A Sea of Islands
On the evening of 23 April 2020, together with the festival management team, the Festival Theaterformen committee decided that, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Festival Theaterformen cannot take place in its original format. In addition, the restrictions on the travel activities necessary for preparing and implementing the festival in Braunschweig make it impossible to hold an international analogue festival. Around 170 artists from 17 nations would have taken part in the festival planned for July. For personal and logistical reasons, it will be impossible to postpone the festival to a different date. Martine Dennewald’s contract as artistic director, which began on 1 August 2014, is due to end on 31 July 2020.
New digital festival format for Festival Theaterformen 2020
However, Martine Dennewald‘s proposal to develop a festival format within the digital space has received the backing of the committee, which consists of representatives of the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture, the cities of Braunschweig and Hanover, the Foundation of Lower Saxony and the Braunschweig Cultural Heritage Foundation, as well as the managing directors Dagmar Schlingmann (Staatstheater Braunschweig) and Sonja Anders (Schauspiel Hannover).
From now on, the festival team will be working with the international artists in isolation at home on an alternative format for the Festival Theaterformen, which will take place 2-12 July, i.e. within the original dates. “This is something of a sensation, quite exceptional really. We are very pleased that we can continue to work with our artists in isolation at home and can still offer something to our audience in 2020”, says Martine Dennewald.
A SEA OF ISLANDS. A festival of spatial isolation and global solidarity involving art, discussion and interactive formats – virtual, for home and at a distance
Under the working title A SEA OF ISLANDS, the team is planning a festival of spatial isolation and global solidarity involving art, discussion and interactive formats – virtual, for home and at a distance. We intend to develop professionally produced artistic and discursive online formats specifically for the 2020 festival but which will also be accessible after the festival period.
We are still looking into whether we can exhibit a few installation works and a “Performance for Home” in Braunschweig and open these up to visitors.
The original intention was in fact for the Festival Theaterformen, in its 30th anniversary year in 2020, to present 18 international guest performances on the theme TURN OF THE TIDE, all relating to various different islands, on the stages of the Staatstheater Braunschweig, at the LOT-Theater and at the Haus der Wissenschaft: the idea was to shift the Azores and the Faroe Islands, the Comoros and the Falkland Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor and Cuba from the periphery to the centre of attention for the eleven days of the festival – each of these islands bringing with them their own political peculiarities, geostrategic problems and projection screens for a different and a better life.
The original programme was to be published on 7 May, but that has now changed. Nonetheless, a PDF of the programme with short English descriptions can be downloaded HERE, for even if the pieces cannot be performed, the same artists will be involved in the digital festival.
The program of the new festival form will be published on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
Photo: Vlad Sokhin