Your Local Guardian: Staipelochian, a black comedy

Kingston’s International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF) got off to a storming start this week.

The festival, which launched at the Rose Theatre last Friday, brings together 70 companies from around the world putting on 200 events across 20 Kingston venues.

The 10-day event is used as a pre-cursor to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Dancers, actors, singers and comedians from across the country have travelled to the borough to perform, with the youngest artists being just five years old.

Festival director Andy Currums said one of the challenges is dealing with such a young cast, but they have had nothing but good feedback in the festival’s first week.
He said: “It’s been really, really good so far, all the participants seem really happy. Alongside many of the shows we’ve only had really good feedback.

“I’ve been involved every year since it first started, firstly as a performer. There are challenges, one of the main things for me is that the participants are a huge part of it.

“We’re just trying to work with young people more.”

For people who have not yet had chance to visit IYAF there are still tickets to be snapped up.

One of this week’s highlights is Staipelochian – a historical black comedy to be performed by the Rampa Theatre Company from Bucharest.

Based on the Varujan Vosganian’s Noble Prize nominated novel The Book of Whispers, it tells the story of the Armenian community in Romania during the 20th century.

Armine Vosganian, from Rampa, said: “This is our first time going abroad with our theatre work and we’re really excited.”

The show is being performed at Kingston College’s Arthur Cotterell Theatre on July 16 at 3:30pm and on July 17 at 7:30pm.

More highlights include pre-Edinburgh comedy from Alfie Brown in the Rose tonight from 9pm and Shakespeare mash-up All’s Well That Ends Love’s Labours on Saturday, July 16, at 8pm.