Arts stages have plenty to intrigue

EADT Arts Editor Andrew Clarke previews the film, dance and theatre events at Latitude.

Andrew Clarke

FILM, theatre and dance have a strong presence at Latitude.

Film-wise there are big names and sneak previews to tempt even the most jaded palette, while there is a wealth of theatre featuring such distinguished companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Paines Plough, Lyric Hammersmith and even our own Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

In the dance arena the Royal Opera House will be rubbing shoulders with Sadler's Wells which is contrasted with the ethereal Music of the Spheres.

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Headlining the film programme will be actor David Morrissey's interview with leading British director Stephen Frears - the man responsible for such critical and commercial gits as The Queen, Mrs Henderson Presents, Dangerous Liaisons and My Beautiful Laundrette.

Frears and David Morrissey are well known to one another. The pair collaborated on the TV drama The Deal, in which Morrissey played Gordon Brown. Audiences are warned that clips and conversation may include adult themes and swearing. The BAFTA promoted event is on Saturday evening.

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Also on Saturday, British film-maker Shane Meadows and his favourite actor Paddy Considine will be presenting their new mock-rockumentary Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee. Following the screening the long-term collaborators will take the stage to discuss the evolution of this extraordinary project.

Shane Meadows captured the country's imagination with his recent hit This Is England, winner of the BAFTA in 2008 for Best British Film. His previous work has earned him a cult following which is rivalled only by that of Paddy Considine. Considine has starred in modern classics such as Hot Fuzz, 24 Hour Party People and Dead Man's Shoes as well as The Bourne Ultimatum.

On Friday and Sunday there will be screenings from The London Short Film Festival, presenting the cream of the short film crop.

Meanwhile on Friday evening only, BAFTA will also be offering festival-goers a pre-release screening of White Lightnin' - the story of Jesco White, the dancing outlaw. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with lead actor Edward Hogg and director Dominic Murphy.

In the theatre arena on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nabokov will be staging Is Everyone Ok? - a 60 minute joyride for the lost and bewildered. It is described as a new theatrical experience for everyone who has ever hit 30 and asked themselves what they're doing with their life.

On Thursday and Friday The National Student Drama Festival arrives at Latitude with a new play Touched written by Chris Thorpe - one of the nation's leading new young playwrights. Meanwhile on Friday and Sunday Paines Plough returns with a new production, Traces. Following on from controversial playwright Mark Ravenhill, and Enda Walsh, this tender story of loss and hope follows Liane and a raft of dysfunctional characters on a single transforming day…

The Royal Shakespeare Company return to Latitude on Saturday and Sunday with a new late-night event created especially for the festival. The RSC has joined with the Suffolk Trial Society to tell a genuinely local story. In March the archaeologists of the STS unearthed a mass grave within the boundaries of the Latitude site. The unusual arrangement of remains suggested the bodies may once have been Suffolk people convicted of witchcraft. The performance looks at who these people were and why they died.

For Latitude, The National Theatre will be bringing thought-provoking, innovative and inspiring work The Eternal Not, a new comedy by Lucinda Coxon, about a couple expecting their first child.

East Anglia theatre is well represented with the Third Eye Theatre Company presenting the first reading of a new feature film project, Mutiny, Colchester's Mercury Theatre will be presenting Catastrophic Sex Music - a heady and violent work written in an attempt to “find a new and relevant language for theatre”. Ipswich-based The Pantaloons will be performing their unique take on Romeo and Juliet.

In the dance arena Sadler's Wells will be presenting Swan Lake, Psycho Stylez and Hofesh Shechter will be bringing his brand new piece The Art of Not Looking Back. On Saturday, The Royal Opera House will be staging Ballet Black from their ROH2 stable. Ballet Black is an up and coming classical ballet company which strives to honour the traditions of classical ballet while breaking new ground with cutting edge choreography.

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