HighTide Festival

If you have been wondering what the big UFO like dome is that has appeared on town square, then wonder no more. It’s a temporary theatre space called the mix, and is home to the High Tide Festival. High Tide, as the name would suggest, can usually be found by the coast. But this year, after a run in Aldeburgh, High Tide packed its bags, waved cheerio to the pebble beaches of Suffolk, and headed to Walthamstow. The festival, which opened last week, has a pretty packed programme of theatre, comedy, music, and even puppetry. On Saturday I went along to see a show, and checked out our visitor from the coast.

The Mix isn’t on its own on Town Square, it’s joined by food & drink stalls from our very own Night Feast, and there’s a bar inside a tipi. It’s a pretty impressive setup actually, though there is one thing I would change, the fences. The entire site is surrounded by security fencing, which I completely get. I’m sure if it wasn’t there the tipi would probably find its self floating down the River Lea one night. But, I think it would be nice if the fencing came down during the times the festival site was running, make it more open to the community. The beauty of mobile theatre spaces is that you can take theatre to people, unfortunately, surrounding that theatre with fences can put people off. As I say though, that’s just a small gripe, overall the festival site is pretty cool.

I have no complaints about the space its self, it is incredible. If it looks like a UFO from the outside, it feels more like a TARDIS on the inside. A sea of multi coloured seats stretch out before you when you walk in. The metal frame-work with embedded lights is just like some of the incarnations of the TARDIS, especially during the day when the ceiling glows blue as daylight gently illuminates it. I was expecting a tent with some folding chairs in it, but the mix is purpose-built theatre, it just happens to mobile. Sitting inside waiting for the play to begin on Saturday, it was easy to forget where I was, just the occasional distant rumble of a bus at the station reminded me I was still in Walthamstow.

The play I went to see was Kanye The first, a new play by Sam Steiner. The drama revolves around the second coming of Kanye West, and as you can imagine, it has some incredibly funny moments. Kanye is on again next week on the 5th & 7th October. The festival is with us until 8th October, and there’s a lot to see. E17’s own Red Imp comedy pop on Wednesday, the Beat Box Collective are here on Saturday, and Swansong, a show that I’ve seen in Edinburgh is here on Sunday. There’s so much on not every show is taking place in the Mix, some events are over at Mirth, Marvel, Maud.

A UFO has landed on Town Square, and it’s bought with it a really good festival. With another week of shows and events to go, take a look at the High Tide whats on page and get booking your tickets. For listings and more info on High Tide, click here.

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