Various Times, 2nd to 8th July 2012
Birmingham’s third annual festival of European theatre aims to encourage new relationships and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity at a challenging time when some believe that multiculturalism has failed and suspicion of immigration is growing. BE Festival is dedicated to bringing people together in unique and imaginative ways, encouraging them to share, discover and celebrate differences and similarities, with a programme of exhibitions, workshops, discussions, live performances and communal dinners with artists from eleven countries.
The main programme consists of four 30 minute shows each night in the atmospheric old metalworks factory @ AE Harris in the city’s famous Jewellery Quarter. With engagement and participation key to the festival’s ethos, the audience and performers come together each night between the second and third shows for a freshly cooked meal to talk and share ideas and experiences. Before and after performances the festival also offers live music, visual art and the chance to attend workshops or meet and discuss work with those who make it. Among this year’s workshop leaders is leading RSC actor Greg Hicks, who will be combining Shakespearian verse with contemporary movement techniques in teaching his unique approach to performing text.
Festival highlights include Spanish company Sleepwalk Collective, who will premiere their latest work Amusements and perform 2011’s 1st prize-winning As the flames rose we danced to the sirens, the sirens, for which they won a residency at mac Birmingham. The Plasticine Men (UK) will also show new work L’Autruche (The Ostrich), following 2010’s Edinburgh hit Keepers. Other companies set to make Birmingham their home for the week-long festival include the multi award-winning Teatro Sotteraneo (Italy) with their provocative, original piece Homo Ridens, which seeks to understand the nature of laughter by placing the audience at the centre of the experiment; masters of physical comedy and mime from Romania, the Dan Puric Passe-Partout company; and brilliant French ensemble OBRA Theatre Company, whose members have worked with Song of a Goat and are inspired by Eastern European approaches to theatre.
For more details see the BE Festival 2012 website here