Dave Windass Talks About Heads Up Festival And It’s Future

Hull playwright Dave Windass has spoken about the upcoming Heads Up Festival which will start on Saturday 5th September as part of Freedom Festival for the third time.

“We’ve been delighted to start Heads Up as part of Freedom Festival which has allowed us to take some really good shows to Freedom, but the festival is going to be restructured from next year,” he said.

Heads Up Festival has always been a twice yearly event every March and September but from next year it will be an annual event with it taking place in March although this doesn’t mean that Heads Up won’t have a bond with Freedom Festival.

“We hope that Heads Up Festival, as a brand, will be able to contribute theatre to Freedom Festival,” he continued.

Talking about the changes coming due to the involvement of Battersea Arts Centre coming to an end as well he said: “We’re in ongoing conversation with Battersea Arts Centre to make sure that Heads Up has got a future so it’s part of a thing called the collaborative touring network.”

Speaking next of future plans for the festival moving forward to 2017 with a purposeful look about him he says, “We’re seeing it as maybe a bit of an international festival, kind of like maybe the Edinburgh Fringe, although that’s a really big ambition.

“The festival was already going before we won City of Culture so Heads Up was a sign of Hull’s ambition, but now we want it to grow and go to other parts of Hull other than just in the city centre.”

We then spoke about what shows that are coming up in September for this Heads Up Festival and the first one that gets mentioned is one written by Mr Windass called Revolutions which has been in development for about two years and is being shown by Ensemble 52 at Freedom Festival first before moving on to a short run at Hull Truck Theatre.

“For me as one of Ensemble 52’s team, and the writer of that show, it’s very exciting to present that show as part of Freedom Festival and at Hull Truck.

“We’ve also got a show at Freedom Festival called At The End of Everything Else which is going to be in the big top and it’s powered by pedal power with the actors actually on bikes to provide the power for the show.

“Wot? No Fish!! Is also a great show that will be on at Kardomah 94 on the 2nd weekend of the Festival.

“The whole festival has some really innovative work that’s really human to the core that people will be really able to identify with.”

Talking about companies that Heads Up would like to forge partnerships with names like Middle Child, Silent Uproar and Pony Express Theatre Company are mentioned along with many others.

“Hull’s theatre ecology is really exciting and I think Heads Up is a really good umbrella for them to present their work.”

ChristopherBrettBailey_THISISHOWWEDIE_2_Credit Claire Haigh

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Q and A With Dave Windass About Heads Up Festival

IPJ. You said in a recent interview “We’re developing a bad habit of shunning conventional theatre spaces” will this continue?

  1. I would like to think we’ll continue to explore other spaces in the future, it keeps you on your toes but is very expensive, it is very fashionable to do work in these site specific spaces but also it does restrict audience numbers sometimes.

IPJ. How important are places like Hull Truck to Ensemble 52 and Heads Up Festival?

  1. Hull Truck is a partner this year because Battersea Arts Centre approached them 2 years ago so they’re very important.

IPJ. Do you personally have any out of the ordinary spaces that you would like to take Heads Up Festival to in future?

  1. I would like to use the Lord Line Building, the Rank Hovis Building and the swing bridge in the old town but that’s not to say that we would create work specifically for those spaces it would still be a case of ‘Where would this piece of work fit?’

IPJ. Will Heads Up Festival ever venture outside Hull to places like maybe Beverley or Cottingham?

  1. No because of the partnership with Battersea Arts Centre we have to keep it inside Hull but we’ll try and take it as far and wide as possible from one end of Hull to the other, we’d like to reach out to disengaged audiences.

IPJ. Do any of the upcoming events particularly stand out to you personally?

  1. I’m excited about The Adventure which is an immersive story for kids that’s showing at Central Library, I would love to go and see that, Lorraine and Alan and also Gloriator, which is a female version of Gladiator also look very good.

IPJ. What about Penny Duck Theatre?

  1. We’ve worked many time with Andy Wilson who is one of the founder members of Penny Duck, they’re doing a double bill so people are getting two for the price of one, one is called Hair of the Dog and the other is Deja Shoe and knowing them as well as we do we know laughs will be guaranteed.

IPJ. What is happening with Ensemble 52 about 2017 now?

  1. We want Heads Up to be sustainable by 2017 because the agreement with Battersea Arts Centre comes to a close in 2016 so if it is we’ll hopefully attract some international acts then.

IPJ. Were you happy with how the production of Yalda went this week?

DW. Yes, Yalda is a piece in development, we know it requires further work, it gave us opportunity to see if we want to continue with it, the next version will have more action, more movement, more dance and a bit more physicality.