• 23 Mar. '17

    Word Theatre Day Message 2017 by Isabelle Huppert

    So, here we are once more. Gathered again in Spring, 55 years since our inaugural meeting, to celebrate World Theatre Day. Just one day, 24 hours, is dedicated to celebrating theatre around the world. And here we are in Paris, the premier city in the world for attracting international theatre groups, to venerate the art of theatre.
    Paris is a world city, fit to contain the globes theatre traditions in a day of celebration; from here in France’s capital we can transport ourselves to Japan by experiencing Noh and Bunraku theatre, trace a line from here to thoughts and expressions as diverse as Peking Opera and Kathakali; the stage allows us to linger between Greece and Scandinavia as we envelope ourselves in Aeschylus and Ibsen, Sophocles and Strindberg; it allows us to flit between Britain and Italy as we reverberate between Sarah Kane and Prinadello. Within these twenty-four hours we may be taken from France to Russia, from Racine and Moliere to Chekhov; we can even cross the Atlantic as a bolt of inspiration to serve on a Campus in California, enticing a young student there to reinvent and make their name in theatre.

    Indeed, theatre has such a thriving life that it defies space and time; its most contemporary pieces are nourished by the achievements of past centuries, and even the most classical repertories become modern and vital each time they are played anew. Theatre is always reborn from its ashes, shedding only its previous conventions in its new-fangled forms: that is how it stays alive.

    World Theatre Day then, is obviously no ordinary day to be lumped in with the procession of others. It grants us access to an immense space-time continuum via the sheer majesty of the global canon. To enable me the ability to conceptualise this, allow me to quote a French playwright, as brilliant as he was discreet, Jean Tardieu: When thinking of space, Tardieu says it is sensible to ask “what is the longest path from one to another?”...For time, he suggests measuring, “in tenths of a second, the time it takes to pronounce the word ‘eternity’”…For space-time, however, he says: “before you fall asleep , fix your mind upon two points of space, and calculate the time it takes, in a dream, to go from one to the other”. It is the phrase in a dream that has always stuck with me. It seems as though Tardieu and Bob Wilson met. We can also summarise the temporal uniqueness of World Theatre day by quoting the words of Samuel Beckett, who makes the character Winnie say, in his expeditious style: “Oh what a beautiful day it will have been”. When thinking of this message, that I feel honoured to have been asked to write, I remembered all the dreams of all these scenes. As such, it is fair to say that I did not come to this UNESCO hall alone; every character I have ever played is here with me, roles that seem to leave when the curtain falls, but who have carved out an underground life within me, waiting to assist or destroy the roles that follow; Phaedra, Araminte, Orlando, Hedda Gabbler, Medea, Merteuil, Blanche DuBois….Also supplementing me as I stand before you today are all the characters I loved and applauded as a spectator. And so it is, therefore, that I belong to the world. I am Greek, African, Syrian, Venetian, Russian, Brazilian, Persian, Roman, Japanese, a New Yorker, a Marseillais, Filipino, Argentinian, Norwegian, Korean, German, Austrian, English – a true citizen of the world, by virtue of the personal ensemble that exists within me. For it is here, on the stage and in the theatre, that we find true globalization.

    On World Theatre Day in 1964, Laurence Olivier announced that, after more than a century of struggle, a National Theatre has just been created in the United Kingdom, which he immediately wanted to morph into an international theatre, at least in terms of its repertoire. He knew well that Shakespeare belonged to the world.

    In researching the writing of this message, I was glad to learn that the inaugural World Theatre Day message of 1962 was entrusted to Jean Cocteau, a fitting candidate due to his authoring of the book ‘Around the World Again in 80 Days’. This made me realise that I have gone around the world differently. I did it in 80 shows or 80 movies. I include movies in this as I do not differentiate between playing theatre and playing movies, which surprises even me each time I say it, but it is true, that’s how it is, I see no difference between the two.

    Speaking here I am not myself, I am not an actress, I am just one of the many people that theatre uses as a conduit to exist, and it is my duty to be receptive to this - or, in other words, we do not make theatre exist, it is rather thanks to theatre that we exist. The theatre is very strong. It resists and survives everything, wars, censors, penury.

    It is enough to say that “the stage is a naked scene from an indeterminate time” – all’s it needs is an actor. Or an actress. What are they going to do? What are they going to say? Will they talk? The public waits, it will know, for without the public there is no theatre – never forget this. One person alone is an audience. But let’s hope there are not too many empty seats! Productions of Ionesco’s productions are always full, and he represents this artistic valour candidly and beautifully by having, at the end of one of his plays, and old lady say; “Yes, Yes, die in full glory. Let’s die to enter the legend…at least we will have our street…”

    World Theatre Day has existed for 55 years now. In 55 years, I am the eighth woman to be invited to pronounce a message – if you can call this a ‘message’ that is. My predecessors (oh, how the male of the species imposes itself!) spoke about the theatre of imagination, freedom, and originality in order to evoke beauty, multiculturalism and pose unanswerable questions. In 2013, just four years ago, Dario Fo said: “The only solution to the crisis lies in the hope of the great witch-hunt against us, especially against young people who want to learn the art of theatre: thus a new diaspora of actors will emerge, who will undoubtedly draw from this constraint unimaginable benefits by finding a new representation”. Unimaginable Benefits – sounds like a nice formula, worthy to be included in any political rhetoric, don’t you think?...

    As I am in Paris, shortly before a presidential election, I would like to suggest that those who apparently yearn to govern us should be aware of the unimaginable benefits brought about by theatre. But I would also like to stress, no witch-hunt!

    Theatre is for me represents the other it is dialogue, and it is the absence of hatred. ‘Friendship between peoples’ – now, I do not know too much about what this means, but I believe in community, in friendship between spectators and actors, in the lasting union between all the peoples theatre brings together – translators, educators, costume designers, stage artists, academics, practitioners and audiences. Theatre protects us; it shelters us…I believe that theatre loves us…as much as we love it…

    I remember an old-fashioned stage director I worked for, who, before the nightly raising of the curtain would yell, with full-throated firmness ‘Make way for theatre!’ – and these shall be my last words tonight.

    Thank you.

    Translation Malory Domecyn and Tom Johnson.
  • 18 Sep. '18

    Research on musical mobility in the Lowlands

    Dutch Performing Arts and Flanders Arts Institute took the initiative to closely investigate the musical mobility in the Lowlands: What opportunities are there for Belgian artists to perform in the Netherlands and vice versa? And what room or need is there for improvement?
  • 22 Aug. '18

    Call for proposals: Classical:NEXT 2019

    The call for proposals for Classical:NEXT 2019 is now open.
  • 21 Aug. '18

    Recap of inJazz 2018: Lingua Franca Ensemble

    In June this year Dutch Performing Arts commissioned a special Dutch World Stage at networking and showcase festival inJazz, in collaboration with World Music Forum NL. Four Dutch acts presented themselves to an audience of Dutch and international music lovers and presenters. How do they look back on their performance? And what does the future hold for them?
  • 14 Aug. '18

    For residents of Egypt, Morocco, Russia, and Turkey: Apply for ISPA´s Netherlands Fellowship Programme 2019

    Following our earlier call, ISPA offers an additional place in the Netherlands Fellowship Programme, supported by Dutch Performing Arts. The programme provides access to ISPA's extensive international network of arts professionals to mid-career leaders from the performing arts community. This call is open to residents of Egypt, Morocco, Russia, and Turkey.
  • 13 Aug. '18

    Recap of inJazz 2018: Tabanka

    In June this year Dutch Performing Arts commissioned a special Dutch World Stage at networking and showcase festival inJazz, in collaboration with World Music Forum NL. Four Dutch acts presented themselves to an audience of Dutch and international music lovers and presenters. How do they look back on their performance? And what does the future hold for them?
  • 9 Aug. '18

    Call for applications: International exchange hosted by ASSITEJ Germany

    ASSITEJ Germany invites every ASSITEJ centre to nominate one director from their country to take part in Directors in TYA – An International Exchange.
  • 8 Aug. '18

    Thinking about going to PAMS 2018?

    Are you a Netherlands-based maker in field of theatre or dance, or (artistic) director/ representative of a Dutch theatre or dance company, and thinking about going to Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) 2018? Then you could get a contribution for your visit.
  • 2 Aug. '18

    Recap of inJazz 2018: Shishani & Namibian Tales

    In June this year Dutch Performing Arts commissioned a special Dutch World Stage at networking and showcase festival inJazz, in collaboration with World Music Forum NL. Four Dutch acts presented themselves to an audience of Dutch and international music lovers and presenters. How do they look back on their performance? And what does the future hold for them?
  • 31 Jul. '18

    Open call for poductions: ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2019

    ASSITEJ Norway and the Sand festival are on a worldwide search for interesting productions for a young audience. They're hosting next year's ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Kristiansand, Norway on 2-7 September 2019.
  • 27 Jul. '18

    Invitation to K-PAP 2019

    ASSITEJ invites 15 performing arts professionals (such as artistic directors, presenters and promoters) to K-PAP 2019.
  • 20 Jul. '18

    Summer update Going Dutch: Jazz from the Netherlands

    Dutch Performing Arts commissioned the Jazz Promotion Network (JPN) to coordinate the focus programme Going Dutch in 2017 and 2018 to support Dutch jazz musicians and/or groups to perform and tour in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Check out our overview of upcoming gigs.
  • 13 Jul. '18

    Open calls for international activities in Iran 2018-2019

    The Dramatic Arts Center of Iran (DAC) organises three international theatre festivals in different genres over the period of 2018-2019. Theatre managers and representatives are invited to submit performances.
  • 11 Jun. '18

    For choreographers: Apply now for the Aerowaves Twenty

    Dance network Aerowaves invites talented emerging choreographers based in Europe to apply for the Aerowaves Twenty.
  • 6 Jun. '18

    Dutch artists confirmed for Reeperbahn festival

    The first Dutch artists have been confirmed for the Reeperbahn Festival, Europe’s biggest club festival.
  • 30 May. '18

    Dutch Performing Arts | En France: Upcoming Events

    This coming summer there are several Dutch performances in the context of Dutch Performing Arts | En France.
  • 30 May. '18

    Recap of Classical:NEXT 2018

    De Doelen and Dutch Performing Arts promoted the classical and contemporary music scene at the Dutch Pavilion during Classical:NEXT 2018 from 16 to 20 May at De Doelen in Rotterdam.
  • 30 May. '18

    Update about activities Dutch Performing Arts

    Dutch Performing Arts promotes Dutch music, theatre and dance abroad. These animation and infographics provide an overview of our activities in 2017.
  • 30 May. '18

    Thinking about going to Cinars & Mundial Montreal 2018?

    Are you a Dutch-based musician, composer or (artistic) director of a Dutch music ensemble and thinking about going to Cinars and/or Mundial Montreal?
  • 28 May. '18

    Apply for ISPA's Dutch Fellowship Programme 2019

    The Netherlands Fellowship Program provides access to ISPA's extensive international network of arts professionals to mid-career leaders from the Netherlands' performing arts community.
  • 24 May. '18

    Open Call Music Theatre Now 2018

    The Music Theatre Committee in International Theatre Institute invites makers of operas of all shapes and sizes, which were professionally produced in the past three years, to submit their works.
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