Gallery/Ipswich: What you need to know about PULSE Fringe Festival 2013 right here

Rosie Kelly and Ed Collier of China Plate at the launch of this year's PULSE Fringe Festival. Pictur

Rosie Kelly and Ed Collier of China Plate at the launch of this year's PULSE Fringe Festival. Picture: Lucy Taylor - Credit: Archant

Where can you get swallowed by a giant metal whale, hear sludge and doom metal fused with this year’s Budget speech and answer age old questions like why belly button fluff is always blue? PULSE Fringe Festival that’s where. Entertainment writer WAYNE SAVAGE looks at this year’s line-up.

Lucy Ellinson's When I was Old/When I Get Young, opening PULSE 2013. Picture: Stewart Henley

Lucy Ellinson's When I was Old/When I Get Young, opening PULSE 2013. Picture: Stewart Henley - Credit: Archant

“PULSE is made for the community, it’s curated for our audience, they’re at the heart of what we do,” says festival producer Laura Norman. “That’s reflected in the first show with Lucy Ellinson.”

If you have a story to share, theatre maker Lucy wants to hear from you.

She is looking for 14 people, from new-born babies to senior citizens, to help her create a short unique performance for the opening night of PULSE on May 30.

When I was Old/When I Get Young is a special community performance which takes its inspiration from Wiliam Shakespeare’s famous seven ages of man speech from As You Like It and considers the ways in which we change over time.

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Lucy works with communities to document their oral histories and is looking to conduct short interviews with people in order to weave together recordings of their personal memories. This will then provide a soundtrack as they each stand for a short time on The New Wolsey Theatre’s stage.

She’d ideally love to meet people who have never performed on a stage before, who live in Ipswich and neighbouring areas and have a story they’d like to share.

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The project was first shown as part of the RSC Pilot night with residents from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rehearsals will take place on May 28-29. If you would like to get involved or find out more about the project, contact Laura Norman at or call 01473 295 930 and she will put you in touch with Lucy. Applications must be in by April 23.

With 22 finished shows, 22 works in progress, two tailor-made pieces, a new commission, a whole day of scratch sessions where audiences can see new work at its early stage of development, a family day with a mix of free events and a barbeque, plus live music after evening shows, there’s something for everybody.

New this year is the inaugural Suitcase Prize, a full day of extracts from new and work in progress shows competing to win £1,000 for the best piece of theatre that can be transported on public transport, the aim being to try to reduce the carbon footprint touring theatre leaves behind.

The Pacitti Company Think Tank, in Upper High Street, Ipswich, will also be hosting the PULSE Symposium which looks at the Creative Case for Diversity in Performance. Now in its 13th year, PULSE is firmly established as one of the region’s most exciting and innovative festivals, boasting an eclectic mix of inventive work from emerging and recognised artists.

“We’ve really tried to find ways in which we can engage with different groups of people within Ipswich and really get them involved in the work as well as coming to see it,” says festival co-director Ed Collier, of producing outfit China Plate.

“We’re also thinking about people who might not have had a connection with PULSE in the past so we’ve programmed a whole day of family work. We don’t want to make or present theatre which pushes people away, we want to make theatre which reflects people’s lives and which they feel has a relevance for them. I hope we’ve gone some way to achieve that, but the proof will be in the showing,” he laughs.

Fellow director Rosie Kelly is also looking forward to Lucy’s show.

“It’s going to be a really lovely way to open PULSE; the festival is all about the audience, the people of Ipswich. To actually have people from the community on stage in that space, owning it, having their stories make that piece of theatre happen is exciting.

“The whole programme is really strong. I think there are a few shows that are going to be unusual in their format such as Action Hero’s Slap Talk, they’re a really exciting couple of performers. That’s the big appeal of scratch shows; you can see something that’s midway through its development and have a direct influence on it, then potentially see the show again two or three months down the line and see how it’s changed.”

Supported by Arts Council England, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council, PULSE takes place at the New Wolsey Theatre, New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich Musuem, the High Street Exhibition Gallery and Ipswich Town Hall from May 30-June 8.

Tickets went on sale at 10am today and Laura can’t wait.

“We’re so excited, every day has something of interest; a story, a beautiful piece of work... I’ve grown up in Ipswich and grown up around PULSE. For me, it’s the most exciting time to be in Ipswich and that’s not just because I work in theatre but because I love to just be involved with good things. I know exactly where I’m going to be those 10 days.”

For a full run-down of all the shows, click on the web gallery.

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