Act Art 5

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Do you take Oliver Frost and Marc Massive‘s Act Art show in sickness and in health? Especially in sickness? Time Out says ’I do‘

  • Act Art 5

    Oliver Frost and Marc Massive should have checked what the other was wearing (image © Vanda Playford)

  • At last year’s Act Art event, Oliver Frost and Marc Massive cut the word ‘forever’ into each other’s back. The year before, they were enveloped in meat. This year, they plan to write wedding vows on each other’s legs. Using scalpels. Act Art – it’s a club ’n’ art event like no other.

    ‘It’s an indoor festival without the mud and the hippies,’ says Marc Massive who, with his partner Oliver Frost, curates the annual mass of underground, genre-hopping artists and performers who revel in the absolute creative freedom offered. The event takes the couple six months to put together, and they spend six months recovering, laughs Frost. He adds that as of next year, they are hoping to produce two shows a year.


    Every year has a theme, explains Massive, who came on board for the third event, with Act Art being predominantly about the body. ‘Each year we have a subtitle, and this year it’s “Till Death Us Do Art”. It’s about ceremony and the ritual of ceremonies, together and unity. A number of participating artists use the theme as a point of reference in their work, including the performances that Oliver and I create.’

    Frustrated with trying to find festivals willing to put on his own extreme performance art pieces, Frost says that the only solution was to create a festival of his own.

    ‘I wanted a mix of people from the art scenes and the gay scenes,’ says Frost. ‘It had to be a club-art event rather than just a pure art-world event.’ The first in 2003 attracted 500 revellers and around 40 performers. This year’s event will fill The Arches’ five railway arches with 120 performers, DJs, musicians, artists, film-makers and those who defy ready-made description. Scottee, Ryan Styles, Timberlina and Booby are among the many appearing this year.

    ‘The artists appreciate that there is no censoring at all,’ says Frost. ‘They can do whatever they like, and that creates a lot of excitement in them.’

    Where does he find them? ‘I was born in London and have lived here my whole life,’ says Frost, ‘and I’ve studied on just about every different art course there is, so I’ve met a lot of artists along the way! We use these contacts with new graduates and art institutions to create a platform for new artists to show works alongside more established practitioners. I think London has always been the place to be whatever you want to be and that alone is a major contributing factor to the explosion of madness on the creative scene right now. Of course, just by living in London you’ve got a plethora of talent at your finger tips, especially since the rise in new alternative cabaret.’

    Act Art 5 is this Friday.

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