Our 2018 Voila! Europe Theatre Festival ran 5-18 November at The Cockpit, Etcetera Theatre, Applecart Arts, and Theatre Deli.
Thank you to all the artists, companies, audiences, and venues who participated!
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video by Actin Productions
DIRECTORS' NOTE: 2018 FESTIVAL
Welcome to Voila! 2018: border-busting multilingual, multicultural, multidisciplinary performance from across Europe. This year, 200 artists, 36 shows, 4 London venues over 12 days. Plus a new opportunity for audiences and interested parties to meet the companies and join the growing conversation about Europe-wide fringe theatre.
We’ve added a Festival Hub in collaboration with Theatre Deli in Broadgate, open daily in the heart of London to theatre companies, audiences, the public, and YOU. Meet us at the crossroads of European and British theatre at Theatre Deli Bar and Café to connect, share, learn, network, and discuss. Socialise as much – or as little – as you like at the free opening party and bring your beautiful mind to the weekend European Theatre Forum of panel discussions, workshops and Open Space conversations. All welcome. No passports required.
We are passionate about exploring and expanding the idea of being European. This year’s VOILA! includes a show by Polish & Nigerian artists combining theatre styles from their countries, a real-life couple describing their fight to stay in the UK despite Indian & German citizenships, a solo show charting the life of a Jewish Lebanese British gay man, and more.
Themes range from robots and new technology to European vs village identities, from Europe-wide LGBTQ stories to witchcraft and mysticism, via stories of coming of age to ageing. Styles range from animation to masks, from comedy to circus, through dance, cabaret, and drama.
So why do we describe Voila! Festival as multilingual rather than international? Did you know the EU recognizes 24 official languages; French, Irish, Latvian, etc. reflecting the mix of EU states - and all EU citizens have the right to communicate with EU institutions in any of them and receive a reply in the same language? Cool, eh? Especially if your first language is one of the 24.
But did you also know 40 million EU citizens regard an additional 60 ‘unofficial’ languages as first languages: Basque, Catalan, Welsh, Yiddish, etc. And that the 508 million EU population, including its resident diasporas, probably use the world‘s 4,000 main languages between them. And, if they don’t, then the wider European population of 740 million almost certainly does.
The writer Elias Canetti said: “We don’t live in a country, but in a language”.
He meant that we live through culture, regardless of which state boundary surrounds us, and the fundamental process of culture is language. That’s why Voila! styles itself multi-lingual, not international. Because while state borders monopolise our political imagination, when it comes to actual living, communicating, and relating as groups and individuals across state borders, as well as within them, the idea of fixed national boundaries – and cultures - falls apart. But languages and real people cross borders and always have.
In this context, insisting your theatre comes in one language only from one bounded, geo-political state might come to feel a bit limited, n’est-ce pas? So it’s Voila! Multilingual. Because that’s the world we live in.