PREVIEW: HOTBED – A Festival of Sex

Louise Orwin | Pony Boy Curtis | Rebecca Atkinson-Lord and Greg Wohead | Lois Weaver | Beta Public | Propolis Theatre | Rachel Mars | and much, much more…

We live in a world saturated with sexual imagery – but how often do we talk about sex as it’s really felt, experienced or imagined? And why is theatre so seldom a part of that conversation? Hotbed is the Camden People’s Theatre’s brand new festival of sex from Tuesday April 25 – Saturday May 14: three weeks of adventurous performance guaranteed to expand your carnal knowledge. From the ubiquity of porn to the secrets of your sexual fantasies, from a celebration of sex-positivity to the difficulties of representing sex onstage, CPT’s sexual congress lays bare sex, 2017-style.

The festival is headlined by OH YES OH NO (April 26 – May 11), the brand-new show from Louise Orwin, creator of previous CPT hits Pretty Ugly and A Girl and A Gun. Her new show explores real sex and real bodies, trying to understand what you want and how to ask for it, in a conversation in which (almost) everyone is allowed to speak.

Legendary theatre maker – and former CPT Artistic Director – Chris Goode returns to Hampstead Road his ‘avante-garde performance boyband’, Ponyboy Curtis, premiering walk pause walk (May 12 – 14), a piece inspired by sources ranging from anarchist literature to skate culture to contemporary gay porn – it’s like a cross between an open rehearsal and an intimate gig, in which the boys explore the codes of masculinity, queerness and tribalism though a series of increasingly eroticised unrehearsed encounters.

Other highlights of the programme include Rebecca Atkinson-Lord and Greg Wohead’s new collaboration, Snowballing (May 10-11), sharing their own experiences, fantasies, mistakes and hopes about sex and relationships.

Legendary performance artist Lois Weaver investigates the truth about sex at midlife and beyond in What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex (May 6).

And Propolis Theatre’s SPILL: A Verbatim Show About Sex (April 27 – 29) does exactly what it says on the tin. With songs.

The festival features a programme of wraparound activity. Thomas Martin and Pat Ashe’s iconic night of work at the meeting point of theatre and videogaming, Beta Public (May 2), returns, for a one-off orgy of all things sex and sex-positive in performance and play.

Putting In A Good Performance: The Ethics of Presenting Sex (May 6) is a panel discussion bringing together theatre makers and ethical pornographers to consider the implications of presenting sex for a viewing audience.

And Rachel Mars and friends including Brian Lobel, Season Butler and Naomi Woddis unite for Your Sexts Are Shit: Older Better Letters (May 4), a sharing of some of the most brilliant and filthy sex letters from artists such as James Joyce, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe.

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