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Five Reasons to See... BE Festival 2013

Birmingham's BE Festival, celebrating theatre from across Europe, returns to the city for the fourth time this year, running from 2-6 July. Here co-founder Mike Tweedle gives us five reasons to go...

By • Central

The sheer variety...

Each evening at BE FESTIVAL, the audience see four shows by four different companies from several different countries. The festival also brings together a variety of disciplines, including text-based theatre, physical theatre, contemporary dance, circus and live art. This year across five evenings you can see a total of 23 shows from 12 different countries: all for a grand total of £50! Shows are generally no longer than 30 minutes, so in one night you can go on an unforgettable journey across Europe. It's a veritable feast of theatre.

Out of Balanz
Out of Balanz
© Andreas Janett
Talking of feasting…

Between the second and third show, there's an extended interval where the audience sits down to a delicious dinner alongside all the performers and festival team. The menu changes each day and there's always a fantastic veggie option. It's an informal opportunity to meet and share ideas with people from all over Europe.

Talking of sharing ideas…

If you buy a ticket to BE and you're interested in performing, you can sign up for free to the morning workshops, led by internationally renowned artists. During the afternoon you can attend the visual arts programme of talks and exhibitions and Feedback Café: 90 minutes of heated debate, fresh coffee and home-made cakes, where you can discuss the previous night's performances with the artists who made them.

Talking of the artists…

524 companies applied to perform at BE FESTIVAL 2013, and we've also travelled far and wide to scout for work. As a result, this year we've been able to select a remarkable programme of shows by some of the most exciting and original theatre makers in Europe. Highlights include (remor) by Spanish company Res de Res y Artigues, which won a Total Theatre Award at last year's Edinburgh Fringe; Next Door by Out of Balanz (Denmark), who won the Best Performer award at BE 2010 for their last show Posthumous Works; and at our opening night the Joint 1st Prize-winners from BE 2012 return to Birmingham in their full-length form: Solfatara by ATRESBANDES (Spain) - a searing, hilarious dissection of a relationship on the rocks with a unique approach to surtitling, and Homo Ridens_Birmingham by Teatro Sotterraneo (Italy) - a provocative and surprising laughter experiment, carried out on the ‘guinea pig audience'.

It's a feisty, firey, daring and delightful programme this year, and reflects the despair and anger coursing through Europe in these times of crisis, as well as the hope, humour and imagination that might just carry us through.

Talking of Europe…

Throughout the week our visual arts programme will curate a series of installations, performance/lectures and discussions based around ideas of alternative currencies and economies. It's a chance to explore possibilities for a different Europe, founded on renewed ideas of collaboration. The performance programme, whilst less directly political, brings together people of diverse backgrounds, showing how the arts can rise above the boundaries that often separate us. In the current climate of debt, inequality and rising tides of nationalism, it has never been more important to establish connections between people, and to celebrate how much we share.

Mike Tweddle, BR Festival co-director was talking to Kieran Johnson

Tags: BE Festival


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