“I want you to know what’s happening…”

From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil on the insidious machine of surveillance. A Machine They're Secretly Building is the brand new show from Lancaster Arts favourites Proto-type Theatre. It's one of a number of theatrical presentations during FestQ that engage with the political. Theatre - storytelling in a heightened and performed way - is a fine format for exploring the political. According to wikipedia there are three different types of poltical theatre; "theatre that comments on political issues, political action or protest that has a theatrical quality to it, and any action by politicians that is intended to make a point rather than accomplish something substantive." FestQ presents works for the stage by Forced Entertainment, Prototype, Sarah Vanhee, Season Butler and Andy Smith all relating to the former. 

In addition two immersive theatre and sound installations, Tania El Khoury's Gardens Speak and Action Hero's Extraordinary Rendition, invite audiences to step into into their global reference points more directly. Laurence Payot & Allie Rutherford's People Pavilion meanwhile is partcipaotry street theatre, sensitively refencing collective action. What's fascinating about these latter works is the extent to which they begin to blend all three forms of poltical theatre as outlined on wiki. 

Behind the scenes of FestQ, Lancaster Arts is also helping to support artists in their aims to realise political theatre. David Byrne favourites Gob Squad lead a 3 Day workshop to aid the creation of their forthcoming version of Tolstoy's classic text War & Peace. And we ask Who Needs The Big Stage? - a summit for UK theatre, live art and performance makers on the question of scale, and how best to realise epic theatre at a time of economic constraint.  

Featured Image: Prototype - A Machine They're Secretly Building

What are 'Our Questions of Burning Importance?

People Pavilion - a wearable and mobile structure for groups of people to use and create temporary interventions in the public realm is coming to FestQ. A space for sharing knowledge, asking questions, and much more... its function is defined by the people who take part.
Artists Laurence Payot and Ailie Rutherford are testing how creatives can truly share ownership of their work through active participation. For FestQ, they have worked with Lancaster residents to explore the idea of human rights in practice, creating a set of actions and questions to be presented in the streets of Lancaster on Saturday 6th February. 

Look for the People Pavilion in and around Lancaster's Market Sq and, once encountered, make friends. 

Featured Image: People Pavilion, at Light Up Lancaster (November 2015)

FestQ is an itinerant programme which includes artist works in unexpected places. Andrew Gannon's Rubber Band Work will involve a participant balancing a rubber band on their nose for an allotted time. When and where this will happen during FestQ is yet to be decided but when it does, the work may last anything from 5 minutes to an hour. There will also be a number of Rubber Band Work posters shown at The Storey between Tuesday 3 and Saturday 6 February, each proposing a different variation of the work.

In addition Gannon's Bin Work will involve a participant having a metal dustbin wedged over their head and upper body during FestQ for a predetermined period. Again, the location of the work is yet to be determined. The work will last for one hour.

Whilst FestQ is in residency at Lancaster venue The Storey (Weds 3 - Sat 6 February), works - created by artists seeking to engage with poltical themes - will be presented including Ellie Harrison, Tim Etchells, Peter Kennard, Andrew Gannon

Featured Image: Andrew Gannon - Rubber Band Work

From WWI to Edward Snowden Prototype Theatre vent their frustration at 'the insidious machine of surveillance in A Machine They’re Secretly Building
Tuesday 2 February
Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster University, 7pm

Get surrounded by the FestQ People Pavilion and ask your 'Question of Burning Importance'
Saturday 6 February, 
Market Square, Lancaster 1pm - 5pm

What methods are being deployed against the war on terror? Action Hero's Extraordinary Rendition looks at Guantanamo Bay via exhilarating immersive theatre 
Weds 4 - Sat 6 February
The Storey, Lancaster