20 October – 6 November 2016
Welcome to our coverage of Clapham Fringe, a new fringe festival focused on the performing arts, based in South London in the United Kingdom
The Bread & Roses Theatre
68 Clapham Manor Street
SW4 6DZ Clapham, London
“Now in its second year, the Clapham Fringe is a still young Performing Arts Festival taking place at The Bread & Roses Theatre from 20th October to 6th November 2016. We are very proud of the diverse programme we have put together with 29 different productions over 3 weeks including theatre, comedy, storytelling and cabaret.”
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Find the venue
The Bread & Roses Theatre is located in London Travel Zone 2 and within 5-10 minutes walking distance of several tube and overground stations as well as many bus routes.
Tube Stations: Clapham North, Clapham Common (Northern Line)
Overground Stations: Clapham High Street, Wandsworth Road
Buses: 50, 88, 155, 322, 345, N155 (Closest Stop: St. Luke’s Avenue)
I want to see … at Clapham Fringe.
Our quirky show-finding tool.
I want to see…
… a play by Caryl Churchill. Then see Vinegar Tom
… a solo comedy show we enjoyed in Brighton. Then see Paul Jones: Nerdfather
… some intelligent comedy. Then see Sara Pascoe
… some comedy cabaret. Then see The Clapham Fringe Comedy Cabaret
… some storytelling we enjoyed at Brighton Fringe. Then see The Iliad
… some solo theatre. Then see Limbo
… a fun look into Eastern and Kanye Western Culture. Then see Zahra Barri:Talk Like An Egyptian
… a ‘nerd’ comedy production. Then see The Comic Shop – And Beyond
… a show about radio. Then see The Great Unwatched
… some new stand-up comedy material. Then see Carl Donnelly – Bad Man Tings
… some unique international theatre. Then see I am Because You Are
… an ancient classic play. Then see The Frogs
… something funny and historical. Then see Henners
… some new writing. Then see The Steak Out
… an authentic look at an extraordinary East End life. Then see Lost Souls and Lunatics
… some Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe hit comedy. Then see Joanna Neary Does Animals and Men
… a play about student life. Then see Collegiate
… a play adapted from Ibsen. Then see Nora
… some classic theatre for children. Then see The Velveteen Rabbit
More to come
Here’s our visual way to find a show at Clapham Fringe. Use your visual intuition!
Simply click on one of our chosen images and get booking…
There are many shows and events on offer at Clapham Fringe. We’ve delved into the programme and chosen our favourite and most intriguing phrases from show descriptions. Choose the ones that grab you and you might find the show you really need to see…
More to come
Christopher Montague talks about The Frogs
Company web site: http://www.attilatheatre.co.uk
What’s the theme of your show?
Our show is based on Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy, The Frogs.
The piece is set in a Hades, where laws are in place to prevent unconventional and alternative entertainment forms that aren’t pre-approved by the state. Due to this, small secret venues have sprung up where the deceased denizens of the Underworld can go for a night of illegal entertainment, away from the grey world of Queen Pluto and her regime.
A troupe of misfit clowns gather in a dusty pub to present The Frogs, a text banned for it’s simplistic and smutty humour, and to really let loose in an uncensored environment.
What’s new or unique about the show?
Our version of The Frogs is a play within a play.
For us, the story of The Frogs is secondary to this totalitarian Underworld that we have created to present the piece.
The clown ensemble who perform the piece are in a constant state of failure, whether it’s minuscule or catastrophic, so it gives us license to have a lot of fun.
How did the show come into being?
Artistic Directors of Attila Theatre, Ashley Winter and Christopher Montague both graduated from Fourth Monkey Theatre Company in 2015 and wanted to make something stupid. Something that is fun, musical and irreverent where we could make mistakes and great something that we love with the people we’ve met training and working in London.
Having performed Greek plays with Fourth Monkey, we turned our heads to Aristophanes, writer of Lysistrata. In an Athens where there was war and cultural upheaval, some tragedians were writing the epic pieces such as Oedipus and The Oresteia that we see so often today, however Aristophanes was filling his plays with boner jokes and dodgy puns. Perfect.
Describe one of your rehearsals.
Most of our rehearsals take place in our flat. That’s just the way we operate, without any major funding, we reserve rehearsal spaces for when we know we can get the most out of them.
Because of this, our rehearsals begin with putting the kettle on.
We’re all very close friends, many of whom trained together so there is always a certain amount of catching up and chatting about thoughts that we’ve had about the piece since we last met up.
The line between work and social time gets very blurry at times!
Once the sofas have been shoved to the side of the room we might hold a quick song call, to get us into the groove of the Frogs and go through a warm up.
We’ve worked through a lot of clown exercises and ensemble building workshops to get us in the mode where we feel safe to play and make fools of ourselves. Much of the play has been developed by drafting, then redrafting, then looking at the script and realising what we’ve made makes no sense at all.
Sometimes that’s OK, but oftentimes it means further development.
How is the show developing?
We performed the first version at the Reading Fringe 2016, where it was awarded ‘Best Director’ (Ashley Winter), and after this first venture we definitely felt there was a lot to be changed.
Much of the play is a response to the art and culture of Ancient Greece, but also of our experiences as artists in London, so the references and jokes need constant updating.
With this way of devising nothing is sacred and we relish tearing apart our own scripts to create a piece which can evolve constantly.
We hope to mount a small scale UK tour in 2017.
How has the writer been involved?
He hasn’t. Aristophanes has been dead for ages. We think he’d like it though.
How have you experimented?
In chemistry at school. I didn’t do very well, so I took theatre instead.
We have taken The Frogs and made it a play within a play, providing a vehicle for the original text which we think make the words more relatable and applicable to a 2016 climate.
It has caused a lot of complications, really pushing us to questions what we want to say with the piece (if anything), and why our clown ensemble characters are choosing to put on The Frogs.
Where do your ideas come from?
Mostly from our brains. We love surrealist humour (Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer etc) and irreverent sketch comedy. If an idea makes us laugh, it usually makes it into a show.
We find ourselves regularly having the conversation:
“Can we put that in?”
“We probably should though.”
Having both studied Film & Theatre at the University of Reading, Christopher and Ashley make theatre that sticks to it’s own set of systems. The hardest part is deciding what these systems will be, then after that a lot of the choices you have to make can be made by examining how you’ve constructed the piece.
How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?
At this point, running a theatre company that is producing our own work, whilst also trying to hold down full time jobs to pay rent is enough of a challenge.
Cry me a river…
We love tackling texts that aren’t often approached and especially like challenging ourselves my simplifying the way we tell stories. Avoiding large set items and complicated scene changes can often cause a lot of problems artistically, but being precise about the bare minimum of what we need to tell the story is important to us, Avoiding anything unnecessary.
What are your future plans for the show ?
We hope to mount a small scale tour in 2017, potentially approaching schools that have classes studying ancient Greek theatre, giving The Frogs as an example of a modern day adaptation of the text, offering workshops in clown and ensemble performance alongside the play.
What are your favourite shows, and why?
We love companies like ‘Told By An Idiot’ who create theatre through playing games and genuinely wanting to have a laugh whilst doing it. We find this often transfers to the audience during performances and they create work that is theatrically very polished, but never without a huge dollop of idiocy.
It’s not original, but also Complicite offer a lot of inspiration to us. Their way of working with larger groups of ensemble players and creating entire worlds very simply is something we try to employ in all of our projects.
Show dates, times and booking info
Monday 24th October 9pm
Tuesday 25th October 9pm
The Bread and Roses Theatre, Clapham, London
Tickets available here:
All the headlines about Clapham Fringe
August 20th 2015: The Clapham Fringe is a new Performing Arts Festival (London Theatre 1)
March 24th 2015: Bread and Roses launches playwriting competition (London Playwright’s Blog)