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New JOLT international arts festival coming to Gloucester

By citizenmike  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson, Public Affairs reporter

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Two weeks of festival fever will soon strike Gloucester into a party mood.

A new international arts festival called JOLT is gearing up for a July 18 launch.

WATCH OUR GUIDE TO THE FESTIVAL:

A week-long programme of contemporary theatre from all around the world will come to the city.

Five theatre companies from countries such as France, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands will bring their work to Gloucester, developing and rehearsing it at the University of Gloucestershire for the whole of July.

During that time city residents will be encouraged to get involved with workshops and even host an act or two for dinner parties.

It will culminate in a week of events, included theatre and music on the city’s streets, before the companies head off to the international renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The event, organised by Theatre Gloucestershire, was made possible thanks to a £69,000 grant from Arts Council England. It will see Gloucestershire-based theatre companies work together with the international visitors.

Festival director Pat Roberts says she wants to make Gloucester ‘the Edinburgh Fringe of the South West’.

Events will run until July 27 and will be quickly followed by the Gloucester Paint Jam - a new street art festival running from August 1 to 3 all over the city centre.

Pat said: “People are saying that 2014 is time for a cultural explosion in Gloucester and we can’t wait to be a part of making that happen.

“This is going to be a fantastic combination of home grown talent and the added dimension of international artists coming to the city.”

The festival’s organisers are eyeing up venues such as the Guildhall, the Friends Meeting House at Greyfriars and the Language Immersion Centre as well as an array of pubs and churches.

Production manager Christina Poulton said: “This is not about three hour long shows in a traditional theatre. It is contemporary and like what you would find at Edinburgh, 50 minute shows in quirky venues.”

They even want to create an Edinburgh Fringe atmosphere on the streets. The Fringe attracts some two million people each year and more than 2,500 shows. Armies of performers take to the streets performing extracts from their work in the hope of encouraging people to buy tickets for their show.

For more information on JOLT click here.

10 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

1. Help spread the word by joining JOLT's ambassador's scheme where you can get free tickets for bringing a group along.

2. Volunteer at the festival. Access All Areas, get stuck in and help make the events happen.

3. Feed an artist. JOLT wants to show visiting artists some true Gloucester hospitality. If you're interested in theatre, travel or meeting new people then let JOLT know and they'll arrange a date for one of the company's to pop round to yours for dinner.

4. Workshops. Each company will be offering workshops tailored to different groups and interests. School drama or languages groups and Gloucestershire theatre makers or performers are being encouraged to get in touch.

5. Youth Theatre showcase. Local youth theatre groups are each developing a piece to showcase as part of the festival. There's still room for one or two more.

6. Collaborate and create. If you're a Gloucestershire based theatre company, performer or artist then JOLT will be hosting a selection of artist hub events, networking opportunities and social events, building a local and international community of creative theatre types.

7. Share your work. You don't have to be into theatre to be a part of it. JOLT would also like to work with local musicians, spoken word artists, painters, street performers and crafts people to create the Royal Mile in Gloucester city centre.

8. Sponsor a show. Gloucester businesses can sponsor a festival show and will be treated to a VIP evening for their clients or friends, plus a drinks reception and a chance to meet the performers.

9. In kind supporters. Local businesses who would like to support JOLT and be a part of the event can get involved through offering meeting or event space, printing or refreshments, by organising a work night out and more.

10. Be the audience. Last by but definitely by no means least, come and see a show. JOLT has internationally renowned artists showing world premieres here in Gloucester including new shows and Edinburgh previews covering comedy, clowning, Shakespeare, physical theatre, new work, devised work, participatory projects, bilingual productions, multimedia and music. You saw it here first!

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