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Slung Low & TEAM Join Almeida Summer Fest

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This year's Almeida Summer Festival will have a distinctly avant-garde flavour, with companies Slung Low, the TEAM and Gulp all presenting new work alongside Tiata Fahodzi, who make a return following their week-long residency at last year's festival (See News, 8 Apr 2008).

The Summer Festival, which takes place at the Almeida's Islington home and in the surrounding area from 8 July to 1 August 2009, was formerly known as Almeida Opera, but has broadened its outlook in recent years to present a mixed programme of contemporary performance.

Kicking off this year's festival, from 8 to 12 July, is Bradford-based multi-media company Slung Low with Last Seen, which takes audiences from the Almeida out onto the surrounding streets to examine the world of the thousands of people who go missing in the UK every year. The creative team is led by Slung Low artistic director Alan Lane, and the writers are Simon Burt, Lolita Chakrabarti and Matthew David Scott.

Following Last Seen, from 16 to 19 July, is New York based company The TEAM (Theater of the Emerging American Moment) with their work-in-progress show The American Capitalism Project, seeking to “define the character and shape of American capitalism”. The company, which specialises in avant-garde devised work, describe their productions as “relentless out of necessity, multi-tasking between intellectual commentaries and exuberant physicality”.

On 24 and 25 July, new theatre company Gulp will present its inaugural production its inaugural production, the premiere of Tanya Ronder's Or Nearest Offer, created in collaboration with fifteen participants from the Young Friends of the Almeida LAB.

Everything must go - beds, mobiles, dreams and babies. But what happens when you are all sold out? Writer Tanya Ronder's previous credits include Vernon God Little and Peribanez (Young Vic). Or Nearest Offer is directed by Vik Sivalingam and designed by Fabrice Serafino.

Tiata Fahodzi return

Rounding off the festival is African-centred company Tiata Fahodzi, making a return following their residency at last year's event. This year, from 29 to 31 July, they're presenting the premiere of Michael Bhim's new play The Golden Hour, which be be rehearsed over three days and performed script-in-hand.

The Golden Hour centres on Adrian, a British triage nurse of Zimbabwean descent working in a London NHS hospital alongside his long-term English girlfriend. Suddenly he finds himself drawn into a drama of ethics and loyalty when he encounters an African baby whom he suspects has been brought into the country illegally. Tiata Fahodzi artistic director Femi Elufowoju Jr directs.

Tiata Fahodzi’s Concert of British African Music, featuring The Ganda Boys, will close the Festival on 1 August 2009.

Director and community artist Lu Kemp's installation Lost Property, which invites audiences to create a series of narratives around things they have lost during their lifetimes, will run throughout the festival, which is this year sponsored by American Airlines.

- by Theo Bosanquet


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