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Fierce Festival 2019: First Shows Announced!

Fierce Festival is back bab, and we are thrilled to announce our first shows of the 2019 edition in partnership with The Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Kate McIntosh presents In Many Hands at the REP’s studio, from the 15 – 17 October. 

In Many Hands dives into the tactile and the multi-sensory, inviting the audience to test, touch, listen, search and sniff. This project steps away from the stage – and invites the audience to experiment with materials and encounter physical phenomena themselves.

In Many Hands has no audience: Every attendee is a participant, performer, conspirator, crewmember – as it unfolds, visitors take their time to engage and explore as they wish, following their noses and curiosities.

Our second show, Familiar, by Greg Wohead & Gillie Kleiman will run from the 17 to the 19 October.

Familiar is a twinset of performances on significant otherness; one authored by Kleiman and performed by Wohead, the other authored by Wohead and performed by Kleiman. 

Woven through with references to Twin Peaks and witches, the works in Familiar play out what it means to be companions, where we think we know everything about each other whilst facing the fact that we can’t.

Finally, do not miss our one-off performance of Nicola Gunn’s Working with Children, on 19 October. 

You are invited to wonder about the effect of language on the body with an apparently unconnected collection of anecdotes, which may or may not be true. Through these accumulated fragments, there is a tension between insistence of making narrative and the resistance (or impossibility), of finding one, playing with the idea that we can find a different way of behaving, a different way of living, by finding a different way of inquiring and of listening.

These are just the first of hundreds of fabulous events at Fierce 19’ and it’s going be wonderful – see you there! 

Recruiting new Trustees

Fierce Needs You!

Bennett Miller’s Dachshund UN at Fierce Festival 2012

Call for expressions of interest:

As a registered arts charity Fierce has a board of trustees to guide and help us make good decisions; offering advice, expertise and support to the staff who are employed to run Fierce on a day to day basis, as well as ensuring the financial and legal requirements of running a company and charity are all met.

We are now on the hunt for new Trustees!

Fierce is looking for new trustees to add to the skills and experience of the current Board. We are looking for people who enjoy working as part of a supportive, but rigorous team, who are passionate about the arts and the power they have to change lives.

Being on a board can be incredibly rewarding; it is a voluntary role and is a brilliant way to use your skills and experience to ‘give back’. You meet different kinds of people, and learn a lot, as well as having access to some brilliant Fierce events!

In particular we are looking for new board members with expertise in some specific areas, but this list is merely ‘desirable’ so if you’re interested please do get in touch. Expertise we are actively seeking include: law, HR, finance, fundraising and people with links to local business, property and community groups.

We’re keen for the board to better reflect the diversity of artists we work with and the city we work in, so we’re looking for people from different backgrounds with different experiences.

We ask people to serve on the board for a limited period of just three years (although you can consider staying for another term after those three years are over). We expect board members take an active interest in the organisation, regularly attending Fierce events and helping us outside of the board meetings to achieve various organisational goals.

In order to ensure a better diversity of voices on the Fierce board we particularly encourage applications from People of Colour and disabled people. So please – don’t hesitate, we’d love to hear from you!

The small print

As a Trustee you will use your experience to help the organisation achieve its full potential as a leading live art festival in the UK. This involves:

– Ensuring good governance and management to achieve financial stability, resilience and statutory compliance

– Using your specific knowledge and experience to provide advice and guidance on issues relevant to your area of special expertise.

– Developing the strategic vision and long-term planning.

– Meeting its funding obligations in particular as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

– Supporting the Company’s fundraising campaigns as appropriate.

The Board meets four times a year in Birmingham. Board meeting are usually held 6 – 8pm mid-week. One of these meetings is a longer Board ‘awayday’ that usually happens in the summer.

As a Board member you will agree to:

– Attend meetings in Birmingham.

– Be fully up to date with the business of the company.

– Be well prepared for each Board meeting.

– Offer timely feedback and responses when business has to take place remotely.

– Attend performance and events where possible.

– Advocate for the company where/when appropriate.

If you’d like an informal chat about becoming a board member beforehand email our Artistic Director, Aaron Wright at

If you’re interested in applying please send us a one-page (max) expression of interest (you can also include a CV if you wish) and complete the EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES MONITORING FORM and email to  with the subject heading ‘Fierce Board Recruitment’ telling us why you’d like to join the board and what useful skills and experience you could bring.

If you’d like to apply using a video or audio file, that’s absolutely fine, or if there are any other barriers to you applying please get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss.

Closing date for expressions of interest is Wednesday 8th May 2019.

After the deadline has passed, we will review all applications. If we think you might be a good fit and you meet the basic criteria, Aaron (our Artistic Director) and Eileen Evans (the Chair of the Fierce board) will arrange a time to meet you informally (this won’t be an interview) just a friendly chat, somewhere informal like a coffee shop.

Following this we’ll invite those candidates that feel like the best match for Fierce to observe our next board meeting on Wednesday May 22nd, 6pm. If you’d like to formally join as a board member after that meeting you’ll be signed up in time for the following meeting in August.

Still time to apply for Fierce FWD

As we hurtle towards the deadline for our FWD artist development programme (this Sunday 24thMarch, midnight) we thought it might be good to remind what’s great about being part of the FWD family.

Fierce FWD is an amazing and pivotal experience for artists and I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have been part of it. I enjoyed the exchanges and feel that the support given has enabled me to not only realise a project but also to feel confident in knowing what Birmingham has to offer in terms of live art.

Vivian Chinasa Ezugha, FWD Artist 2017

As well as the opportunity for a chunk of cold hard cash, some rehearsal space, go-see trips and mentoring, FWD also offers other opportunities; artists on the scheme will build a relationship with Fierce Artistic Director and Festival Producer through the programme. Offering insight into the national Live Art scene, and international contemporary performance community, this is an invaluable opportunity for artists to gain inside knowledge, brokering and bespoke mentoring, making the most of the expertise held within the Fierce team.

As FWD artists you will have free access to the Fierce 2019 programme and industry events, creating a great opportunity for international networking (the last festival saw over 100 international professional delegates attending).

Remember, you can apply by via voice-note or film if applying in writing is not your preferred style. And drop us a line on if you’ve got questions, or want to chat anything through!

Application info here. 

Fierce FWD 2019: Call for Proposals

Fierce FWD is a development programme for artists working in Live Art and contemporary performance. Fierce FWD offers the opportunity for artists to develop an idea for a live performance/experience  alongside a programme of mentoring, peer discussion, workshops and research trips.

The programme is for emerging artists based in the West Midlands (in the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands), outside of full-time education. In keeping with Fierce being a Live Art festival this scheme is aimed at those developing projects for live performance and experiences. We define Live Art broadly and expect to receive a broad range of proposals encompassing performance art, body art, contemporary performance, expanded choreography, post dramatic theatre, socially engaged projects, art activism, progressive cabaret and club performance, one-on-one performance, durational work, site-specific projects, immersive parties, performative events and other experimental live practices.

We take a similarly broad approach to the term ‘emerging’, this scheme isn’t intended just for young people and recent graduates, but anyone that self-defines as emerging. Perhaps you’ve recently started experimenting with performance in your practice, perhaps you’re re-emerging after a hiatus, or shifting focus to make your practice more of a professional commitment: explain why you consider yourself emerging in your application.

Alumni of Fierce FWD include acclaimed artists such as Selina Thompson, Malik Nashad Sharpe, Demi Nandhra and many more.

The Offer

Fierce will select up to 6 2019 /20 Fierce FWD artists. Each artist will receive:

  • A micro-bursary of £500 to try an artistic experiment, develop a piece of work or conduct some research towards a project
  • A 1 week studio residency with our partners University of Birmingham
  • Mentor time with the Fierce Artistic Director and Fierce Producer
  • Access to Fierce Festival 2019 with an intensive programme of shows and talks
  • Access to a range of workshops from nationally and internationally significant artists
  • A group trip to a key national event
  • To be part of a peer support group with regular meet ups
  • A presence on the Fierce website, with links to your own sites, creating a clear association with Fierce

How to Apply

Please send proposals to by midnight, Sunday 24th March 2019, with the subject line ‘Fierce FWD 2019’. Proposals should be up to two pages (max 1000 words) or up to 5-minute film or voice recording which includes:

  • An introduction to who you are, your practice and what you’re interested in artistically
  • Your reason for applying for Fierce FWD and confirmation you are based in the West Midlands
  • What you hope to get out of being part of the Fierce FWD programme
  • Where you see your practice in 5 years time
  • Confirmation you are available during the Fierce 2019 Festival dates (14 – 20 October 2019)

In addition, you may also include:

  • An up-to-date CV
  • No more than 2 video clips of your previous work
  • No more than 8 images of your previous work
  • No more than 3 links to your website, blog or other online work

We particularly encourage applications from queer and disabled artists and artists of colour, as well as artists who might not have taken a conventional higher education route.

We may not be able to provide detailed feedback on all proposals. We also advise that due to other schemes in the region Fierce FWD is not best suited for playwrights and traditional theatre makers who are better supported via other scheme’s in the region such as Rep Foundry.

If you have enquiries about the scheme email your question to and we will reply as quickly as possible.



Sunday 24thMarch, deadline 2019


Vivian Chinasa Ezugha, Fierce FWD Alumni, performing at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery as part of Fierce Festival 2017.

Tuning in: Rosana Cade on Moot Moot

In the run up to Moot Moot coming to MAC Birmingham on the 23rd of January, we caught up with renowned artist Rosana Cade on the process of creating this ‘dark mirror for our current existence’.


How was the concept for Moot Moot formed?


In 2017 I was commissioned by Fierce Festival and The Marlborough Theatre in Brighton to create a new work. At that time, I was keen to develop my collaborative practice with my partner, artist Ivor MacAskill. Up until this point we had mainly collaborated in a more DIY fashion via our band Double Pussy Clit Fuck.


We entered a process that began as a queer exploration of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, questioning the ways in which these concepts are used by the media and those in power to control and divide communities, in a time of increasing political polarisation.


  • Do you have a mission statement for Moot Moot?


There isn’t a mission statement. This isn’t a work that is trying to solve something. It acts more as a dark mirror for our current existence, and is read in many different ways. This is something we like to encourage.


  • On your website, you talk about liveness as a potent site for connection. How does Moot Moot explore the connection between audiences and performers?


Whilst a lot of my work actively engages with connection and intimacy in its form – often involving interactions and participation, this work talks about connection from beginning to end and yet the performers never connect directly with the audience. As an audience member you are looking in on two people in their own void or bubble, a witness or a voyeur. There is almost a fourth wall between the performers and the audience, which is a departure in style for me as an artist. In this way it deals with the difference between talking about connection and really connecting; it sits with loneliness, desperation, the hypocrisy of the gesture over the real action, the emptiness of someone looking right through you.


  • Do you believe the performance would be as effective without Yas Clarke’s sonic soundscape?


The performance wouldn’t exist without Yas Clarke’s sonic world. He came on board as a collaborator about halfway through the process and this is where we really started to build the show together.


  • What appeals to you about collaborative art?


Learning to collaborate means learning how to share, learning how to exercise your boundaries and how to respect other people’s, considering your own needs alongside other people’s need.

Also, I much prefer doing things with other people, I find it a lot more fun! I think ideas can progress faster with different input, and can be taken in unexpected ways that never would have occurred without multiple people in the room.

I think art making can be quite a vulnerable process, particularly performance where you literally put yourself in front of people in presenting your work. I find it so strengthening to feel like I am part of a team, especially when touring around quite a lot.


  • What appealed to you about taking on the characters of radio talk-show hosts in particular?


In some ways the act of embodying this older straight male character was an attempt to place ourselves in their shoes, and to begin to understand their vulnerability. It is something more complex than othering them and blaming them.


  • What are your plans for Moot Moot in the future?


We have some more tour dates which will be announced soon, and we might be bringing the show to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Fierce Festival is recruiting: Production Coordinator and Marketing Coordinator

Fierce are seeking applicants for two new job roles for the run-up to the festival in October 2019; a Marketing Coordinator to lead on promoting the festival and developing audiences and a Production Coordinator to deliver on the practical side of the festival, liaising with artists, producers, venues and technical teams.

Download the Job Descriptions here to find out more about the roles and how to apply.

Marketing Coordinator Job Description

Production Coordinator Job Description

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Deadline to apply for both roles: midnight, 3rd February.

Interviews: 11th February.

Artists Behind Bars: Call for Applications

Following the huge popularity of Birmingham’s first Artists Behind Bars event in 2017, we’re doing it again on March 1st as part of Digbeth First Friday – and we need you to propose ideas for bars to run!

Artists Behind Bars is an event concocted by Kitty Finer that brings together artists to build, install, host, and run their own bars. For one night shift only, the bar is the work of art, the artist is the bartender, and the spectator is the punter.

Long before the term “pop up” popped up, Kitty’s many and various makeshift shops, bars and galleries have appeared under the influence of interim interventions, the oftentimes illicit social spaces of raves, fiestas, carnivals and beach bars.

Artists are invited to make a bar which can be as simple or extravagant as they wish as long as all artists take in to account that this is not a money making event. It is not guaranteed that the bars will make a profit but one can usually cover expenses from drink sales if the bar is built with a resourceful and (financially) inventive approach (cutting cloth according to your means) using whatever you have to hand. However on this occasion Fierce will provide each artist with £150, a small gesture, but one that should limit the risk on any ingredients purchased in advance and hopefully cover a small days wage too. You keep all bar takings!

This event curates itself whilst it goes along like pitching up tents in a camp site- we will all pitch up and if certain bars don’t work alongside each other then we can work together to shuffle around- All designated bar areas will have a power supply so each bar can light itself up as all main lights in the space will be turned off so that the bars provide the illuminations. We also advise that being a bartender can be a lonely business so do think about getting someone to run your bar with you.

Artists can chose whatever drink they wish to serve. All bars and drinks will vary.

Furthermore each artist’s bar will have a 30 minute slot to select their chosen playlist/DJ or live performer.

We will have a morning and afternoon to set up our bars in the space – we will also take down our bars at the end of the night and you can choose when you do this- it is fine to pack up your bar during the event.

We will provide a PA system and ice for bars who need it.

Examples of past bars include French Riviera’s purple rain bar (tribute to Prince), Brian Catling put himself behind literal bars – held himself prisoner whilst serving sprits, Benedict Drew served drinks from the inside of his jacket, Tai Shani served shots of sambuca, sans toga from a greek column and Marcia Farquhar hosted a champagne speakeasy where punters could sit and hear a story or two.

Fierce is looking for proposals from artists who are interested in the spontaneous structures of hospitality and the (part-time) role of bar-tending. We are particularly interested in hearing from artists who have a performance element to their practice, whether this be from a theatre, dance, visual art or other background. Proposals should reflect the the DIY nature of the event and the small honorarium offered. (In 2017 all bars turned a profit).

How to Apply

Please send proposals to by midnight on Monday 28th January 2019 with the subject line ‘Artists Behind Bars 2019’. Proposals should be 100 words on what you want to do with the bar and 50 words on what drinks you want to serve, you may also include one link to your website or a copy of your CV.

Fee: £150 to cover material costs, artists keep the money they make on their bars. This £150 is inclusive of any travel or accommodation and so it is presumed that this opportunity will be predominantly for artists in the Birmingham area.

Deadline:  28th January 2019

Event: 1st March 2019

Donate to Fierce through easyfundraising!

Good news!

Donating to Fierce Festival is now even easier with Simply online shop as normal with one of easyfundraising’s online retailers, then watch as your everyday shopping turns into a small donation to Fierce’s causes.

The best part is, it won’t cost you an extra penny – the retailers (including big names such as Sainsbury’s, Amazon, and Ebay) will make the small donation to say “thank you”.

This way, you can support Fierce’s cause to support overlooked and unusual live art performers from around the world while ticking your weekly shop off your to-do list.

Donations are pivotal to Fierce’s work enhancing local artist communities and improving Birmingham’s cultural offer, as well as helping us to bring more provocative and exciting live performances to unusual spaces in the city. £20 would help to subsidise festival tickets for someone who would otherwise be unable to afford them, while £2000 would fund an artist through Fierce’s FWD artist development programme.

You can donate through easyfundraising here.

It is the end, it is the beginning.

It has come to the end of my time at Fierce. For the past five weeks, I have been interning at the festival in their small windowless office in Digbeth. Despite the lack of sunshine, Fierce has been a great place to work, especially when everyone is in the office it can be a real laugh.

I was given a range of tasks to carry out including editing the website and taking over the social media. Despite recently graduating with a first-class degree from Warwick University, working at Fierce made me realise I had few office skills. I can put on a decent play or write you 10,000 words on Checkov no problem. But show me an excel sheet, and I have nothing. This internship helped me quickly learn how to do those sorts of things which I’m very grateful for, I will not be quite so green in going into the world of work. I was allowed to work things out on my own but if I ever needed help the team was there to lend a hand. James mentioned this in his blog, and I think it’s worth reiterating, social media is actually hard to manage and something I hadn’t necessarily considered. It was beneficial in showing me how important and how much time you have to put into it if you are an arts organisation or artist. As an aspiring performance artist working at Fierce has helped me in understanding the production side of things, things that I would personally like to ignore but I can’t. Most importantly it has shown me that I can do it, it has given me the experience which will greatly benefit me in my next steps.

During the internship, I was fortunate to help out and attend two events that were co-presented by Fierce. The first was Club Fierce: Dance Amnesty. In the lead up to the event, I was able to interview some of the artists and help with its publicity. On the day, the previous interns (Ellen and James) and I assisted in the set-up of the venue, and we blew up and made two substantial balloon banners which looked great. The party was a really great night, alongside some front of house duties, I had my fortune read by Ginny Lemon which was very funny, watched some great performances and danced a lot.

Secondly, Fierce co-presented two shows by Ivo Dimchev with the BE Festival. Again, I helped out in promoting the event on social media and put the events up on the website. I was able to go to the second of the shows; P-Project. It was a great show, Ivo had me in stitches from beginning to end. Also, I got £50 for getting on stage and making a bed so I couldn’t ask for more.

I have attended the two previous Fierce festivals and I’m a big fan, I’ve appreciated this opportunity to see how art organisations like Fierce work. It has clarified that I want to pursue a career in the arts, knowing the production side of things is great but really, I want to be the one creating and Fierce has given me drive to go and do it. Thanks to the Fierce Team, for the advice, the experience and an all round good time. See you at the next festival.



The Fierce Interns

Club Fierce: Dance Amnesty

Birmingham International Dance Festival is upon us, inspired by themes of imagination, body, mindfulness, and digital art, showcasing great choreography and opening up new and surprising ways for you to experience dance. For the finale to the festival, we’ve teamed up with BIDF to bring you Club Fierce:Dance Amnesty. This will be a night of spectacular performance and DJ’s through which you can throw down your own notorious moves. In preparation for the club night, Maud (Fierce’s latest intern) asked Last Yearz Interesting Negro/Jamila Johnson Small and Brian Lobel some questions about their upcoming performances for Club Fierce and BIDF.

FuryZ Last Yearz Interesting Negro with Rowdy SS. Photo by Ayka LuxFollowing her sold our World Premiere at Fierce 2017 LAST YEARZ INTERESTING NEGRO/JAMILA JOHNSON-SMALL presents new performance Fury1 in collaboration with Rowdy SS who plays a live sound set. They are coming straight from performances at the Palais De Tokyo in Paris.

Does your piece inspire new ways of seeing dance? What new ways of seeing would you like to inspire? Or participation; how would you like an audience to respond or participate in your dance?

To be honest, I am always very sceptical of this idea of ‘new’ and wouldn’t want to claim that for anything I might be trying to propose through my work. Of course there are things – behaviours, expectations – that have become conventions in regards to watching ‘contemporary’ dance that I think can limit potentials of experience, exchange and thinking, that I work to disrupt…but what happens for anyone in that gap the disruption might create, I couldn’t say! We could say that Fury1 is an ongoing experiment, a live formulation or unfolding of our responses to/ experiences of the different environments (including people) in which we come to perform, and each other.

You like to keep your dancing flexible for the time and space in which you perform, are you looking forward to dancing in ‘Club Fierce’ what vibes do you expect to feed off of, how do you think it will affect your piece?

I don’t know that I would use the word flexible! I think it might be misleading in the way it suggests an openness and adaptability for someone else’s purpose. I think it’s more that the dancing happens in relation to the choreographic score as it meets each environment or context and tries to find a way to inhabit those spaces. We were definitely excited to experience this work in a club context. No expectations!

BRIAN LOBEL’s Hold My Hand and We’re Halfway There; links Depression- era Dance Marathons, where contestants danced until they dropped in pursuit of fame and fortune, to young boys dancing in their bedroom after school, where they too dance until they drop, often hoping for fame and fortune. For this performance, Brian recreates his childhood bedroom and invites us to watch or join in with the marathon.

Have you tried ‘Hold My Hand We’re Half Way There’ in a club setting before? 

The first major installation of Hold My Hand was at Shunt and ran from 10pm-2am every night for 4 nights.  On bare rock floor. In a club. Where everyone was drunk. So I’m used to doing it in such an environment.

I’ve performed the work in public squares (in Italy and Thailand), fancy dance venues (Sadler’s Wells), as a 5 day installation in an abandoned shoe store in Lower Manhattan, White Nights all night parties in Brighton and Brussels, and lots of different places… I like when the crowd is different but I am basically doing the same thing, it changes the energy of the piece in unpredictable ways.

Do you think, in this setting, you’ll ever really be dancing alone? 

I usually dance alone for about 60% of the time. People do join me, but very often, people do their own thing on their own tv sets.

Has dancing ever become a chore for you through doing this performance? – do you think you could join the dancing after your performance?

Yes, the dance always becomes a chore, and this is the purpose. While it’s fun, it’s exhausting, and smelly, and sweaty, and draining and thrilling. It’s the kind of exhaustion which is really difficult to tell whether it is worth it or just painful. This is the tension which I’m trying to bring forth in the world, and the metaphor that I think connects the work to the isolated queer body in a bedroom – are they alone, are they lonely?  Are they isolated from others? Or are they isolating themselves?

What’s your favourite dance move you’ve learnt from copying the musical routines? Could this be done on the club dance floor? 

My favourite dance I’ve learned is Rich Man’s Frug – – which is probably the most amazing dance scene of all time. And yes, of course any of these moves can (and are) used on dance floors.  Ugh. I love it.

What advice would you give to the Fierce clubbers?

My advice? Focus on the camera shots, not just the moves. If you’re watching Muriel’s Wedding (Waterloo Scene), or Jesus Christ Superstar (the Superstar scene) you’ll find the dance moves even more fun if you think of playing to an invisible camera capturing the sickest angles. 

Other performances at Club Fierce include SAFFRON and JAMES BATCHELOR. DJ’s include JONJO JURY and TE TE BANG. MC’d by the fabulous YSHEE BLACK.

Tickets are £5 advance from HERE

Club Fierce: Dance Amnesty is a part of the BIDF’s Saturday Session Special Offer which is a full day of events and performances for tickets and info please click HERE.