Journées Focus – Festival VIA 2013 Maubeuge/Mons

IMAG2702 via fetsivalI’ve just got back from the Festival VIA which takes place simultaneously in the Manège Maubeuge theatre in Northern France and the Manège Mons theatre on the other side of the border in Belgium. Here, a great gathering of theatre programmers from around the world took place via a back-to-back programme of events beginning with a trip to the… zoo! This set the tone for the wonderful spirit of things to follow. We saw some good theatre but perhaps even more importantly we had a unique opportunity to meet, catch up and exchange ideas with over one hundred and twenty very interesting festival organisers and theatre programmers.

Highlights of the theatre programme for me were Philippe Quesne’s Anamorphosis, a delicate observation of our urban world through the performances of four japanese actresses from the Seinendan Theatre Company in Tokyo, and also the prodigious talent of Jonathan Capdevielle in his Adishatz/Adieu. What’s more, scheduled into our programme were the salons d’artistes or ‘ice-breakers’ enabling us to meet with a wide range of interesting theatre-makers, the intriguing Irmar collective (in English ‘Institute for Research That Goes Nowhere) for example, and the singer, composer, dancer and radio journalist, Gerald Kurdian.

I return to London with a head full of useful conversations, more ideas and a vast pool of new friends and colleagues. It was enormously inspiring for me to meet and hear about Festivals all over the world programming ambitiously amidst financial challenges. Festivals and organisations like the MIR Festival in Athens, Panorama Sur in Buenos Aires, Krakowskie Reminiscencje Teatralne in Krakow and Be Festival in Birmingham to name but a few. Thank you l’Institut Français and l’Onda for having the foresight and generosity to bring us all together!

- Henriette Morrison

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