Caro Meets Children's Show Interview Festivals Interview

Adrian Berry: Postcards festival at Jacksons Lane

By | Published on Wednesday 5 July 2017

Coming up at Jacksons Lane is the two-week long Postcards Festival, a showcase of mostly shorter work covering a broad sweep of genres. There are lots and lots of great events – a veritable smorgasbord – and the whole thing is ‘pay what you decide’.
To find out more about the festival, I managed a quick chat with the man behind it, Jacksons Lane’s artistic director, Adrian Berry.

CM: Can you start by telling us about what to expect from the Postcards Festival – what range of events can we look forward to?
AB: A giant multicultural meze of exhilarating shows, immersive ‘happenings’ and in-your-face circus, cabaret and extraordinary performance. Everything is exclusive to Jacksons Lane which means you can’t see the shows anywhere else in the capital, and many of them are one-offs – blink and you’ll miss them.

CM: Why was the festival created, and by whom? What are its aims?
AB: Me, really, after I realised I was turning down lots of work on the basis that it was too short. Someone came to me with a brilliant two minute aerial piece, so I started putting together some really out-there mixed circus shorts, and it progressed and developed from there. The name Postcards related to the brevity of the pieces – short and snappy, but colourful and international too.

CM: How do you decide what will be on at the festival?
AB: I go and see a lot of work, I approach artists with new ideas, and we bring in the odd guest curator for some of the cabarets. For example, about two years ago I saw an amazing all black female night at the Arcola called ‘Blaxploitation’ and it really stuck with me. I sought out the producer Sadie Sinner this year, and we got together to think about what we could do to make something extra special for Postcards, which was also unique to our venue. Pretty much everything in the festival is brand new too – that’s very important.

CM: What’s the reason for making all the shows ‘pay what you decide’?
AB: Mainly to give people choice and to provide the opportunity for those who can’t afford seeing arts and culture in our capital. So if you’re a student or not working there is no barrier to coming to Postcards, as many times as you like. If you can only afford 10p, then that’s ok. I think it’s hugely important what we are doing. Having said that, if you are stinking rich and want to pay £100 for a ticket after the show you are most welcome.

CM: It’s probably an impossible question to answer, but is there anything in the programme you are especially looking forward to?
AB: I’ll be here for every single night, but my secret (now not so secret) thrill is for the ‘Cocoa Butter Club Speakeasy’, and the Danish circus company Tanter making their London debut with ‘Vixen’. I caught it in Sweden and audiences are in for such a treat.

CM: For anyone who’s not familiar with Jacksons Lane, can you elaborate on the ethos and aims of the venue?
AB: Jacksons Lane is like a giant social experiment with a brilliant theatre at the heart of it. We have so many communities we work with – the circus community, young people in Tottenham where we do all our amazing outreach, extending to us being the only arts centre that opens on Christmas Day to entertain and provide Christmas dinner for 200 older people who would otherwise spend it alone. Our ethos is all about inclusivity, but also about great art and opportunity.

CM: What else is coming up in the next few months?
AB: Brand new circus from Kathmandu, a week of visual theatre called (yes…) Jacksons Five, a brilliant new adaptation of Peter Pan for Christmas and some contemporary dance from Korea!

The Postcards Festival takes place at Jacksons Lane from 11-29 Jul, see the venue website here for details of all the shows involved.