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Devoted and Disgruntled 8

Making European Theatre HERE

Oliver Lamford - 27 January 2013

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We've had some really inspiring and exciting European work appear in the UK over the past few years. Three Kingdoms, Castellucci, Ostermeier's Hamlet, Alain Platel, and many more.

They've been big scale, ambitious works: There's been a lot of other British theatremakers around who've seen the work, and been really excited by it, and talked about there needing to be more work like this being made here.

But, each time, after the shows move on, the energy seems to dissipate.

We're part of Europe. We make theatre.
How do we make European Theatre happen here?

[* and yes, ‘European theatre’ is a broad term.
It's not about trying to make distinctions based on geography, but it's based on a sense of the inspiring aspects of the work coming here.]

During the talk, people mentioned some of these aspects of the work as being inspiring:
- total theatre - video/scenography/sound as important as the text
- authorship, not a ‘straight’ interpretation of a play
- form can be content
- image over words
There are lots more. Dance and opera are definitely connected.

The group expanded to a circle of 30 people or so over the hour, and a heated sense that this is important.

It's clear there's a hunger among makers to engage with and make this kind of work.

There was a lot of advice to makers and producers to go about doing this:
- Make the work you want to see.
- Host the conversation around your work - workshops and forums after performances, engaging people in what you're doing so they can understand what's going on in it
- make work with an international audience in mind. If you only make for a British audience, it will struggle to travel.
- you can adopt your cultural heritage. Make what matters to you. Don't feel pressured into conforming to a sense of what is supposed to be made here, or what you think will get funding.
- Be bold in your choices. Make your art. ACE is open to that.

We need to see and engage with work over there, and we need to open the channels to bring work over here.


We need a network to help facilitate all this.
- A lot of knowledge and insight exists about reaching out to work over there - knowledge of networks, contacts, promoters. We can share this to promote this kind of work.
- We can promote work of this kind (too often work like this sinks without trace, and needs to link up to help develop an audience). A newsletter and/or facebook page can help achieve this, and can help be a conduit to build a theatre culture around this kind of work.
- We need to keep the pressure and conversation up to advocate for this kind of work. If we keep pushing we can push the theatre culture in this direction over the coming years.
- Creating a sense of momentum for this kind of work - shared community and endeavour, and most importantly including our European compatriots in the conversation and progress. Similar conversations have happened in Poland, Greece, all over. We need to reach out and open doors to them
- An idea of hosting a festival of work of this kind, and the need for partners to make this happen. How do we centre the debate on this subject?
- Is this worth a European Theatre D&D satellite?


There will be a meeting on SAT 9th FEB at Switchback's office at 25b Vyner St E2 9DG at 2:30pm to put turn these ideas into action.

If you're interested, please comment below and/or email oliver@switchbackproductions.org

This is happening.


——————————————————————
Lots of resources for people wanting to make work in Europe were mentioned:

-There are a lot of international RESIDENCIES, some well-funded, available for artists:
Try On The Move, A Cultural Mobility Network - loads of info on opportunities of all kinds across EU - http://on-the-move.org

There are some FESTIVALS open to this kind of work
- BE festival in Birmingham - particularly praised for the engagement around the work, full of workshops and discussions alongside the work
- Mime festival
- Lift Festival
- A festival in Turin, Delle Coline Torinesi (open to UK artists)
- Roma Europa
- Neustucke - in Koln/Cologne - a biennial festival of New Writing, next one in 2014, Mark Ravenhill is a resident artists
- NYC - international Performance Art Fest - Panoply performance lab

Funding:
ACE has an international travelling fund
MEDIA fund from Europe
EU has lots of funding, though it was warned that it's a bureaucratic nightmare.
Visiting Arts

- other interested groups
Showtime are a company up for engagement with this work
http://www.show-time.org.uk
Henriette Baker is setting up Theatre of Europe - tackling many of these issues
There's a network of Young European Producers
Edfringe promoters office has lots of contacts
Travelogue Programme has lots of info on where to access EU funding
Future Mess in Sarajevo
Orchard Project in Upstate NYC
IETM meeting in Dublin this year, April - “we should be there”




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COMMENTS: 1

Li-E Chen

28 January 2013

fantastic session!! great to see you all again at #DandD8

Thank you!

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