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Performers swarm in for third Buzzcut festival

There is a definite buzz about Govan this week - the third Buzzcut festival is taking over the Pearce Institute in Govan Road for the next five days and live art activities are not simply confined to the building.

WILL DICKIE: He will be outdoors for Team Of The Decade.
WILL DICKIE: He will be outdoors for Team Of The Decade.

Nearby streets, open spaces and landmark sites of historic and heritage interest will become locations of choice for some of the 50 or so performers lined up by the curators Rosana Cade and Nick Anderson.

That number represents about a quarter of the applications the duo received when their open call for submissions went out earlier this year. "It's the biggest response we have ever had," says Anderson. "To be honest, it is a bit humbling, because we are still running this as a free festival, basically. We can offer performers free food, and a place to stay - all our friends and fellow performers in Glasgow are giving house room to the visiting artists - but even though we have some financial support we still can't do fees.

"And when you get not just newcomers and emerging artists, but established, experienced performers willing to take part in Buzzcut - just wanting to show their work in Glasgow, connect with the audience here... it really gives you a sense of community, not just in Scotland but throughout the UK and beyond."

Cade picks up on this idea of community, as she explains about the how and why of locating Buzzcut in Govan. "We had come to the Pearce Institute last summer," she says, "when we were looking for a venue to do a workshop we were hosting with Imaginate, the people behind the children's theatre festival. Everywhere we looked we saw beautiful spaces and also the history of a place and a community. We had been thinking a lot about our festival really reaching out to people. Wondering how we could involve them, bring in an audience who had not been to a Buzzcut event - because not everyone has wanted to spend a cold Sunday watching radical work in the Glue Factory, would you believe?"

Both laugh at memories of shivering for the sake of live art, but their concerns about accessibility are genuine and in no way tokenistic. "That day, we just walked about the area," says Anderson. "And we agreed: we would be back to have a different conversation, one that we hoped would see Buzzcut 2014 in Govan." Not just the five-day festival either. Again with Imaginate on board, the team have started up a youth group that elected to be called the MopTops. Come June, they will show their own performance work but before then, they will be among the audiences who can enjoy any or all of the Buzzcut festival free - it is still a 'no ticket/no charges' affair.

About £10,000 has again come from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, and that - along with support from Creative Scotland, Imaginate and Chichester University - has helped cover organisational costs. But not marketing. "We do not do glossy promotional stuff," says Anderson. "We have some wee badges, but no T-shirts or bags, no big posters or even brochures - we will print out daily running orders, but, really, that is as far as it, and our spending on it, goes. All the details are on our website, but people can just turn up, wander about, see shows or just sit in the cafe - Stereo are running that, so there will be hot food."

And hot talent, too. Cade and Anderson remember that doyenne of quirky word-play (and pink hair), Silvia Ziranek from the glory days of Nikki Milican's National Review Of Live Art and are truly thrilled she is on show every day. Will Dickie had such an affirming response to his work last year that he is back again, this time in an American football helmet for Team Of The Decade which, like Nic Green's An Clutha - Where Place Takes Change project (in association with Gal Gael), goes out-of-doors.

Claire Cunningham offers a first glimpse of her new Bosch-inspired work, Give Me A Reason To Live, while London-based Foxy and Husk are also in the rich mix, which Cade and Anderson say is not about being "bigger and better" but rather "deeper and different".

Being under the one roof make a difference that still amazes them. "It really has taken some of the stress away," says Cade. "It was always a bit of a worry, asking people to find their way from one venue to another, especially if they did not know Glasgow. But what really got to us was … it's warm! At first, we just thought that was the building having proper heating, but we have realised it is also the people working and using the building. So now we see Buzzcut as a beginning here, a start to us and Govan going on a shared journey."

Buzzcut is at the Pearce Institute, Govan from tomorrow to Sunday

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