’s also making sure the audience have damn fine time, all the work will be an exciting experience and, especially in the cabaret bar, it’s rip roaring entertainment that will make you want stay and carry on enjoying yourself and partying.
Who would be in your target audience?
Catia: I don’t know what you mean here, this isn’t something we think about with the shows we programme, I know anyone would enjoy them. We don’t say this is our target audience. We tell you about the show and if you think, ‘yeah – I like the sound of that’, then come and see it. Everyone is our target audience, do you like comedy, do you like to see theatre that’s off the beaten track, do you like risqué cabaret that might raise your eyebrows and raise your temperature (I don’t just mean burlesque)? If you said yes to any of that then YOU are our target audience.
Have you ever been taken aback and genuinely surprised by an act?
Alex: Yes.. though I’m not sure describing it would be appropriate for a family friendly corner of the internet!
Catia: Absolutely, although, like Alex, probably not a good place to describe it on this widely accessibly forum. I will say though, that is was fun being taken aback.
What should one expect from a night out at the Mimetic festival.
Alex: Wether you’re seeing theatre or cabaret you should expect performances that are physical, visceral, funny and heart felt. You should expect to be touched by what you see – in some cases literally.
Catia: I second that. This is theatre, cabaret and a damn fine night out, once you have seen your show you can relax in our bar with some pop up entertainment, in great surroundings and rub shoulders with the artists.
Why should we choose a night at the Mimetic festival over a night at a mainstream West End Show.
Alex: Apart from the difference in price tag? for 1/6 of the price of a west end show you’ll be able to see some of the most cutting edge performance in London today. As well as rub shoulders with the artists in the festival bar afterwards.
Catia: Plus, why should you see it as a choice, this is work that is as valid as anything you will see anywhere, these are talented, exciting, entertaining shows and you won’t regret a night out in a great venue, with incredible acts that will influence what happens in mainstream theatre. And all with a fully stocked bar, that in itself is a clincher surely?!
I think it most certainly is!
The Mimetic Festival is running from the 18th – 29th November at the Waterloo Vaults.
Full programme can be viewed here
Ticket prices vary IRO £10.00 – £15.00
Available Online here