Festival offers Fresh perspective

Last week saw the launch of FreshBlood’s first FreshFest, a free, student-run theatre festival held at Warwick.

Run by a team of 18 student writers and directors, FreshFest featured an underground jazz bar party, comedy and writing workshops, dance and music performances and multiple student-written plays.

The festival was hosted by FreshBlood, a society which promotes student-written drama through frequent written productions, plays, cabarets and other performances.

Despite what its name suggests, FreshFest was not just aimed at Freshers; it was targeted at all theatre and performance lovers to give them an opportunity to observe and work with other literary and performing talents across the University.

The entire week was co-ordinated by Theatre students Judith Durkin and Ben Borowiecki, who judged the week to be a great success, with a good attendance.

Borowiecki expressed that the remit of FreshBlood is to support student writing in all forms, not simply traditional theatre performances, with which the society is generally associated. “It’s been restricted to theatre in the past few years. What FreshFest has tried to do is to open people up and encourage people of all kinds of writing to get involved.”

Furthermore, Borowiecki emphasised that FreshBlood was not just a society for theatre students, despite the heavy emphasis on theatre.

“We want FreshBlood to be not a theatre society but a creative society. I really want people to come and feel included, it’s not an elite thing. People aren’t high pressured, we want it to be a place for fun.”

When questioned on the purpose of the creation of the five-day festival, Borowiecki commented: “Fresh Blood has been floundering a bit in recent years. … Plays haven’t been unified [under] any one banner. … We want[ed] to get them under one big event.”

He expressed the problems that the society faced when multiple plays were being performed at the same time, which divided audiences. FreshFest was an “attempt to get more publicity shared between the plays”, rather than scrapping for the same audiences.

Previously, FreshBlood’s main presence has been based in Leamington. However, all of this week’s events took place on campus, and even the Dirty Duck Snug was the stage to one of the featured plays, ‘To Will’, which exhibits two colleagues toasting to the life, work and world of the recently deceased Shakespeare.

Third-year Philosophy student Megan Fortune spoke highly of ‘To Will’, one of eight student-written plays performed this week. “[It] was definitely the best play I’ve seen so far this year … The audience and I were laughing from start to finish.”

The organisers were extremely pleased at the success of FreshFest, and hope to make it an annual event.


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