27th edition of Noorderzon ended

Posted at: 27 Aug 2017

27th edition of Noorderzon holds up a mirror to visitors in a changing world

The 27th edition of the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen closed on Sunday 27 August with the traditional Noorderzondag. Over the course of eleven days, over 150,000 visitors enjoyed everything that the festival had to offer: a very well received national and international performing arts programme that took place throughout Groningen, combined with wonderful summer festivities in the idyllic Noorderplantsoen park. The 2017 programme featured the young and experienced voices of exciting theatre makers from such countries as the United Kingdom, Argentina, Japan, Syria and the United States. This year, Noorderzon took place from Thursday 17 August until Sunday 27 August.


A mirror held up to you in a changing world
From Julian Hetzel's small bars of soap made from human fat to the Brazilian dancers covered in coffee, clay and curcuma of Lia Rodrigues. From the Australian makers of Gravity & Other Myths, who make defying gravity seem simple, to a poetic performance about death made with dancing hands. From Mariano Pensotti’s revolutionary puppet theatre-film-theatre performance to an impressive documentary by Quarantine about someone who knows that their end is near. About living on 3.50 a day as told by the Mexican Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol to the intimate stories of refugee Syrian women presented by Bissane al Charif.

During the 27th edition of Noorderzon, artists provided their own take on how people manage to survive in an ever-changing world. In very many of the performances the role of the audience was important in a variety of ways. From all working together to put together a performance with the American company 600 HIGHWAYMEN and with Teatro Instabile di Aosta, to literally viewing yourself in festival hits Hamnet by Dead Centre (Ireland) an Cold Blood by Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey (Belgium). There were many ways visitors had a mirror held up to themselves, the world and their role in it.

Talking Points: debate, lectures and innovation
At Noorderzon this year the programme had a number of connecting themes, a series of Talking Points. Together with a number of excellent local partners, the festival offered visitors various opportunities for further insight and discussion in the newest tent at the festival site, the Horatio tent. Noorderzon activities included presenting a wide-ranging scientific programme with partners including Studium Generale, the University of Groningen and Science Linx. Art was debated and how a festival can be a political arena, sustainable innovations were discussed on the first Sustainable Sunday, and together with media partner Dagblad van het Noorden and the Verhalen van Groningen, the Groningen region and the future were debated.

Music: Holy Fuck, Tank and the Bangas, Klangstof, Mario Batkovic and more
On various stages in the Noorderplantsoen and in the city centre there were many musical performances which often could be visited free of charge. The Spiegeltent hosted performances including ones by virtuoso Mario Batkovic, Courtney Marie Andrews and Parker Millsap. Het Dok performers included Holy Fuck, Klangstof, Tank and the Bangas and Parcels. In the Lutheran Church Keiko Shichijo and the Dublin Guitar Quartet played, while pop podium Simplon hosted Jacques putting on a special electronic party during Clash. At Podium Plataan, Podium op Zuid and the new Dwergen Podium various local, national and international musicians took the stage.

Local talent at special locations
Special local projects took place at special locations in the city. On the roof of The Big Building the performance Štěstí | Geluk by PeerGrouP premiered with a wonderful view, while in one of the oldest farmhouses in Groningen Sla Dood! by Buning and Van der Wijk was seen for the very first time. A warehouse proved the perfect location for the narrative theatre of Illustere Figuren. More special locations were also visited during the popular city walks provided by Productiehuis Spinbarg and Platform GRAS, among others.

Programme for 4 to 104
In addition to the successful Jonge Gasten programme on the Speelweide, for children aged four and over, this year a new event was added to the Noorderzon programme: Stee in Plantsoen. During three afternoons, elderly inhabitants of Groningen and environs were invited to the Paviljoen terrace in the park to enjoy a special programme.

National and international visitors
For a fifth time, Noorderzon hosted the international Director’s Circle, the conference of American theatrical programmers and representatives of distinctive festivals from every continent. Representatives of the NXTSTP network also visited, which provides a number of – generally European – artists the opportunity to develop a show and then take it to influential festivals. There was also a delegation from political The Hague at the invitation of the City of Groningen and the province of Groningen.

Noorderzon receives the support of many volunteers. Over 800 individuals volunteered, putting in nearly 40,000 hours of work for the festival. Noorderzon would not be able to take place without the efforts of all these wonderful people, who together make the festival the brilliant event it is.

From PLA to tokens
For years now, Noorderzon has been making behind-the-scenes decisions that are intended to reduce the negative impact on people, nature and the environment, in particular by adopting greener production methods and recycling materials. This is exemplified by the PLA cups which were collected by visitors in 2016 and then transformed into sustainable drinks tokens which were reused during the festival; this year many cups were again collected to this end. For the seventh year in a row, the festival has been awarded the Green Key gold-level sustainability certificate.

The arts media about Noorderzon
‘Noorderzon proves itself as discoverer of great performers.’ – Alexander Hiskemuller, Dutch daily Trouw, 22 August 2017

‘Few festivals have such a variety of presentation for the stories told as international festival Noorderzon, which began last Thursday for the 27th time in Groningen.’ – Annette Embrechts, Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 21 August 2017

‘Solidarity is an important theme at the Groningen festival Noorderzon, which showcases innovative and experimental theatre.’ – Ron Rijghard, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, 22 August 2017

‘This performance, with no frills and an outstanding script, will no doubt be among the 2017 top three. And not just at Noorderzon.’ – Eric Nederkoorn in Dutch daily Dagblad van het Noorden on Hamnet by Dead Centre, 24 August 2017

‘The result is a wonderful portrait of the absurdity and banality of existence, subtly pointing us in the direction of a passionate life.’ – Sander Janssens on Cold Blood by Jaco Van Domael and Michèle Anne De Mey in De Theaterkrant, 24 August 2017

‘So the sky doesn’t fall. And you think: With such dance the sky can simply never fall.’ – Job van Schaik in Dagblad van het Noorden about For the sky not to fall by Lia Rodrigues, 26 August 2017

‘Rodriquez sketches an astounding combination of a twisted life without a future and his personal struggle and doubts.’ – Eric Nederkoorn in Dutch daily Dagblad van het Noorden on Tijuana by Lagartijas Tiradas Al Sol, 21 August 2017

The 28th edition of Noorderzon will take place 16–26 August 2018.