Lowri Evans and Martha Kiss Perrone
21 October, 2021

Thinking about Transform 21-22

Written by Amy Letman

Today we launched Transform 21-22, an extended festival for our times. 

After the disarray of the last two years, we’re trying to think differently about what it means to put on a festival in this particular moment. Trying to resist the inevitable urge of ‘going back to normal.’ The pandemic turned a lot of our ideas about festival and art-making on their heads. It forced us to take a step back, and urged us to reflect.  

At this moment, we want to try and hold on to that space for reflection, to hold on to the urge of thinking differently about how we as culture-makers operate. We want to hold on to a space for renewal and hope. This is what Transform 21-22 is all about. It’s a space to think differently about what an international performance festival can look and represent in the future. Over the next 6 months, we will be experimenting with a different kind of festival approach. We will be thinking about and experimenting with pace, duration, new models of collaboration and co-creation.

Alongside presenting finished shows and exciting premieres (such as 12 Last Songs, which opens this weekend, and The Ofrenda, which we’ve just announced and which will underpin the duration of the extended festival) we are inviting a series of collaborators (including MEXA, jumatatu m. poe, Rachel Mars, Lowri Evans and Martha Kiss Peronne) to embark on the creation and development of future-facing projects. Many of these projects will involve working deeply with local residents and artists across the city, and some will culminate as part of Transform 21-22, others will be realised much further in the future as part of Transform 23. 

As the extended festival and these different kinds of collaborations gather momentum, we wanted to carve out a space where we can open up our thinking and process. This ‘Thinking’ section on our website will act as a scrap book and a chance to delve deeper into projects and collaborations. 

We’re launching this space today with some gorgeous content from Quarantine and the 12 Last Songs creation process. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to share essays, galleries, videos, interviews and more as Transform 21-22 evolves. Towards the end of the extended festival, we hope to be able to consolidate some of these reflections and thinking into a print edition that we can share with our wider community as a memento of Transform 21-22. 

We are thrilled to be working on this with the very brilliant James Varney. Based in Manchester, James is a writer, dramaturge and theatre maker. He has been coming to, and writing about, our festivals for many years. Before the pandemic, we started a conversation with James about what writing for performance can look like in the future, and how a festival and ‘theatre critic’ might collaborate more closely. We’re very pleased that he’s agreed to join us on this journey and will be curating this space on our website from hereon in.  

We hope you will check back in and find some space to delve deeper into Transform 21-22 with James, the Transform team, and the incredible artists that we are so deeply lucky to be working with. 

See you soon!

Amy x  


Image: Lowri Evans and Martha Kiss Perrone