THE spectacular Angel Field Festival 2021 – a ten day celebration of the arts – launches in Liverpool this week.
And not only does it feature everything from film screenings to performances from up-and-coming bands, it’s also one of the first festivals to hit the city since the pandemic began.
The Angel Field Festival is organised by Liverpool Hope University and begins Thursday June 24th, running until Saturday July 3rd.
Headline acts will include Americana band Django Rhinestone, which features former Death in Vegas founder Steve Hellier on guitar, as well as a spectacular stage performance of The Ballad of Mulan – the story of a real Chinese heroine that inspired Disney’s famous Mulan movie.
Centred on Hope’s famous Cornerstone and Capstone theatres, other acts include magician and performer Vincent Gambini, contemporary chamber music ensemble rarescale and Bite! Theatre’s Pucker Up, a political comedy show that’ll make you question what you think you know about femininity and female empowerment.
And festival organiser Professor Stephen Davismoon says crowds will be able to take their rightful places in theatre seats – with safe social distancing measures in place.
Prof. Davismoon, Head of Hope’s School of Creative & Performing Arts, explains how the theme of this year’s festival is ‘communication and information’.
And he adds: “There are many things that lockdown has taught us about what is important, vital even, to life.
“And possibly, above all, it’s the loss of the presence of others – those close to us, as well as the possibility of spending time with those that we’ve never met before. It’s the opportunity to make new friends and expand our lives – to communicate and gain information.
“It’s my hope that the Angel Field Festival this summer will offer us many occasions to share time and space with others allowing us opportunities to marvel, laugh and contemplate life.”
There are other ways the festival explores the impact of the pandemic.
The About Us-For Us show will feature, among other things, telephone calls recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and which document the experiences of people living in West Everton during this troubling period of time.
The Angel Field Festival will showcase the work of Hope students through various displays and performances.
Meanwhile there will also be a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 film The Kid to coincide with the movie’s 100th anniversary. The film will be screened in Hope’s Capstone Theatre – on the very same site that London-born Chaplin himself attended the former St Francis Xavier Elementary school during his brief time in Everton as a young boy in 1900.
Prof Davismoon reveals: “The festival features music, fine art, story-telling, dance, drama, film, magic and comedy. We have culture on offer from China, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Serbia, Russia, Australia, USA, India amongst many other regions of the world as well as that, that is much closer to home.”
Here’s some of the festival highlights:
About Us-For Us (Sound Installation)
Friday 25th June, 11am – 3pm
About Us-For Us is a sound artwork created in West Everton and the surrounding areas. It features the voices of three community members alongside field recordings from the local area. Telephone calls recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the experiences of local residents during this difficult time.
Friday 25th June, 8pm
rarescale is a flexible-instrumentation contemporary chamber music ensemble, formed by low flutes specialist Carla Rees in 2003 with the aim of creating and championing new repertoire for her instruments. Bringing together performers with a passion for new music, collaboration and supporting the work of both emerging and established composers, rarescale has a core of 9 players who perform in a combination of small chamber formations.
Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (Screening)
Saturday 26th June, 11am
To celebrate the centenary of Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature The Kid (1921), the film will be screened in Liverpool Hope’s Capstone Theatre, on the very same site that Chaplin himself attended school (St Francis Xavier Elementary School) during his brief time in Everton as a young boy in 1900. The Kid is a silent masterpiece about a tramp who discovers a little orphan, played by Jackie Coogan, and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him.
Bite! Theatre presents Pucker Up
Saturday 26th June, 7.30pm
Combining immersive practices with clowning, dance and quirky visual performance with zestful comedy and dark political bite, Pucker Up explores popular culture and mass marketing, challenging the communication of reductive ideologies in contemporary media culture and their own active consumption of these messages.
The Ballad of Mulan
Sunday 27th June, 5.30pm
Woman, warrior, Legend. For ten years Mulan disguised as a man, has fought for the Chinese Empire. Now the fighting is coming to an end, one last battle and she will be going home – but can she return to her old life, become a woman again? A search for identity in a violent world.
Lunchtime Dance Showcase
Tuesday 29th June, 1pm
This lunchtime presentation will include the screening of two new Dance films by choreographer Dora Frankel – Touch the Beast and Tread Lightly on the Planet.
Touch the Beast is inspired by the tales and poems of Edgar Allan Poe and the visual art of Aubrey Beardsley. Tread lightly on the Planet is the third and final part of a JMW Turner-inspired trilogy.
Liverpool Hope Music Department Summer Concert
Thursday 1st July, 7.30pm
This performance will include items by Hope Big Band, directed by Dr Tom Sykes, and Hope Choir, under the leadership of Dr Chris McElroy. The rest of the programme will feature pieces in a range of styles by some of Hope’s final year music and popular music students.
Django Rhinestone: Snake Oil – Stories for the Soul
Friday 2nd July, 8pm
Country music performance from a hot new band. Features Steve Hellier, founder of critically acclaimed dance act Death in Vegas on guitar. Stories are the reason you listen to songs, Django Rhinestone has plenty to sell like a traveling circus of tales that take you someplace else. But are the stories some sort of snake oil or are they real? You’ll have to decide: it’s a long tradition of country music to blur the two. Snake oil at its best makes you feel like you’ve found the answer, Django Rhinestone might be it.
The Disappearing of Vincent Gambini
Saturday 3rd July, 4pm
Magician Vincent Gambini returns to the Angel Field Festival with a film and a live performance.
The film charts the process of Vincent Gambini (aka performance artist Augusto Corrieri) coming to terms with the cancellation of his 2020 UK theatre tour, and reaching out to film maker Hugo Glendinning in the attempt to make a film about the cancelled magic show. The film will be accompanied by Gambini’s first return to the stage, in which he will likely be trying to remember how to shuffle a deck of cards, whilst savouring the thrill of not being stuck inside his flat.
The Music of Astor Piazzolla -A Centenary Celebration
Saturday 3rd July, 7.30pm
Studio 6 celebrates Astor Piazzolla’s centenary with a programme of some of the Argentinian composer’s best loved works.