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BAB, WE'RE BACK! 16 - 22 OCTOBER 2017


Bonjour from Studio 303, Montreal!

Dear Fiercers,

Bonjour from Studio 303 in Montreal!

Next week, you will have the chance to experience outstanding performance by 3 Quebecois artists – most of whom are showing work for the FIRST TIME in the UK. These presentations are in collaboration with ELAN and supported by Canada Council for the Arts.

Co-curated by myself and Aaron Wright, this triad of work provides a snapshot of contemporary performance in Montreal, by an innovative young generation of makers.

I experienced a self-produced informal showing of Andrea de Keijzer and Erin Robinsong‘s this ritual is not an accident in 2015, and was very moved. The work is sincere, intelligent and generous, continuously revealing layers of meaning around identity, ecology, connectedness.

Andrew Tay‘s recent trio Fame Prayer/ EATING was developed in residency at Studio 303 in 2016. Andrew Tay has a unique/signature aesthetic and compelling onstage presence. This collaboratively-created work is gorgeous, uber-queer, unsettling and funny.

Adam Kinner and Christopher Willes were in residence at Studio 303 this past August. While I have not “seen” Listening Choir, I have had the privilege of experiencing two other remarkable collaborations with original and engaging approaches to choreographing the act of listening.

Fierce has presented several 303-suppported artists in the past, including Dana Michel, PME-Art and most recently Sherwin Tjia (Queer Slowdance). This year’s Quebec programme builds on shared affinities between Fierce, Studio 303 and the artists who work with us. Political, curious and hopeful, these artists question modes of presentation, invest in relating to their audiences, embrace a culture of collaboration, value intimacy and DIY ethics.

Have a great festival, and don’t forget to say hi to the Canadians.

I wish I could be there!
Miriam Ginestier,

Director of Studio 303 in Montreal

In collaboration with ELAN and supported by Canada Council for the Arts.

Pippa Frith’s top picks!

Festival Producer Pippa Frith outlines her top picks from the Fierce 2017 programme.

It goes without saying I’m pretty excited about the whole programme… I’ve been talking to the artists, producers, production managers, looking at images, watching trailers and generally getting stuck into the programme since joining the team back in March. So pulling out favourites is tough, but here are a few that I really can’t wait for…  

Preach R Sun – Lord of Flies

Preach is the real deal. His work is politically urgent and his vision and plans for this one-off performance art piece are amazing. I think it will be challenging and deeply moving, as well as visually stunning. I’m particularly excited about the dawn and dusk moments.

Erin Markey – Boner Killer

Late night comedy cabaret, with drink in hand, what is not to like… I’ll be bringing all my I’m-not-sure-about-performance-but-I-do-love-comedy friends to this one.

Demi Nandra – I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I’ve loved Demi’s work since I first came across her a few years ago, her urgency and honesty is inescapable, as is her sense of humour. I’m always keen to champion artists from the region, so it’s fantastic to see Demi take her rightful place in the programme this year.

Lauren Barri-Holstein – Notorious

As a woman who loves to sit around with other women talking about women, I can’t wait to see this bold, fearless exploration… and if the trailer is anything to go by…. It’s going to be amazing.

Ant Hampton – Crazy But True

I’m always on the lookout for works I can recommend to my friends with families, and this is perfect for all generations. First look it seems fun and cute, second look and you realise there’s a lot more to think about. I love that young people can get involved and perform on the day too!

Louise Vanhaverbeke – Multiverse

I can’t take my heart out of the theatre ultimately, and so this hit theatre show is so far up my street I couldn’t miss it off this list.

I’m also totally overexcited about those big nights, where we’re presenting a wide range of work either for free or super cheap, because I just think it’s a great way for people to deep their toe in the performance art water. So look out for Be The Change – late at the Edwardian Tea Room, The Very Fierce Grand Opening and Club Fierce: We Are Fierce.

Digbeth First Friday Takeover

Digbeth First Friday Takeover – Friday 6 October 2017

Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.

Watch performance activity at STRYX, check out Susie Green’s exhibition at Grand Union (Susie is also performing at The Very Fierce Grand Opening with her band Splash Addict), and then join us for a few drinks at Centrala.




Stryx Gallery presents three performance artists based in Holland, Lithuania and United Kingdom who have cultivated their own unique rituals and idiosyncratic belief systems. Within the current climate of tribalism, separation, and borders, their aesthetic role play taps into universal contradictions of restriction and choice, collective and individual patterns of behaviour. Curated by Paul Newman.



Pleasure is a Weapon is the first UK solo exhibition by artist Susie Green. Working in a range of media across sculpture, performance and painting, this presentation celebrates the body as a site for pleasure and politics.



Hosted by the Club Fierce DJs. Come down, get yourself in the festival mood with a few drinks, with pop-up performances from:


KATY BAIRD – All By Myself

Join Katy Baird for this ten-minute micro lecture about the wonderful world of the Internet and explore together how our deep-seated psychological relationship with technology affects us in everyday life.
Please note: no Wikipedia was used in the making of this performance 
#follow, #my, #life, #lol, #just saying




Using melody to transmit spoken word and vocals, Transits are an eclectic duo made up of Theatre Maker, Elizabeth (Zeddie) Lawal and Performance Artist, Louisa Robbin.

Following their union in 2015, Transits are continuously developing their craft. As a pair of writers, Tranists allow their poetry to inform their unique harmonic style.  They create melody through conversations and play with rhyme. Transits obtain an experimental sound which offers the duo cathartic release.

Drawing influence from an array of artists such as Paramore, Bonobo and Daughter, their haunting sound has been said to transport an audience.

Recent involvements include, Shout Festival 2015-2016, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Pride 2015-2016 and mac Birmingham.



Maps are available online a few days before the event and at participating venues on the evening.

Reetu Sattar joins the Fierce Festival Programme

We’re excited to announce a late addition to the Fierce Festival 2017 programme thanks to support from the British Council Bangladesh. Performance Artist Reetu Sattar from Dhaka will present Sokol Dukher Prodip: the unsung song at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (UK) as part of our event Be The Change: An Edwardian Tearoom Late.

We met Reetu on a research visit to Bangladesh earlier this year. We can’t wait to welcome Reetu to Birmingham to present a new one to one performance.

$elfie$ gets a trailer!

We’re thrilled to unleash the trailer for Marikiscrycrycry’s brilliant $elfie$ which will have it’s World Premiere at Fierce 2017.  $elfie$ is a show by artist Malik Nashad Sharpe who has been part of the 2016/17 Fierce FWD cohort. The show is commissioned by Fierce and Marlborough Theatre and supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts and Diverse Actions.

$elfie$ premieres on Thursday 19 October at 9.15pm at Ace Dance & Music.

Tickets are on sale now, and moving fast – so don’t hang around!

$ELFIE$ – Official Promo Video from Malik Nashad Sharpe on Vimeo.

Choreography: marikiscrycrycry
Performers: Malik Nashad Sharpe and Kam Wan
Creative Director: Shaheeda Sinclair
Make Up: Robyn Fitzsimons
Video Director and Editor: Kassandra Powell

The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein’s Top Picks

Photo by Timothy Fluck

We know the Fierce Festival programme can be a little overwhelming at times, so we’ve asked some of the festival artists to help you out by picking the things that they’re most exited about! For the first in this series we spoke to The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein!

We’re so excited that our favourite hot mess The Famous returns to Fierce this year with a major new show Notorious, commissioned by Fierce and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. We had a chat on the blower with The Famous to see what’s getting her all hot and sweaty in this year’s programme!

Last Yearz Interesting Negro/Jamila Johnson-Small
i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere
Thursday 19 October, mac Birmingham, 7pm
Jamila’s trailer makes me want to writhe around on the floor and then fly to
Saturn on a black unicorn. Also, she’s a super amazeballs artist, making work
that IS AND IS NOT ‘about’ blackness and queerness, and I can’t wait to see
where she takes her audience in this trancy prancy piece.

Owen G. Parry
Friday 20 October, mac Birmingham 2-6pm
Owen G. Parry is a totally trashy weirdo, so I can’t wait to see this 4-hour
sculpted mess. His integration and critique of cutesy cat pics will make for a
poignant but other-worldly disaster.

Rocio Boliver 
Sweet 60th
Sunday 22 October, 7.30pm, TOP SECRET LOCATION
Rocio is a fucking maniac and I hope I’m half as disgusting as her when I grow up.
A bloody rockstar that Helen Mirren’s miraculous tits can never live up to. This
will be a birthday celebration for the nefarious monstrous pervert in all of us.

The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein presents the world premiere of her new show Notorious at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October. Tickets can be booked here. 

Upgrade for New Fierce commission moves to bigger venue!

Owen G. Parry’s piece moves to the mac theatre on Friday 20th October, 2-6pm.

We’re upgrading Owen G. Parry’s new performance moving it into mac’s main theatre space on Friday 20th October – a change to the previously announced date. This upgrade will enable the work to be realised at a more ambitious and technically demanding scale. We can’t wait to see it! is a 4-hour performance ‘hangout’ created with performance troop Medeber Teatro, entwining music, dance, role-play and sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the leftfield antics of Fandoms, Experimental Theatre, and Open-Source-Culture, performers carve out a different sense of time, where fantasy, the reworking of popular myths and images, and the invention of new folk narratives are made possible.

PILOT Nights: Lineup now announced!

Monday 16 October, 7pm @ AE Harris, home of Stans Cafe

We are delighted to announce the line up for the next PILOT Night which opens Fierce 2017! PILOT Nights allow artists to try out 20 minutes of new material in front of a live audience! Very limited tickets are on sale here now for the bargain price of £7/5.

-Speaking in the (oppressor’s) tongue – Selina Bonelli 

– Paris Hasn’t stopped Burning – Danni Ebanks-Ingram 

– Dorian Electra – Dorian Electra (pictured) 

– Thom and Tom – Thom and Tom  

– We’re Right, You’re Wrong – Ginny Lemon and Meating People is Easy

–  Homecoming – Benedict Stewardson

– Here Comes The Sun – Joseph Morgan Schofield

Fierce Volunteers: We want you!

We are looking for enthusiastic and reliable people to play a vital role in creating an unforgettable festival experience across the city of Birmingham.

Be part of the action and volunteer with Fierce Festival 2017. If you are passionate about the arts, we would love to hear from you!

Upcoming Fierce Volunteer Drop In Sessions – all welcome

Come along for an informal chat with the team to learn more about becoming a Fierce volunteer and how you can play a vital role in creating an unforgettable festival experience across the city of Birmingham.

When: Tuesday 26 September from 6-8pm or Monday 2 October from 6-8pm

Where: Map Room at Cherry Reds Café, B1 1BN

More information on volunteering and how to apply can be found here.

Can You Feel It? Fierce & Club Culture

Michele Rizzo: HIGHER

It’s no secret that Fierce loves a party, and over the years we’ve thrown some truly Fierce ones. From bum printing in a basement (yep – bum in paint; bum on wall), to a surprise appearance from The Knife’s Olof Dreijer (in drag), a man literally walking on fire and performance artist Brian Catling strapping nine personal alarms to his face in the middle of the dancefloor and setting them off – and that was all just one party: Harminder Judge’s Holy Mountain Party, Fierce Festival 2012.

Fierce believes club culture is a legitimate, political, innovative and beautiful culture equal to anything hanging in a gallery or on a stage – or anywhere else in the Fierce programme. If we look at histories of club culture time and time again we see queer and POC communities at the centre of new musical and cultural developments – from disco and ball culture in New York to techno in Detroit. These developments have often accompanied difficult social circumstances against backdrops of white supremacy and racial injustice, homophobic police forces and crises such as AIDs, with the dancefloor acting as a place of solidarity, release and ecstasy. This year at Fierce we present a number of events that consider electronic music, the politics of the dancefloor and communal joy.

Lucy Suggate’s iconic solo dance work PILGRIM is set to music from techno producer James Holden’s acclaimed 2013 album The Inheritors. “It is a reminder of the ancient and enduring kinship between Dance and Music and the deeply transformative qualities of both. The work is haunted by remnants of English folk heritage and pagan sensibilities shifting between hypnotic and euphoric states”. In Barbara Ehrenreich’s fascinating book Dancing In The Streets she charts a history of collective joy that is as old as the human race itself. From fossilised footprints found in French caves that suggest dance like movement to modern day carnival Ehrenreich argues that dancing is something inherent in all of us playing a significant role in many religious and cultural events. PILGRIM is a primal and ritualistic performance that is seemingly both ancient and contemporary. Over 45 minutes Suggate let’s go taking the audience through various states of exhaustion and euphoria.

For choreographer Michele Rizzo clubbing is like going to church. In Rizzo’s dance piece HIGHER three lone figures attempt to become one to an infectious soundtrack by Warp Records artist Lorenzo Senni. Rizzo studied people dancing in clubs to develop this choreography challenging notions of what constitutes ‘high art’ legitimising an often overlooked form of expression (see also Owen Parry’s Fan Art inspired Scheduled for 10pm on the Saturday night of Fierce this is the perfect show to warm up for our big Club Fierce party. We guarantee, by the end of this you’ll be gagging to get up and dance and that’s why we’ve planned our huge Club Fierce festival party immediately after!

Featuring our biggest line up to date, you’re all invited to join us on the dancefloor at Club Fierce: We Are Fierce for some ecstatic communion! Parisian queer DJ Kiddy Smile of Let A B!tch Know Fame headlines the party, Deeply influenced by the sleazy, lazy feel of 80s and 90s house music and the fabulous legacy of the Ballroom scene we’re delighted to welcome him to Birmingham for the first time. Over the years Fierce has welcomed many a nightlife legend and this year is no exception as we welcome NYC club kid Imma Asher for a very special performance. Alongside this Swiss choreographer Marie-Caroline Hominal presents the UK premiere of her gig/show/dance Silver and  Serbian rapper Gnu??i is an exuberant, eclectic singer who has made a name for herself through the creation of pumping club music sure to get you moving. Not least we’re also delighted to welcome LMGM to the decks. Part of the team behind Berlin based party Room for Resistance a queer forward collective focused on community building and creating space & visibility for women, gender queers, non-binaries, trans people, black people & people of colour in Dance Music. LMGM – real name Luis-Manuel Garcia, currently an ethnomusicologist at the University of Birmingham also penned this brilliant article for Resident Advisor An alternate history of sexuality in Club Culture which offers a brilliant introduction to the themes touched upon here.

Oh and for vinyl aficionados – be sure to see Louis Vanhaverbeke’s show Multiverse, drawing on rap and hip hop culture, he manipulates vinyl in a variety of surprising ways – with some killer track selections and even some dry ice.

Hope to see you on the dancefloor!

Aaron Wright
Artistic Director, Fierce Festival

Lucy Suggate: PILGRIM – Friday 20 October 6.30pm
Michele Rizzo: HIGHER – Saturday 21 October 10pm
Club Fierce: We Are Fierce – Saturday 21 October 10.30pm
Louis Vanhaverbeke: Multiverse – Saturday & Sunday 21/22 October 2pm

Further Reading:
Love Saves the Day: A History Of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979
Dancing in the Streets: Barbara Ehrenreich
RA: Lorenzo Senni: Rave voyeur
RA: An alternate history of sexuality in Club Culture
The Quietus review James Holden’s The Inheritors
Meet Kiddy Smile Ballroom Warrior