The world nearby at 26th edition of Noorderzon

Posted at: 07 Apr 2016

First names Noorderzon

The 26th edition of Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen will begin on Thursday 18 August and end on Sunday 28 August 2016. Every year, Noorderzon presents a wide selection of work from across the world in Groningen. This includes many new productions by theatre makers from Europe, but also work from countries and cultures further afield from Western Europe. In 2016, Noorderzon will present a programme of European and non-European theatre makers who have urgent stories to tell about their culture and environment – stories that include those of Noorderzon visitors. Stories that are told in innovative language, rooted in present and past. Noorderzon will thus provide a contemporary window on the world. It is with great pride that Noorderzon presents the first names of the main programme of the festival’s upcoming edition.

Opening performance: Dead Centre | Chekhov’s First Play (Dublin, Ireland/London, UK)
‘I’m having absolutely nothing to do with the theatre or the human race. They can all go to hell.’ – Anton Chekhov
During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Maria Chekhov, Anton’s sister, hid many of her brother’s manuscripts and papers in a small vault in Moscow. In 1921, Soviet scientists opened the vault and discovered a play that was missing its title page. The play in question had a far too large cast, too many themes and too much action. In the end, the play was generally considered impossible to stage. Like life itself. The young company Dead Centre (winner of a Fringe First, Herald Angel Award and the Irish Times Theatre  Award for Best Production), nevertheless decided to stage the play. Chekhov´s First Play is the first production that the Irish will perform at Noorderzon, sullying the reputation of a great playwright. Chekhov before he was Chekhov. Audience members will wear a headset throughout the performance, which will furnish them with a bizarre and hilarious live running commentary on the stage action. Noorderzon is proud to open the festival with this production, which will set the tone for the 26th edition.

Mats Staub | 21 – Memories of Growing Up (Zurich, Switzerland)
Mrs Zirkelbach turned 21 in 1939, Mr Krause in 1970 and Sophie Jansen in 1991. When did you turn 21? What happened in that year? And did you really feel adult then? Swiss artist Mats Staub discussed these questions with a large group of people of all ages. He recorded their stories and then had them listen to their own answers three months later, while filming their facial expressions. This resulted in the video installation 21, in which the visitors can view and listen to these video portraits and stories, thus engaging in an intimate moment in the lives of the narrators of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Staub collects new stories in every city he visits, continually adding to the collection of faces from various places and cultures. For Noorderzon he will collect eight new portraits of visitors, which will be recorded in the near future.

El Conde de Torrefiel | Guerrilla (Barcelona, Spain)
El Conde de Torrefiel is a Spanish collective that visited Noorderzon last year with its production Escenas para una conversación después del visionado de una película de Michael Haneke. This year they will be presenting a new project, Guerrilla, which will require no fewer than 80 local volunteer actors to stage, whom Noorderzon will be recruiting in the near future. This new project questions the future of a new generation of young Europeans in a black comedy about oppression and consciousness. The production is currently under development and will premiere at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. Noorderzon is coproducing this production as part of the European network NXTSTP.

Taoufiq Izeddiou /Cie Anania | En Alerte (Marrakesh, Morocco)
Taoufiq Izeddiou is the founder of Morrocco’s first modern dance company, Cie Anania, and artistic director of On Marche, an international modern dance festival in Marrakesh. En Alerte is a solo dance performance based on the natural attraction between the divine or spiritual in our current societies. Izeddiou recognizes an unworldly attraction in spirituality, an ancient wisdom and an incentive for blind violence. He transforms this duality into movement and sound, engaging his solid body and clear voice in the struggle. He collaborates with two musicians in the performance. He surrenders his entire being, resists, and takes action in a ‘state of fear and vigilance’. En Alerte: the body at the highest threat level. During his residency in Groningen in February, Izeddiou further investigated his concept, taking his first steps towards a performance you can see at Noorderzon 2016. Noorderzon is coproducing this production as part of the European network NXTSTP.

Sarah Vanhee/CAMPO | Oblivion (Ghent, Belgium)
Imagine a place where you are reconnected with everything you have left behind, erased or have discarded. Objects, thoughts, relationships you had freed yourself of and had already forgotten have all made a return. They are yours, you care for them. You turn around, reconsider, reinvest. Everything has some value. When is your waste no longer your waste? For her new piece, Oblivion, for an entire year Sara Vanhee recorded what she otherwise would have discarded in work and life, and used this to create a performance. She views how we deal with things that otherwise would end up in the bin or be forgotten from an ontological perspective. When is your waste no longer your waste? Noorderzon is coproducing this production as part of the European network NXTSTP.

Edit Kaldor | Web of Trust (Budapest, Hungary/Amsterdam, Netherlands)
‘It may not look like theatre, but it is. Better yet, it is the best form of theatre imaginable.’ This was the way a writer described the work of the Hungarian director Edit Kaldor. Kaldor transforms Shakespeare’s ‘all the world’s a stage’ into ‘all cyberspace is a stage’. She was born in Budapest, raised in the United States and is based in Amsterdam. Edit Kaldor’s Web of Trust is an attempt to found a new online platform: a ‘trust network’. The ultimate aim? To gather together people online from across the world and to create a social movement based on respect and equality. Web of Trust brings internet to the theatre and offers an opportunity to transform passive dissatisfaction into active engagement. The performance will evolve into an action plan that will mobilise everyone.

Berlin | ZVIZDAL  - Holocene [#6] [Chernobyl - so far so close] (Antwerp, Belgium)
A cinematic portrait of two people, living in a ghost town. A story about solitude and survival, resulting from a failed atomic experiment. 1986. Some 90 towns in the vicinity of Pripyat are evacuated. A failed atomic experiment drastically alters the lives of the inhabitants. They leave their homes, never to return. Pétro and Nadia, a couple aged sixty, born and raised in in Zvizdal, refuse to be evacuated. They choose to remain in their village, to retain their home. A ghost town. All their acquaintances have left, with only their plundered homes bearing witness to the former activity. Petrified places, lost to nature, now once again given free rein. During the period between 2011 and 2016, Berlin follows Pétro and Nadia, allowing a portrait to be drawn of the evolution throughout the years. How are years of isolation borne? Zvizdal is a portrait of loneliness, survival, poverty, hope and the love between two elderly people surrounded by the colourless, odourless, ever-present danger of radiation.

Penny Arcade (New York, United States)
Penny Arcade is considered the Queen of Underground Performance, within the United States and abroad. Andy Warhol himself recruited her in the Sixties after her The Playhouse of the Ridiculous stand-up performances. At the time Penny was still in her teens. She participated in Warhol’s Rent a Superstar and was given a lead role in the Morrissey/Warhol film Women in Revolt. Nowadays – in her sixties herself – she is every bit as pertinent as then. Last year she wowed the Edinburgh festival and this year she will visit Groningen to put on a highly relevant late-night show.

First name of the music programme: Daniel Norgren (Borås, Sweden)
Until quite recently, Daniel Norgren was Sweden's best-kept musical secret, a situation he himself has rectified in these past few years, touring extensively throughout Europe as a one-man band. The bearded musician hails from a tiny Swedish town, but could just as well have come from Louisiana or Mississippi, given the excruciatingly beautiful, laid-back blues songs he writes, worn and tested, betraying country, gospel, jazz and rock influences. His songs sound beautifully traditional yet contemporary, like diamonds in the rough.

Other Noorderzon programmes
In addition to the main programme, Noorderzon has a wide variety of other programmes, from a riveting international music programme to dozens of shipping container performances and a mini literature festival. From a playing field full of things to do for children, including special children’s performances, to visual arts displayed across the festival grounds. In the coming weeks and months, more and more names from the programme will be announced.

Ticket sales
The Early Bird Ticket Sales of Noorderzon 2016 will begin on Monday 20 June via this website, while regular ticket sales will commence Monday 25 July, also via the website, as well as at a ticket sales point in the city of Groningen.