For every traditional theatre opening in London — red velvet seats, ice cream in the interval, a clear point at which to start applauding — there is an experimental theatre event. Following straight on from Sprint at CPT and One on One at BAC, here comes the Spill Festival, now in its fourth year.
Spill Festival 2011 has a theme: infection. The line-up of international, established and emerging artists range from large-scale theatre pieces to small, intimate interventions. There's dance, music, installations and unclassifiable work to be found at the Barbican and the National Theatre Studio, plus talks, salons, films and, intriguingly, feasts.
One of the larger experiences is Glorious at the Barbican, an unconventional musical about optimism that is reinterpreted for every venue it plays in, involving locals in each staging. Over Easter weekend, which wraps up the festival, the Spill National Platform presents 12 emerging artists specially chosen as the future of experimental, challenging work. Participation is heartily encouraged, with lots of things in place, such as the Thinker In Residence and Spill Speak, to start people discussing what they've seen and the state of the art in question.
Book now, by venue, by artist, by date or by the extent to which you think you can be challenged.
Spill Festival 2011, Monday 18 to Sunday 24 April at the Barbican and the National Theatre Studio. For full programme and ticket information, go to the Spill Festival website.