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MAYFEST | Visit our Front Room for Mayfest’s program of artist talks, panel discussions, long tables, and storytimes.

This year’s Mayfest asks many questions about the world we’re living in, and the responsibilities we have to each other as human beings. From the difficult to the downright scary, none of them has easy answers – but we don’t have to answer them alone.

MAYK, the team behind Mayfest, will for the duration of the festival take up residence in our Front Room. We’re working together to create a space where you can come along and know you’ll encounter other citizens-of-the-Mayfest-world, ready to talk, tease out, and work through your thoughts on the festival performances, and the ideas within them. 

The schedule will evolve and respond as the festival progresses. Here’s what we know:

– There will be daily events from Saturday 12th, announced each morning; follow us on social media to get the updates.

– Anyone can suggest a conversation – or run one themselves! Suggest via #mayfestopensessions and turn up at 1pm for these Open Sessions.

– Tuesdays and Saturdays, at 6pm, bring a plate and meet the Mayfest artists for a shared meal.

Check in on Arnolfini’s Twitter for daily updates on what’s happening in the Front Room during the festival.



Wednesday 16th May @ 11am – New British Music Theatre

As part of Mayfest we are working with New British Music Theatre to facilitate an informal conversation around music and performance. 

Basically this is a chance to get together and share our experiences of what it means to be creating performance in this context.

NBMT is an artist-led initiative established to help identify, promote and connect this work across the UK and internationally.


Friday 18th May @ 5pm – Mashirika Arts Discussion

Join Artistic Director of Mashirka Arts, Hope Azeda and visiting artists from Kigali for an informal discussion about their work, the Rwandan cultural context and their time here in Bristol. 


Saturday 19th May @ 11am – Old Stock and Jewish Renaissance

Following her recent chat with 2b theatre company writer Hannah Moskavitch, Jewish Renaissance writer Judi Herman joins us in the front room to discuss Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story with company member Christian Barry. Find out more about the true tale of two refugees arriving in Nova Scotia in 1908, having fled the pogroms in Romania, told through klezmer music and life-affirming drama. Check out Judi’s interview with Hannah here to get a taster of this great Front Room discussion.


Throughout the week – Resting Space: ‘If we all lay down more, would the world be a better place?’

Raquel is interested in the simple act of lying down in public, and is curious about the different kinds of conversation we can have, lying side by side. During Mayfest, she will be doing a series of horizontal interviews with visiting companies and other interesting folk in the Mayfest Resting Space (Arnolfini Front Room). 

Her work challenges the etiquette of our public spaces and ask us to re-imagining our use of public space, in a more fluid and playful way.