warm welcome to the ﬁrst ever BE Festival! Thank you for sharing in this exciting new moment in Birmingham’s cultural life. In November 2009, we attended an Arts Council-hosted conference entitled ‘The Challenge of Change: How can we make a better future for theatre, here in the West Midlands?’ Many needs and problems were aired, and in response several schemes and ideas were cooked up to develop the region’s artistic resources and reputation. BE Festival was one such invention, and seven months later it has turned from an idea in a conference to a fully-ﬂedged reality! Over the four days of the festival, you will see 15 unique performances by companies from across Europe. BE Festival is a celebration of all that connects us across borders that can too easily separate us. It is a celebration of the difference and variety within human culture and identity. All the work has been selected on two grounds: ﬁrst, its quality, and second, its relationship to BE Festival’s theme - ‘crossing borders’. We believe that these peformances can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what language they speak or country they come from. Beyond words, there are more universal languages we share, and we hope you will agree that these pieces tap into and explore such languages with powerful results.
The festival would not have been brought to life without the support, openess and encouragement of the Birmingham arts community, who have generously given us advice, ideas, contacts, time and buckets of positive energy. It has also been made possible by those kind Birmingham residents who have opened their homes to visiting artists, and those who have offered their energy and time to the project as volunteers. Finally, we could have achieved nothing without the support of Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, Stan’s Cafe, mac, ACT Festival and Birmingham School of Acting. Thank you everyone and thank you Birmingham! BE Festival directors
BE TEAM Directors - Isla Aguilar, Miguel Oyarzun & Mike Tweddle Designer - David Martín de Juan Technical manager - Rob Pitchford Accounts manager - Felix Andrew Bar and café manager - Bert Roman Jury - Michael Brown, David Hernandez, Fernando Montoya, Amanda Roberts & Danièle Sanderson Workshop leaders - Juan Ayala, Giovanni Bosso, Michael Brown, David Hernandez, Heriberto Montalván, Soﬁa Paschou, Bert Roman & Danièle Sanderson Caterers - Blanch and Shock Produced in association with - Stan’s Cafe With support from - Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, mac, Birmingham School of Acting, ACT Festival Huge thanks to - Charlotte Martin, James Yarker, Louisa Davies, Amanda Roberts, Sophia Tarr, Alison Gagen, Paul Keynes, Paul Warwick, Ed Collier, Laura McDermott, the Marketing Birmingham team, Judy Tweddle, Nick Jesper, Fernando Montoya, Joseba Lazkano, Janneke Robers, Orit Azaz, Mary Miles, Juan Ayala, Alex Holt, James Gordanifar, Katerina Pushkin, Belinda Downing, Prodromos Papadopoulos, Matt Garber, Phillip Stoakes, Charlotte Ross, Samuel Llano, Atxarte López de Munain, Brian Mullin, Patricia Dixon, Helen Tomkins, Geraldine Mccullagh, Ginnie Wollaston, ... And to all the volunteers and hosts, whose names we did not have when we went to print. Printed by: colourdivision.co.uk Unit 12 Trame Road Industrial State Witton, Birmingham B6 7HS
We’re delighted to be supporting this new venture, and “excited by the prospect of welcoming a young company to make and present work in our newly rebuilt and refurbished centre in 2011. The range of artist-led initiatives, such as this festival, that have emerged since ‘The Challenge of Change’ event in November 2009 has real promise, with the potential to contribute to growing a scene to match that of Bristol, Manchester and London, and prove an attractive base for young and new artists and companies. Louisa Davies, mac producer
We believe in this ﬁrst edition of BE festival, because of the “strength and variety of their programme as well as for the illusion of the members of the organization to showcase such interesting pieces. We believe BE festival will be a reference point for the new tendencies and the contemporary scene in the future. Fernando Montoya, Director ACT Festival Bilbao
We hope you enjoy your BE Festival experience. Please send us your thoughts and feedback about how you would like to see the festival develop in the future.
Wednesday 30th June Look At Them Now by Unicorn. Austria. English
Look At Them Now explores the absurdity of watching and being watched, and crosses borders between going to the zoo and going to a performance. The work is inspired by the experimental short ﬁlm The Perfect Human (Jorgen Leth, 1967). The piece has toured Europe, winning a Special Selection at the Bilbao ACT Festival. Unicorn was founded in 2007 by Marta Navaridas and Alex Deutinger as an attempt to combine their interest in Translation Studies and contemporary theatre/dance/ performance. Scripts are mostly in English but can be easily translated into German, Spanish and French. Since its founding the group has collaborated with artists from different ﬁelds in a variety of projects, and has produced performance works mostly for small or medium alternative theatre venues as well as festivals, museums and galleries.
Fire Shadow Silence by Jessie Brett. UK. No text
Inspired by the life of Tina Modotti. With music composed by Jered Sorkin, Fire Shadow Silence is Jessie’s unique response to Tina Modotti’s extraordinary life. The piece revolves around two performers: one is the younger Tina the other is the older Tina. Intertwined solos explore the connection they have with each other, sandwiched between duets where the two women try to recognise themselves in each other. A study of the different sides of one person and how life changes us as we pass through it. Jessie Brett is a British choreographer and dancer who regularly collaborates with artists from across Europe.
Between the second and third performance there will be a dinner break of an hour. You can join the performers and festival team for a delicious, low-cost meal, cooked by the innovative and passionate food designers B L A N C H & S H O C K. We are very happy to be working with - BLANCH & SHOC K - as like us they believe that the sharing of delicious food is a great fuel for further exchange. Special Treat
Hamlet in Maschera
by Compañía INJAM. Spain. No text The piece was born from the need to share the great human passions of Shakespeare’s work without the constraints of the text. This version of Hamlet uses only symbols and images taken from the text, brought to life through the use of masks, puppets, models and clown noses. Founded in Madrid in 2009, Compañía INJAM currently comprises eight members headed by its director Yayo Cáceres. The company emerged from a group of professional actors training together. It started exploring improvisation, music and singing and continued creating fresh works based on classic texts. Their ﬁrst show, Our Lady of the Clouds by Aristides Vargas, premiered in 2009.
by AbOvo. Greece. Invented language, Greek The ﬁrst Greek spaceship is launched into space. The crew discovers an uninhabited planet, but soon after the ﬂag-raising celebrations they realise they’re not alone... A highly physical and hilariously satirical exploration of society’s strengths and weaknesses. AbOvo was formed in 2005. The company’s ﬁrst show Eki, Eki Stin Kolasi (There, there to Hell) was originally programmed to play for 10 nights and ended up playing for two and a half years with almost 13,000 people seeing it. Yannis Sarakatsanis (actor/director) was nominated for a “New Creator” award by the Greek Theatre Critics Guild. Since then, seven more productions followed, establishing AbOvo as a popular and a very active young theatre company.
Mellow Peaches have been gathering a small but loyal following across the West Midlands for their unique take on country blues and roots music; their original music involves slide guitar and banjo playing that is accomplished and infectious whilst capturing the primal spirit of the genre perfectly. Lyrics with a sharp sense of humour and grooves that ensure it won’t be long into their set before you’re tapping your foot in time to their freewheeling stories.
Thursday 1st July Business is Business
by Pas de Dieux. France. No text The setting: a young company, ordinary, full of hope and creativity. The project: a banal step-stool, a product to be sold at all costs. Around this step-stool, an incessant ballet of employers, bosses, and cleaning workers reveal a large palate of colourful personalities. The daily lives of these people are nothing but parts of a machine, timed by the oscillating rhythm of the market. How does the dream of the ordinary man, the dream of wanting to ﬁnd beauty, poetry and the sublime in this daily grind, become possible? Founded in 2004, the Pas de Dieux company bases its work on the dramatic possibilities of movement and expression. Beyond the realm of the physical, the spoken language contributes as an accessory to reveal the poetic as humanity’s primary ‘raison d’être’.
Kiss me… still your death tore us away by A Tempo Dansa. Spain. No text
In this performance, an actress-dancer shows us the beginning of a marriage - an illusion… a dream trip that ends in violence, impotence, loneliness and fear. A simple and minimalist reﬂection on domestic violence. A Tempo Dansa was founded in 2003 and has toured in Europe and America. The company focuses on female characters, using contemporary dance with a critical and social point of view that is also intimate and personal.
SCANDIMANIACS have not fallen out. There is no conﬂict at all! But if Sara and Emil manage to patch up their non-existing conﬂict they might both be on stage... if not, Emil will do a one-man version of their critically acclaimed cabaret act. “Hint of undescribable genius” - Fringe Review “A comic and musical peach” - Time Out Critics’ Choice “There is no conﬂict. We are not on a break. There IS NO CONFLICT” - Scandimaniacs
by Chiscón Teatro. Spain. English & Spanish Set Menu explores human conﬂict in relation to food: a basic necessity but sometimes we take it too far. The piece investigates how a person’s relationship with food can change from healthy to pathological. It also explores, from a social point of view, how the food cultures and industries of the rich, developed world can lead to obesity. Music, image, body language and – of course – food combine in this highly symbolic universe. Chiscón Teatro was created with the aim to explore current human conﬂicts and issues. The company believes in direct communication with audiences as a way to bring a performance alive. The company was founded in Madrid in 2009, and each member contributes though different artistic and educational disciplines from psychology to communication. Border-crossing sounds played by special guest DJs.
by Theatre Ad Inﬁnitum. UK. No text An old man loses his wife to cancer and is unable to accept that she is dead. He lives as if she were alive –making tea for two, and cooking double portions. So she ﬁnds ways of communicating to him across the frontier between life and death. A journey through love, loss, grief, and the landscape of memory using masks and physical storytelling –all tightly woven into a poignant tale without words. Theatre Ad Inﬁnitum is a Lecoq-trained international ensemble based in London that develops original theatre for a multi-cultural audience. The company possesses a passion for innovative theatre-making, creating work using improvisation and the universal language of the body, and drawing on differences in culture to produce a unique and engaging form of theatre. Special Treat
Friday 2nd July
by Compañía Nenacaracol. Spain. No text This is the story of a woman that wants to become a fashion model, and of the problems she encounters trying to reach that dream. The piece combines clowning, ﬂamenco dance and rhythm work in a unique concoction. Belén Gordillo Perales graduated in Spanish dance and ﬂamenco from the Córdoba Conservatory and in physical theatre from the Royal School of Dramatic Arts, Madrid. She was part of Mayúmana, an Israeli percussion, dance and theatre company touring Europe and South America. She trained in mime with Marcel Marceau, José Piris and in clown with Eric de Bont, Jesús Jara and Gabriel Chamé. Following these experiences, she created her own company Nenacaracol. Contratiempos is the ﬁrst show of the company.
by Limping Father Francisco. UK. English, Spanish Set in a period of high tension before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Herencia Española examines the highly personal nature of political allegiance and war. Born into a fascist family, Miguel is torn between his friendship with Pablo - the passionate communist - and love for his father. The situation escalates when his father Don Mariano is killed at a communist rampage led by Pablo, and Carmen, his sister, becomes pregnant with Pablo’s child. Caught in the vortex of events and emotion Miguel makes a disastrous decision leading to a lifetime of guilt and regret. Limping Father Francisco is an international theatre ensemble that formed out of a creative process at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA). Their performance at BE Festival is their ﬁrst work as a touring company.
Ros. Melógamo Mínimo
Un Gouffre Sous L’Epaule
The story of a character trying to ﬁnd his place. A journey of tenderness with only a hand and a ball: Ros discovers that the smallest details are what really matters and they give him the strength to carry on. When everything seems lost, and you feel alone and disconnected, there is always an opening inside ourselves where we are able to ﬂy.
A compelling and atmospheric dance piece where the performers put on and take off the masks that separate human from animal, and experience the impossibility of communication.
by Angélico Musgo. Spain. No text
Ramón Pascual worked in different theatre and puppetry companies until he set up his own company, Angélico Musgo. Currently he directs the annual show Primavera de Títeres (at the puppet theatre of Tarragona). He has also worked on other puppetry pieces, such as Una Pequeña Historia de Jazz.
by Mala Hierba. Belgium. English
The Mala Hierba company ﬁnd its physicality in people’s instinctive movements. The company is supported by Belgium and Spanish theatres and institutions. Choreographer Marielle Morales has danced for Provisional Danza, Carmen Werner (Madrid), Sol Pico (Barcelona), Pierre Droulers, Thierry de Mey (Brussels) and has coached companies such as Needcompany / Jan Lauwers and Michèle-Anne de Mey.
Karnival is an experience like no other; it combines the energy of clubland with the magic of theatre to create an encounter different to anything that has come before it. Music and performance merge on the dance ﬂoor and carry the audience on a journey through Life and Death before guiding them to the Karnival. Audience members become participants as performers include them in dances, rituals and individual encounters. The result is an immersive clubbing extravaganza that will heighten the senses, open the mind and penetrate the soul: Quite simply the greatest party in the World. Special Treat
Saturday 3rd July Pasada-Par-Agua
by Hannah Shakti. Italy-Germany. German A lonely clown is waiting on a bench under the rain… nothing else seems to happen. The rain drops dissolve the colours of her clothes, her mind, and her personality, culminating in a ﬁnal dance where the character is not a clown anymore. Hannah Shakti studied Dance Theatre at the Laban School. After graduating she joined Retina Dance Company, led by Filip Van Hufﬂe, dancing in This is Not a Body and PAGE1 in UK and Belgium. In 2007 she started dancing at the Galego Choreographic Centre in La Coruña, working with Roberto Olivan and Roberto Magro, dancing in Kioskodas Almasperdidas and in ‘Giseliña’ by Cisco Aznar. Currently Hannah is dancing in Dido and Aeneas at Opera de Lausanne directed by Cisco Aznar. Hannah’s own choreographic work has been presented in UK, Italy, Holland and Spain.
by Openbatch Theatre. UK. English The audience witness the space transform into a factory when a ﬂoor plan is laid with electrical tape. The factory is brought to life. The action is punctuated by a series of narratives that focus on moments of humanity in an oppressive environment. Openbatch is a theatre company of seven members, who formed at Dartington College of Arts in 2009, and are now based in Bristol. The company uses the body, the group and sound to create experimental performance. Each member of the company has their own performance quality and approach to devising.
TG Collective. A glorious combination of gypsy hotclub, ﬂamenco, jazz and contemporary classical inﬂuences underpin this superb ensemble, built around a core of two guitarists, alongside ﬂutes, violin, double bass, trumpet, cajón and ﬂamenco dance. An exciting, sensuous sound described by THE TIMES **** as ‘Stylish, very stylish’…”, the group perform an intriguing mix of compositions and new arrangements, touching on inﬂuences as varied as Paco de Lucia, Django Reinhardt and JS Bach.
by Out of Balanz. Denmark. Minimal text Inspired by the loss of his bike, Ivan Hansen’s Posthumous Works is a meditation on life, death, family secrets, and the inevitability of the unknown. Through a mix of movement, music, images and text, this piece explores the complexities of saying goodbye. Out of Balanz is a constantly evolving ensemble of international artists under the Artistic Direction of Troels Hagen Findsen and Katrina Bugaj. Its mission is to create new work by developing the highest quality of original theatre based on the imagination of those involved in it. Vital to this process are the collisions that arise from different cultures, languages and experiences. Out of Balanz’s shows celebrate physical and visual storytelling, bringing their audiences into fantastical worlds that test and break the boundaries of how stories can be told.
Eat Your Heart Out
by Kindle Theatre
In the last remaining corner of the human world, three cooks are summoned to create a celebratory meal using only the carcass of their once great kitchen. Inspired by the Baroque world, select masterpieces of Caravaggio, and the contemporary obsession with Armageddon, Eat Your Heart Out mixes the leftovers of disaster with the ceremony of the dining room in an edible performance which invites the audience to literally eat the story. Eat Your Heart Out is a collaboration between Kindle, Blanch & Shock Food Design and the composer and arranger Phill Ward. Development of this project has been supported by Coachwerks, Arts Council England, China Plate, Stan’s Cafe, PILOT and the Sir Barry Jackson Trust. Special Dinnertime Performance
BE Workshops Juan Ayala
BE Next - Wednesday to Saturday BE Next is BE Festival’s free programme of workshops for young people based in Birmingham. Crossing Borders is going to be the central theme of the workshops. ‘Border’: any kind of boundary which may establish differences or similarities among people or groups of people (countries, neighbourhoods, language, clothes...). The workshop will draw on tools and techniques used in collaborative theatre, such as exercises based on rhythm and choreography, or games which imply competition and overcoming obstacles. Two of the objectives for this workshop will be to explore the notion of collectivity through choral movement and group work, as well as the notion of individuality through characterisation. The results of the work will be shared with a public audience as part of the ﬁnal night of the festival.
Juan studied physical theatre in Paris and then in London. He is the artistic director of Colectivo DeCollage, who make performances both for the street and theatres. In the UK he has performed for Temple Theatre, Counterweight and Limbik Theatre. In Spain he is currently directing Mirage Compañia de Teatro’s latest production, LÁZARo, for the International Classical Theatre Festival of Almagro. Since 2000 he has led workshops in ensemble theatre in Spain, France, the UK, Morocco, Germany and Greece. Giovanni Bosso
Giovanni has been trained and worked as an actor in theatre, television and ﬁlm for the last fourteen years. He completed an MA in Theatre and Development Studies at Leeds University with a special interest in refugee and asylum seeker communities. He has taken part in a project using participatory plays and drama workshops to address cultural bias in Secondary Schools in Spain. He has also run devising drama workshops for students of English enrolled in language immersion courses.
Feldenkrais workshop - Thursday
Shut up and listen - Thursday
Feldenkrais is a movement technique that explores possibilities, releasing people from physical tensions and increasing their potential as performers. By engaging your curiosity, gently and at your own rate, you learn to explore the world of your internal sensation. You learn to use this awareness to change your habits and approach the world differently.
A dance workshop exploring contemporary dance technique ( body awareness ) and how to build movement using text material. Body awareness work will include using the breath to ﬁnd your centre, and enjoyable movement phrases where we will eat space and play with rhythm, attraction and repulsion.
“What I am after is more ﬂexible minds, not just more ﬂexible bodies” - Moshe Feldenkrais
Bert Roman Theatre (UK).
Danièle Sanderson Danièle trained as an actor at The Drama Centre, London, going on to study ‘awareness through movement’ in Paris. In England she has worked as a freelance performer, movement director and workshop leader before moving into directing. She is now a Course Director at the Birmingham School of Acting (BSA).
You are warmly invited to drop in to AE Harris each afternoon at 4pm for Feedback Cafe. The previous night’s performers will be there to share the ideas and processes behind their work, to receive feedback from those that have watched it and to explore possibilities for the future. Delicious cake, cups of tea and coffee, and passionate discussion will be the order of the day. And if the sun is shining we’ll move it outside!
Bert trained at the Royal Conservatiore of Dance in Antwerp. As a dancer he has performed for United-C (Holland), Diecimenodieci (Italy), Bal Moderne / Rosas, Andwhatbesidesdeath and De Maan (Belgium). As a choreographer he has worked for La Monnaie Opera House (Belgium) and Temple
We are very excited to be hosting BE Festival @ A E Harris. It is rare that international work comes to the UK, particularly to Birmingham and especially the work of less established companies. We can’t wait to experience the new ﬂavours for performance BE Festival is bringing together @ A E Harris. Often these events bringing people together from far and wide also act as a catalyst for people to ﬁnd new relationships with each other much closer to home. Who knows what unexpected consequences may follow. Let us welcome BE Festival and its artists with open arms and open minds. James Yarker, Artistic Director, Stan’s Cafe
The Neutral Mask - Thursday & Friday
The tales a body tells - Friday
The Neutral mask is an invitation for participants to set aside the personal and discover ﬁrst what we all have in common. Exploring the natural world, the mask will help to essentialise natural movement, developing both calm and risk-taking. This mask offers the chance to explore a state of openness and transparency vital to the actor creator.
In this workshop we will explore physicality as a tool and movement as a language. How does the body tell stories and what kind of stories does it tell? Through improvisational experiments, we will explore how the body can convey a plethora of meanings through physicality.
Thursday: “Identifying” with Nature
David worked as an apprentice with the Trisha Brown Company, then left New York and moved to Europe with Meg Stuart to help her start Damaged Goods in Belgium. David worked with the company for almost ﬁve years then left to make his own work under the name Edwardvzw. He teaches regularly at PARTS, and internationally. Recently he has been collaborating on projects with Rebecca Murgi, LaborGras, Anouk van Dijk Company, Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker and Rosas.
The participants will be able to experience how the great movements of nature are linked with the movements within oneself.
Friday: Economy of Movement Through concrete situations the participants will explore the relationship between the actor’s body and the space around him.
Heriberto Montalván Heriberto trained at and now teaches at London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA), as well as at the Met Film School. He has worked as a teacher with disadvantaged communities in his native Puerto Rico and as a freelance performer and collaborator with Les Mondes Contraires, Infectious Theatre, Cia Huma, You Need Me and The Gate Theatre.
BEDiscussion: Crossing borders in performance.
Dr Charlotte Ross, lecturer in Italian Studies at Birmingham University, will chair the discussion, with an invited panel of arts professionals and academics. All are welcome to attend and contribute. Find out more at: www.befestival.org
Tools for Devising - Friday & Saturday
World Singing - Saturday
Friday: Igniting Creativity
Learn how to sing as part of a group through listening and empathising with those around you to create rich and beautiful harmonies. The songs come from traditions where singing comes naturally and is a vital part of everyday life. All songs are taught by ear in the original language, and the workshop will follow this tradition.
As we all know, a devising process requires a high level of creative engagement and risk-taking from all involved. But where do we begin, in order to unleash that level of creative energy? Using a series of proven exercises and games from various masters of creating physical theatre, we will explore effective and enjoyable ways to stimulate individual and group creativity.
Saturday: Building Collaborative Teams
Using games and exercises we will look at the speciﬁc issues of creating a supportive, truly collaborative team; generating ideas; structuring useful feedback and discussion; and the essential roles that must be served in a healthy devising process. While participants will beneﬁt from having attended the ﬁrst devising workshop, this is by no means necessary.
Michael has performed, directed and devised theatre on three continents and has founded critically acclaimed theatre companies in the US and UK. He has trained actors for many companies including the Royal National Theatre in London. For the last 3 years, Michael has co-lead a workshop called “Creating Theatre and Performance” at the London International Mime Festival. For the last 5 years, Michael has been a core instructor at LISPA, where he teaches mask work, improvisation, advanced theatre styles, theatre games, and devising skills.
Soﬁa Paschou Soﬁa trained at Archiin Athens and LISPA, and is also certiﬁed in classical singing. She has composed music for various plays in the UK and Greece, most recent being the “City of Darker Skies” with the London Bubble. She has worked with many different singing styles (traditional Greek, Bulgarian, Georgian and Mongolian overtone singing). She had the privilege to work with Helen Chadwick in the Royal Opera House and Dessisslava Stefanovain of the London Bulgarian Choir.
BEFed Dinner, cooked on site by BLANCH & SHOCK is available every night to audience members and performers alike. Please buy your dinner pass at the box ofﬁce. Blanch & Shock is a team of cooks and artists specialising in innovative and thought-provoking food. At the heart of their practice is a commitment to seasonal food from sustainable sources. They are most excited to work on projects that challenge and involve audiences and dinners. Check Saturday programme for special dining experience with Kindle Theatre - Eat Your Heart Out