Interview With…Jose Canseco

Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to the theatre producer about a new digital arts festival for fringe performances.

 Hi Jose, could you tell me more about the festival? Virtual Variety Fest has become a platform for artists and other creatives to form a community and present their work. This has also become a great chance for artists to use different tools to adapt their performances to be presented online. Ultimately, our mission is to build bridges between artists and audiences despite the distance and allow creatives to keep making bold performances.

 How did the idea for the festival come about? The idea was developed my Colombian Producer María Cuervo and myself. We were both Creative Producer students at Central School of Speech and Drama. We saw different creative responses to the global crisis and we did not want to be left behind. We had plans to work collaboratively on a festival targeting international artists, but when theatres started to close down we shifted that idea to a digital platform instead. We named the festival the Virtual Variety Fest, firstly because it would be presented online, and secondly because we wanted to open this platform not only for theatre but for other art forms.

What kind of material for the festival are you looking for? We are looking for dance, theatre, spoken word, theatre, clown, drag performances, and more. We are encouraging people to apply with any art form.

When will it take place? Applications close this Monday 18th of May and shows will be live streamed this 4th, 5th and 6th of June.

What have you enjoyed the most about creating this festival? For myself, I believe keeping myself occupied. Working on the things that I enjoy and I’m passionate about. This has also been a great learning opportunity. I had not live-streamed until two months ago, and now it has a purpose, a creative purpose, which comes to show how versatile and ingenious we have become.When we had the first edition of the festival in April I was in awe of the way that artists adapted, There was a lot of effort, creativity, and thought put into these performances. They made it so enjoyable to watch. It brought some passion and hope to my life, which I need, especially during these times.  

What do you hope to achieve from the festival? The festival aims to bring that sense of community to our creative sector. We want artists to connect with other artists and audiences and keep creating. Sometimes we need a little push or an excuse to perform, well, this is a great excuse! Even though it is not the same as presenting in front of dozens of people that warmth and appreciation from spectators is there, only digitally. The festival is a great way to get authentic stories from around the world and reconnect with people again. On a personal level, I hope to create more connections with artists and creatives. As well as make the connections that I already have grown. I hope that these bonds that I have created will evolve into something more meaningful in a short or long term.  

By Emma Clarendon

For more information about Virtual Variety Fest visit:

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