The German company LIGNA developed a radio ballet (a choreography for and with spectators in a public space) called “Walking the City”, which invites the audience to walk as a dispersed group or as individuals through streets of a city and the city’s history. Ligna’s piece is a clever and engaging reflection of public urban space as a forum for shopping, demonstrations and strolling. After its premiere in Poitiers, “Walking the City”, which was produced entirely by the network, was performed in all seven network cities.
The most normal and inconspicuous practice performed in a city is walking. But how one walks through the city is never the same – and may even differ from city to city. In any case walking transforms every street in a stage which one enters and leaves. Every city has it’s pace and it´s manner of walking, even if this may not be sensed in every street. There are no rules that instruct these particularities – each pedestrian is simply affected by the rhythm of the steps of the others. Rhythms, states the economic theorist Karl Bücher already in the early 20th century, is the strongest means to foster processes of learning and to create coherence within a group of people. So the gait is shaped by mimetical imitation and gradually becomes a part of the unconscious, mute body knowledge which rules our every day life actions.
Walking in the City invites the inhabitants of the city to listen to an audio play, which adresses the unconsciousness of walking the city. A kind of inner movie tells a new story of the street. At the same time, the listeners constitute a strange collective. They are not walking together as a group but are dispersed: Independent yet synchronized, listening yet acting, invisible yet producing an uncanny situation, already when they all stop at the same time, pause for a moment and then start walking again. The most normal and inconspicuous practice becomes anormal and suspicious. Thus the audience can change the street scene without exposing themselves as participants of an artistic intervention into the everyday life just by walking a little bit faster than all the others. Following their mimetic urge, other pedestrians will get influenced unconsciously by the proliferation of a new normality, sensing that an uncanny duplication of reality is taking over. Then, during the course of the performance, more visible actions are proposed to happen, reflecting the long tradition of occupying the streets for political reasons.
Basel is located in the Northwest of Switzerland on the river Rhine. It has about 200.000 inhabitants and the city is one of the most important cultural centers of Switzerland and a major industrial centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry as well. Basel is divided in two parts: Basel city and Basel county. Basel city is limited with a space of of only 37 square km and it is located in the trinational area with Germany and France. Basel is a very international city with 33 % of immigrants and this number continues to rise. In this region, more than 35.000 Expats are living and working for the big companies.
music / dance / theater
The Kaserne Basel is a thriving urban arts center and a lively social meeting point, located just a few steps from the river Rhine. It brings cutting-edge concerts from Rock and Indie to Pop and Soul as well as national and international contemporary off-theater and dance performances to the heart of Basel.
Dresden is the capital of the state of Saxony in Germany and has about 500.000 inhabitants. It is situated on the River Elbe, in the middle between Berlin and Prag. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony. A controversial allied ariel bombing towards the end of World War II destroyed most part of the city centre. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German communist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Since the German reunification in 1990 the historic inner city and other important parts of the city have been largely reconstructed and renovated. During the last years Dresden has regained recognition as one of the most important cities for arts, culture and science in Germany.
Hellerau Festival Theatre, built in 1911 as a school of Rhythmics, is today the location of HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts, Dresden. Following an eventful history – in the 1930s it served as a military camp; later the Soviet army used it as their barracks – in the 1990s the site was brought back to life through art. HELLERAU has since become one of the most important interdisciplinary centres for contemporary arts in Germany. It is home to contemporary dance, musical theatre, contemporary classical music, theatre, performance art, the fine arts and new media, as well as a place for reflection on art and culture. The internationally renowned Forsythe Company has been the company in residence here since 2005. Since April 2009 performances have again been held at the Festival Theatre all year round. Along with its partner organisations on the grounds the European Centre for the Arts has been working on creating an 'arts workspace' in HELLERAU. This is a place where people experiment with art, test out art, present art. In all these enterprises, contemporary dance has top priority.
Nowa Huta - literally The New Steel Mill is the easternmost district of Kraków, Poland. With about 300,000 inhabitants it is one of the most populous areas of the city. Nowa Huta was started in 1949 as a separate town near Kraków on terrain resumed by the Communist Government. The town was to become an ideal town for the communist propaganda and populated mostly by industrial workers. In 1951 it was joined with Kraków as its new district. Nowadays this socialist part of Nowa Huta has started to arouse interest and there is a chance that it will become one of the tourist attractions of Cracow, one of many, but a unique one. According to specialists, in comparison with other parts of former eastern bloc, Nowa Huta is the best example of a socialist realist city.
Laznia Nowa Theatre during seven years of its existence has earned a solid brand on Polish theatre market, creating among others: Genius Loci Theatre Festival, The Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival and Slawomir Mrozek's Festival. Laznia's performances were rewarded many times and invited on numerous festivals. Because of specific concert space Laznia Nowa hosts many music events such as: Sacrum Profanum or Unsound Festival and concerts - from club music to stars like Guano Apes, Apocalyptica or The Residents.
Despite localization and counter to stereotypes of hopelessness of Nowa Huta district there are many international projects and co-productions produced in Laznia. On the basis of close cooperation with inhabitants programs and author's performances are created. Laznia's actions are multilevel - just to bring together different types of audience. We are interested in 'theatre for people'. We fight for each and every viewer, we do not lock ourselves in the tower made of ivory. We revert to fundamental questions of poeple strongly connected to the place and its role in the development of local community. We firmly believe in theatre becoming axis mundi in the district - daily, inhabited place. Affirmation, belief in creative strength of human being and straightforwardness enabled Laznia to take root in the district, win over faithful audience and make plans for the future.
In the current season we have crossed borders and exceeded limits. We developed projects inspired by the icon of bringing himself to perfection /Bruce Lee/, distant cultures /Japan/ or everlasting man's dreams /flying/.
We want to fire the imagination of viewers and all together fight with the grayness of everyday life, reveal liberating power of a dream.
Mülheim an der Ruhr is a relatively small, shrinking city directly between Duisburg and Essen in the Ruhr Region. It is a place full of contradictions in terms of population, city development, economy and wealth: in some districts more than 30% of the people receive social security benefits, in others virtually nobody does. The retail trade in the city centre is in decline yet large trading and industrial companies are well-established here, too. There is a new university of applied sciences and a comparatively lively cultural life.
Ringlokschuppen Mülheim is a vibrant production centre for performative theatre in the Ruhr Region. Founded in 1995 as a socio-cultural centre, the theatre put on its first site-specific dance and theatre projects as part of the Ruhrtriennale 2002-2004. They started introducing regular guest performances and (co-)productions in 2006, which have led to a wide variety of fruitful cooperations with fringe and municipal theatres. In addition to investigating post-dramatic theatre forms with groups such as kainkollektiv and copy & waste, Ringlokschuppen Mülheim often initiates participational projects in urban environments. (“U[topie]18”, “Eichbaumoper”, “SchlimmCity”). There is also a focus on interdisciplinary platforms such as the “Fatzer Tage” or the “Shiny Toys” media festival. Since 2012 Ringlokschuppen has been a member of “Performing Cities”, an EU-supported network of seven theatres from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.
Die Realisierung der Produktionen von Dries Verhoeven und LIGNA am Ringlokschuppen in Mülheim an der Ruhr ist eine Koproduktion mit Urbane Künste Ruhr.
Regional capital but average town (145 000 inhabitants), Poitiers is an old historical place with many large administrations, an important hospital and one of the oldest university of the country with 24 000 students among which many young strangers. Since the 70’s, this town has been developing a strong cultural environment, downtown and in the surrounding districts. That is why the cultural budget remains the second largest of the municipality (more than 20%).
The TAP-Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers consists of a theater hall, that can accommodate an audience of 700, and an auditorium, that seats 1000 people. Every season, the TAP proposes more than 60 different performances, for a total of about 120 representations per annum. The programming is multidisciplinary: theater, dance, classical and contemporary music, world music, jazz and chanson, circus and magic performances as well as meetings, workshops and art classes. The TAP has partnerships with three orchestras, the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, the Orchestre Poitou-Charentes and the music ensemble Ars Nova, proposes residence programs for artists and receives every year several productions of the national dramatic center Comédie Poitou-Charentes. Every season, the TAP organizes two festivals: the Rencontres Henri Langlois, festival international des écoles de cinéma (international festival of film schools), and the Festival A Corps, meeting point of international professionals and european students emanating from all kinds of artistic backgrounds that set the human body in motion. The TAP is one of the seven charter members of the European Network Second Cities – Performing Cities, supported by the European Union. In this way, it will produce the new creation of the german company LIGNA, that will be performed for the first time during the Festival A Corps in April 2013. Furthermore, the TAP manages three cinema halls, classified Independent Art-House, Research and Discovery, Young Audience and Cultural Heritage. It is also a member of the Network Europa.
Strasbourg is a city of 460,000 inhabitants. Besides a very large historical heritage, Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region, the headquarters of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe. It welcomes, on this account, many national and international institutions. The town engaged a large urban development during the seventies and carry on right now to the east in direction of Kehl, his German neighbour. It’s partly the reasons why his artistic activities have a wide and demanding public.
LE MAILLON - Théâtre de Strasbourg Scène européenne
Le Maillon, the City of Strasbourg’s Theatre and European Venue, was founded in 1978 and is situated in the Wacken district, at the foot of the European Parliament. Le Maillon is a particular venue, set in a former industrial building made of three large halls: the first one is a vast area harbouring the bar and the box office, the second one is a 600 seat auditorium boasting the largest stage in Strasbourg, and the third is an exhibition hall in winter and an auditorium in summer. With Europe at the heart of its vision, le Maillon schedules more than 30 multidisciplinary—theatre, music, circus, and dance—, mostly international and resolutely contemporary shows each season. If le Maillon welcomes shows from around the world, it has also put down strong roots locally as many performances take place with or in local partners’ theatres: Pôle Sud, Théâtre Jeune Public, Hautepierre as well as the Offenburg theatre, just on the other side of the Rhine. Le Maillon has 33 000 spectators each season, including the Premières festival—dedicated to the work of young European stage directors and co-organised with the TNS. In 2013, the Premières festival will be held in Karlsruhe.
Acknowledged in France and abroad, le Maillon is involved in several European professional networks and regularly works with the theatres of Basel, Dresden, Mülheim, Poitiers, Utrecht and Nowa Huta to produce and present to the public new forms of theatre that explore the relationship between the stage and the city.
Utrecht is an old city with canals and old houses. It is situated in the geographical centre of the Netherlands and in one of the most booming economic regions of Europe: the randstad (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag). Utrecht is fast growing: expectedly from 315.000 to 400.000 in the next ten years, with all the social and structural problems this fast growth will bring. Due to its universities the city’s population will grow younger. Acknowledging its rich cultural field and its universities and colleges, the city markets itself as City of Knowledge and Culture.
The new Utrecht festival for the performing arts announces the first names From Thursday 15 - Sunday 25 May 2014 the new international festival for the performing arts, SPRING, will take place in the Utrecht city centre. SPRING Performing Arts Festival is a fusion of the two renowned festivals Springdance and Festival a/d Werf. The SPRING programme straddles the dividing lines between theatre, dance and performance, presenting the latest developments and crossovers in the performing arts. Work that is innovative, contemporary, and bold. This makes SPRING the place to be the first to see innovative and adventurous performances on an international level.
Made possible with the support of the DG Education and Culture program from the European Union.