So the journey to Sarajevo has begun. I’m currently tapping this out on a Eurostar to Paris, the second leg of a seven (I think) leg train journey to Sarajevo. Its half ten in the morning UK time now, and I arrive twenty to eleven at night in Sarajevo tomorrow – plenty of time for me to post some preview blogs…and here’s the first!
I’m heading to Sarajevo for the MESS FESTIVAL, the festival of small and experimental theatre. Mess describe themselves as ‘a window into what is happening in the world of theatre’ and that’s exactly why I’m going. The festival – now in its 58th edition – features 23 performances from 17 countries under the overall title of Open for Everything.
One of the many things I’m looking forward to over the next four days is the chance to see some European family work. Having worked with Riksteatern, Bad Co and the House of Extreme Music Theatre – as well as programming a range of European work in Leciester and Liverpool I’ve always been excited by work from the continent. But my experience of European family work is very limited. Back in the UK I’m working on two family shows (Murray Lachlan Young’s The Mystery of Raddlesham Mumps and Jason Singh/Arun Ghosh/Fabric Lenny’s The Stitch Brothers Patchwork Wonders) so I’m keen to get a bit of European perspective.
In the four days I spend at Mess I’ll get the chance to see two of the performances which make up part of MINI MESS. The festival first performance on Saturday is DINDO – a puppet show based on a true story from Rio de Janeiro, where an old man becomes a family member to a penguin. This show comes Gllugl from Varaždin, Croatia – (Gllugl is the acronym acting, puppetry and music, and brings together -actors and puppeteers Filip Eldan , Nikša Eldan , Katarina Arbanas , director, actress and puppet Tamara Kučinović , dramaturge Renata Eldan and musician Petar Eldan). I’m looking forward to a heart warming story about a sudden and unusual life-changing friendship, a proof that friendship knows no boundaries!
That’s followed on Sunday by The Magic Lantern – based on stories from around the world about the wish granting genie. If a bit of googling is to be believed this Bosnian company is being directed by Cengiz Özek who established Istanbul‘s first annual international puppet festival, Istanbul International Puppet Festival, in 1998, and has organized it every year since
Meanwhile back on the Eurostar I appear to be in a whole carriage heading to the Ryder cup! A different type of theatre to the one I’m heading to!!!
(My trip to Mess Festival has been made possible by an Artists International Development Award from Arts Council England and the British Council, see here)