Mayfly (2005)

Mayfly was created for outdoor music and arts festival campsites, because why should the crazy fun stop when you leave the stages to go to bed?

Mayfly explores the hidden potential in people and situations. By creating a surprising and mysterious sound and light show inside an ordinary 2 person dome tent, Mayfly gently suggests that things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Mayfly is based on the life cycle of a real mayfly, an insect known for
its short life span.
The adult mayfly lives for as little as five minutes during which it must eat, mate and lay its eggs in the river. The dead or dying adult lays on the water’s surface with its wings spread.

The connection between the fleeting lifetime of the mayfly and the temporary nature of festival campsites was the inspiration for making the work.

The making of Mayfly was funded by Arts Council England. The presentation of Mayfly at Upstaging Nature (2007) was commissioned by Lookoutpost and the London Wildlife Trust.

“I thought it was fantastic, I really liked the whole concept. It looked beautiful and at the same time eerie, and I liked that contrast”
“Puzzling, unique, and it does make you think, because you can make up your own interpretation of it.”
“I can’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before.”
Mayfly Audience Members

  • A bite-sized night time performance that draws people to it like insects to a light. Sticky sounds of unfurling wings combine with smoky shadows and luminous lights to create an experience described by spectators as 'bizarre', 'beautiful' and 'unexpected'.

Behind the scenes at Mayfly

July 19, 2013 by

Watch the video showing how Mayfly is done. Warning – contains spoilers!

Mayfly Press

July 12, 2013 by

Having previous explored territory that spills from physical theatre into art installation, The Other Way Works’ latest production, Mayfly, finds the group straying into the realms of guerilla theatre with a short, sharp intervention that combines music and light projection with physical performance.
Uniquely, Mayfly has actually been conceived for large festival campsites, where the five-minute outdoor piece will be performed at unannounced times in random locations. Shock and surprise are key as an anonymous two-person tent suddenly comes alive with light projections and contorting shadows, accompanied by an unsettling electro-acoustic score by composer Nuri Fontanals-Simmons. Inside the tent, The Other Way Works founders Katie Day and Jane Packman writhe, casting shadows on the interior.
Mayfly is perhaps less ambitious than the troupe’s touring autumn show, Homing Instinct, a complex interactive performance/installation that explores the universal longing for home, yet both underline the Birmingham company’s commitment to producing challenging shows.

METRO Birmingham

Mayfly Performance History


Upstaging Nature Sydenham Hill Woods, SE London August 2007
The Green Man Festival Brecon Beacons August 2007
Greenbelt Arts Festival Cheltenham Spa August 2006
The Vale Festival Birmingham University July 2006
The Big Chill Festival Eastnor Castle Deer Park Herefordshire August 2005
Bestival Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight September 2005
Highbury Park Birmingham July 2005

Rain, Rain, Go away

August 20, 2007 by

Just back from the Green Man festival in Wales.  There was a lot of rain, but it didn’t dampen our spirits.  We managed to perform Mayfly despite the weather.  From inside the tent, while performing the show, you always hear the comments of the people watching outside.  At the Big Chill, someone asked our steward if there were robots inside the tent (there aren’t, it’s 2 performers), the steward happened to be my husband, and said "No, its my wife in there."  The audience member persisted incredulously, "Is your wife an android?"  Too many drugs for that one I think…  This time we heard someone describing the tent as looking like a Lava Lamp, and a lot of laughing at the shadow of me trying to swat a fly.