“Festivals are a cultural handshake”

| by Eleanor Turney

On day one of this year’s Edinburgh Showcase, Eleanor Turney asked some delegates what they are most excited about in the week ahead…


“I’m very excited about seeing Forced Entertainent. It’s been a long time since I saw their work, so I’m really looking forward to that, and lots of other shows, of course. I’m excited to meet  people – colleagues and artists. Overall, the Showcase is a kind of zeitgeist. Through the overall programme, you have an idea about what artists are thinking, or concerned about, or sensitive to. When you look at this brochure, you grasp the themes and stories that many people want to talk about.

There are many shows about gender, for example. I find that very exciting. It’s interesting to know what artists are thinking about at this time. Festivals are a really important part of that, for me. This is one of the main purpose of festivals – a gathering of ideas and people. By the end of the week, I hope to be contaminated by ideas, by new ways of looking at things.”

Patricia Ceschi, Aymberê Produções Artísticas, Brazil

“I’m most excited about seeing a show that moves me – I want to see something that really touches my heart. In the past, when I’ve found work like that, I have ended up representing them. Last year I fell in love with Backstage in Biscuitland and Everything Brilliant Thing, and I really advocated for them. I saw a friend in Vancouver straight after, and raved about Every Brilliant Thing, and she ended up programming it. So I think the whole thing about our business is that it’s oftentimes tangential how contacts are made and relationships are developed.

The foreign affairs department in Canada used to have three pillars, and one of them was culture. We used to have really active cultural attachés in the embassies. And then everyone was fired, and we were left with none. Quebec is a lot like Scotland – it doesn’t have an army, it has culture. The arts are a way for the world to interact, a way to get a taste for the cultural personality of that country. It’s like a cultural golf game – if business people want to get to know each other, they go and play golf. Festivals like this are a cultural handshake.”

John Lambert, John Lambert and Associates, Canada


“I’m excited about seeing so many shows in such a small space of time. Also, the buzz of the festival and the Showcase, and its ideas and conversations, are always exciting. A festival environment is particularly good for exchanging ideas and having those kind of conversations – it’s stimulating and inspiring, particularly for independent producers such as myself. This is as good as a week’s intense training course, to kind of update yourself on what’s going on in the world! It’s also a chance to catch up with colleagues and listen to what they have to say about what’s going on in their part of the world.

I’m looking forward to seeing Nassim; I’ve heard so much about his [Nassim Soleimanpour’s] work but I’ve never seen it. I’m excited about seeing .salt. I’ve seen Selina Thompson's work before and was really impressed by it. I’m also looking forward to seeing imitating the dog’s new show, because I’ve worked with them before. I’ve always enjoyed the Showcase because it presents a real diversity of work and different kinds of productions, representing the new work being made across the UK. By the end of the week, I want to have seen something unforgettable, that really makes a mark emotionally. Something that moves me and makes me want to share it with audiences in different parts of the world.”

Charlene Lim, Global Arts Link, France


Eleanor Turney was talking to delegates at the British Council Showcase 2017. Follow @uktheatredance on Twitter for all the latest news, events and recommendations. 


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