Forty years of Desperate Men

Festival of Desperation logo

If you can believe it, 2020 marks Desperate Men’s 40th birthday. Four decades have passed since the company emerged blinking and roaring into the world in Berlin’s Tanzfabrik studios in September 1980.

We had a full roster of events planned to mark the anniversary but with Covid-19 stealing our thunder, we have had to adapt. The arts face the toughest times in recent history but we believe in the power of creativity to  connect people even when we can’t gather in person.

This being so, we will kick off celebrations in September with a combination of live performance and digital events, including a virtual birthday cake and curated collection of responses to Desperate Men’s 40 years of work. An adapted Wye Valley River Festival will follow from September 21st – 27th.

We hope to welcome guests to more live events and celebrations in 2021, including our ambitious new work in progress, An End to Desperation.

For our digital anniversary offering this month, we’re inviting reflections on the ten years since the Festival of Desperation in 2010. How has the past decade been for you? We’d love to hear your stories, desperate or otherwise. Email us words and photos at
The Wye Valley River Festival will go ahead with a series of hyper-local events from Sept 21st – 27th, including a brand new episodic film, ‘Cuckoo Time‘ (logo by keelertornero & Robert Stevens), movies broadcast by bicycle and digital contributions from local residents. Click here to find out to join in online.
Washed Up, our crowdfunded film by Rough Glory about the ‘combustible relationship’ that drives us to keep making work after nearly 40 years, has now won 5 awards. The latest is Best Editing at Close:Up Edinburgh Docufest. Click here to find out how to book a screening.
During lockdown our beautiful studio has been used for filming, both for our Wye Valley film Cuckoo Time and for Balley TV, a music chat show hosted by Joe Talbot from Bristol band Idles. If you’re interested in filming here, get in touch.

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