Last week I was asked to make some drawings for a performance lecture being given in Stockholm. The topic for the lecture is festivals and the lecturer is a very fine lady called Hannah Sullivan - so I drew her a captivated audience for good luck.
Here's the transcript of the lecture as she will speak it and the images I drew for the different bits -
Conducting research is a lot like making a performance, you often start in one place and find yourself somewhere completely different and then maybe it swings back round again. I began with physical theatre and non-verbal theatre languages . . .
which led me to international festivals, which led me to international exchange.
I have become interested in the choices around making a Festival to start, and making it International! I have become interested in International festivals as a meeting place and how theatre helps in facilitating the conversations and sharing of knowledge and problems between countries.
I am also concerned about the possibly superficiality of this situation, what real good can come, are we just playing to a global cultural marketplace. Artist live and work in a globalised world, I read that we are the post-media children that are addicted to motion! How has this affected the work being made, and the festivals being made.
A Festival, to return to medieval Europe is a time in which the marketplace stops, the civilians celebrate outside of the usual rules of everyday life – class, status, gender.
To be festive, is to celebrate and often we celebrate in times of renewal and revival be it social or seasonal. When there is a change in the air or a major disruption we mark it with a feast, overeat and overdrink, we become menaces and digest our problems in order to recuperate and be renewed. I would like to present the Festival as renewing to its city, the artistic community and potentially international relations. But firstly I would like to tell you the story of Edinburgh . . .
a festival considered to have shaped the way we understand festivals now. In post-war Europe national moral was low,
it came as a potential cure that an arts festival would sooth and rebuild the country. A festival can bring tourist revenue and rebuild the theatre network that had withered under war. Edinburgh was chosen on the practical basis that it had suffered the least bomb damage and so could withstand the visiting artists and spectators. The City was provided with new drapes for the hotels and plentiful food for the restaurants for the festival, the city was renovated.
And so in 1947 Edinburgh festival presented its display of elite theatrical plays and has been growing and changing ever since.
The festival has received complaint from the city that it has been ignoring the local talent and merely using the city as a heritage site, the Benefit of the festival in 1947 is apparent but what is the festival current reason to be. A Festival must have a reason to be, this reason to be is often the very starting point, the very change in society that has created the need for a festival, for a festive perception of the world.
Well there you go, not a bad meeting of minds I think.