Four New Festivals
For art forms as varied as clowning and cabinetmaking, this is the age of the festival. A festival can be an effective tool for increased media visibility, creative exchange or organizational networking—not to mention the celebratory atmosphere that makes a successful one just plain fun to experience. Two American cities and two in Canada have recently announced that they will host major arts festivals in 1984 and ’85. Three of the four celebrations will be devoted primarily to theatre.
The first on the calendar is Quebec City’s International Theatre Fortnight, scheduled June 9-23. Limited to 20 companies in its first year, the biennial festival is being financed by provincial and federal governments. A match of five companies from English-speaking Canada and five from French-speaking Québec is aimed at bringing the “two solitudes” of English and French Canada together in a healthy artistic exchange, says festival artistic director Alexander Hausvater.
The U.S. will be represented by American Repertory Theatre’s much-traveled production of School for Scandal, directed by Jonathan Miller, and Sganarelle, directed by Andrei Serban. International entries will also come from Germany, Czechoslovakia, France and Belgium. Schedules and other information are available from ITF, Box 157, Station B, Quebec G1K 7A6, Canada; (418) 692-3064.
Philadelphia’s American Music Theatre Festival, scheduled June 27-July 15, focuses on music theatre in all its forms—opera, musical comedy, music drama and experimental works. The festival will feature six full productions and a range of “fringe” activities such as cabaret showcases and a film series.
Among the productions will be The Emperor Jones, a new music theatre work based on the play by Eugene O’Neill, with James Earl Jones; the first performance since 1930 of Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band!, and the premiere of an intimate piece called Trio by composer Nòa Ain. For further information contact AMT at 100 Market St., Suite 1225, Philadelphia, PA 19106; (215) 925-4462.
Ann Arbor, Mich., is gearing up for a summer arts festival June 30-July 24, organized by the city and the University of Michigan. Mime Marcel Marceau, dancer Edward Villella, actress Claire Bloom and singer Sherrill Miles are among the performers to be featured, and the ubiquitous ART company will be there to present the same two productions mentioned above.
Finally, on tap for May 1985 is a Theatre Festival of the Americas in Montreal, a 10-day confluence of artists and work from across the American continent. Artists and companies interested in participating have been invited by festival directors Marie-Hélene Falcon and Jacques Vézina to submit proposals to the festival, c.p. 119, Succursale N., Montreal, Quebec H2X 3M2, Canada; (514) 842-0704.
From May 25-June 10, Charleston, S.C. becomes a beehive of arts activity during the Spoleto Festival, under the artistic direction of opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti. This year’s festival boasts 120 events in 17 days, including opera, dance, theatre, visual arts exhibitions and music.
International experts in the field of arts and special education will gather in Washington, D.C. May 23-26 for the Very Special Arts Festival, a showcase for arts exhibitions created by disabled children. Representatives from Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa will be on hand for the event, which marks the 10th year of the National Committee, Arts for the Handicapped, the nation’s coordinating agency for arts programs for the disabled.
“You’ve done something both exciting and risky, and from it a new kind of theatre may arise out of the south,” Charles Fuller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, told delegates to last year’s Atlanta New Play Project Festival. With that ambitious vision in mind, the Project will stage its 1984 festival June 13-17, with workshops, performances and conference sessions adding up to a full agenda. For information contact project director Nancy Hagar, 336 5th St., N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308.
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