Theatre / mayfest

First Mayfest 2020 Shows Announced

By steve wright, Tuesday Nov 19, 2019

Mayfest, Bristol’s brilliant biennial international festival of theatre produced by MAYK, returns to venues across Bristol in May 2020, and the first four shows of next year’s lineup have been released.

Kicking off the festival with a bang, Bryony Kimmings returns to Mayfest with her award-winning, critically acclaimed smash hit I’m a Phoenix, Bitch (Bristol Old Vic, May 6-9), a deeply personal musical about postnatal breakdowns, an imploding relationship and an extremely sick child.

Combining personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music, Bryony creates a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. “Bryony Kimmings’ deeply personal show is an exhilarating ride via pop video, horror movie, art installation and therapy session,” said The Guardian’s five-star review.

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Bryony Kimmings’ new film Last Christmas, written with Emma Thompson and directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), is in cinemas now. I’m a Phoenix, Bitch recently enjoyed an extended run at Battersea Arts Centre, a sell-out run at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and an Offies 2019 Award win. It will run at Sydney Opera House in January 2020.

Bryony Kimmings’ ‘I’m a Phoenix, Bitch’ is a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength

Also at Bristol Old Vic, international icon of stage and song and one-man musical phenomenon Le Gateau Chocolat brings his new daring and delicious Pandora to Mayfest 2020 (Bristol Old Vic, May 22-23). For Pandora, he’ll be joined live on stage by the Manchester Camerata chamber orchestra. “A voice that’s like melted butter mixed with brandy: rich and deep,” enthused Broadway Baby.


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At Tobacco Factory Theatres, meanwhile, RashDash’s Oh Mother and Harry Clayton-Wright’s Sex Education explore our relationships to childhood, parents and growing up.

RashDash return to Bristol with their latest hilarious and moving take on life and motherhood, featuring songs, dancing and breastfeeding. Oh Mother (Tobacco Factory Theatres, May 19-23) is the third RashDash show to be presented by MAYK in association with Tobacco Factory Theatres, following the success of Two-Man Show (2017) and the smash hit Three Sisters in 2018.

The brilliant RashDash return to Bristol with ‘Oh Mother’, a hilarious and moving take on motherhood

“Entertainer, performance artist, international mischief maker and internet provocateur” Harry Clayton-Wright makes his Mayfest debut with Sex Education (Spielman Theatre, Tobacco Factory Theatres, May 20-23), the Edinburgh hit that explores how we learn about sex and how it shapes our lives. “Clayton-Wright has complete control over the room’s mood. Achingly funny, filthy and tender,” said The Guardian.

Tickets for the Bristol Old Vic Mayfest shows go on sale at 10am on Thursday, November 21, and for the Tobacco Factory Theatres shows at 10am on Thursday, November 28.

The full Mayfest programme will be announced in early February 2020. You can sign up to be the first to know at, and become a MAYK Friend to receive priority booking at

Pictured top: Harry Clayton-Wright’s Sex Education. Pic: Greg Bailey

Read more: Bristol Old Vic announces 2020 as Year of Artists

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