Cornerstone Arts Festival — The Highlights

Ascension (26/11), Cornerstone Festival, 2014

Exploring pre-Vivaldi Venice, Metadesign and male identity through contemporary dance, this year’s Cornerstone Festival at Liverpool Hope University is a truly diverse one, finds Heather Garner…

Tonight, Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus opens its doors to the public in a showcase of international music, dance, drama and arts. The 14-year old Cornerstone Arts Festival has this year had a makeover; seeking to reimagine of notions of identity, the creative process, collaboration and participation by firstly making it a compulsory part of the university offer for its students, and secondly, working directly with an impressive group of local and international artists and performers.

Kicking off the festival tonight is Venice’s Janus Face (7.30pm, Capstone Theatre), from director Judith Hamza and violinist (and festival Creative Director) Dr Alberto Sanna; a performance that reimagines and reconstructs the heritage of this magical city with music that is perhaps best described as abstract and experimental. It presents a Venice pre-Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, where the secular and sacred co-habited in the city squares, halls and churches.

The cultural exploration continues with the UK’s foremost progressive Indian arts organisation, Milapfest, and In-Sieme (23/11); a collective that consists of the Indian music ensemble Tarang and the Western Classical group Gli Archi del Cherubino from Italy. In-Sieme highlights a rich diversity of cultural and creative pursuits; it’s a representation of traditional folk and dance from two wildly different places.

“Our highlight comes from Professor John Wood, whose previous experience as a performer in the 1973 cult rock band Deaf School has led to his research into ‘Metadesign’”

In terms of public talks, our highlight comes from Professor John Wood (24/11) whose previous experience as a performer in the 1973 cult rock band Deaf School, and his later progression to professorship at Goldsmith College, has led to his research into ‘Metadesign’. Such a topic delves into the social, economic and practical processes that can be used as a means of creating innovative and collaborative design work.

In-Sieme featuring Tarang and Cherubino (23/11), Cornerstone Festival

Further broadening the creative horizons of students and the wider public alike is Beauty of the Beast (22/11) from dance theatre group Company Chameleon, which delves into complex notions of male identity. You can also expect a reimagining of the literary classic Around the World in 80 Days (25/11) from Uproot Thetare; a merging of dance and digital technology from North-West dance groups in Ascension (26/11, main picture); and a timely discussion of the representation of women in the media from The Guardian’s Holly Baxter (27/11).

“It’s a unique opportunity for students to work directly with the festival performers”

This revamped Cornerstone Festival is, as director Alberto Sanna proudly states, “Part of the public image of the university and the learning experience of our students”.  After all, this is, first and foremost, a place of higher education. With this in mind, this year the programme leaders of Liverpool Hope’s creative courses have formed a Special Timetable for the duration of the festival, in which students are required to participate in workshops (plus a Creative Careers Day) that have been curated to fit their individual areas of specialism. It’s a unique opportunity for students to work directly with the festival performers, plus invited local practitioners (including contemporary artists Gina Czarnecki, Fran Disley and Dave Jacques, performance artist and dancer Mary Pearson, and photographer Wesley Storey).

This Monday, Cornerstone will also announce the top ten shortlist for the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize (1pm, Capstone Theatre), the lucky winner receiving a cash prize of £10,000 and their work considered for staging by the Royal Court theatre.

In conclusion, it is from an educational and collaborative perspective that this year’s Cornerstone Festival presents a truly diverse and unique offer; an experience of the arts in all of its forms that feels genuinely different from other Liverpool festivals, and one that we recommend you explore.

Heather Garner

Catch Cornerstone Arts Festival from Friday 21 November to Saturday 29 November 2014

Individual Tickets: Full price £10, concession £7 (Liverpool Hope University staff, students from other institution, under 16s and over 65s). Festival Pass: Full price £50, concession £35. Free to Liverpool Hope students!

Hear The Double Negative’s views on pursing a creative career — with Frank Cottrell Boyce and ACME Liverpool — at Hope’s Creative Careers Day, Tuesday 25 November, 1-4pm, free

Posted on 21/11/2014 by thedoublenegative