Launch of Birmingham’s festival of exciting new European theatre, dance and performance.
BE FESTIVAL, Birmingham’s innovative festival of European theatre returns to the city this summer, taking over Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 23rd-27th June. One of the UK’s most experimental theatrical events, BE FESTIVAL’s unique format gives the audience the opportunity to see four 30-minute long shows each night and eat dinner with the performers in the interval.
This year’s BE FESTIVAL spans five days and features 20 shows from nine European countries offering an action-packed programme of theatre, dance, circus, food, live music, visual arts, talks and workshops.
The festival also turns Birmingham Repertory Theatre back-to-front, with the festival transforming the theatre’s vast new set construction workshop into a festival hub, complete with lounge and bar, and its scenic paintshop into an exhibition space.
Highlights of this year’s festival programme include a spectacular outdoor performance by trampolining forces of nature, Bot Project (Spain). 2014’s 1st prize festival winner, Antonio Tagliarini (Italy), returns with a full version of his wonderful and wacky Show, and the award-winning choreographer Ricardo Buscarini (UK / Italy), contemplates the competition between man and machines in Atheletes. Tortured Mind by InPulse (Germany) is a topsy-turvy story following the attempts of a psychiatrist to treat his patient through a series of creative games while Mouvma! by Collectif Corps Citoyen (Tunisia/Italy) goes back to the start of the Arab Spring and asks questions about political change, society and the future. The festival finale features Game by newcomers Unstable King (UK) – a madcap three-man circus show exploring how video games shape our lives.
The ethos of BE FESTIVAL has always been grounded in a sense of community. This is perfectly captured each evening when the main stage makes way for a pop-up restaurant where audience members, actors and festival staff are invited to enjoy a meal together under the spotlights whilst post-show all can relax, meet and chat in the festival lounge.
The theme of this year’s BE FESTIVAL explores topics around contemporary democracy. In recent years the world has witnessed a new democratic dynamic at play affecting how we think about our role in building a more harmonious and fairer society. This has given rise to a renewed sense of collectivism both locally and globally. Visual arts installations by Adam Scarborough (Glasgow), Natalie Jones (Birmingham) and other artists will explore the theme of modern democracy, while participation workhops and talks will give audiences the opportunity to chat with actors, artists and academics and analyse and discuss each other’s perspectives.
Each evening of the festival ends with live music or DJs in the festival hub and bar. The line up features an array of international groups including reggae band, Gabbidon featuring musician from Steel Pulse and music from Birmingham’s Celebrating Sanctuary stable of artists.
For full programme details and times, visit www.befestival.org
Pic: Alan Brenner