COVID-19 Prompts Stay At Home Theatre Festival May 2020

A theatre festival that was forced to postpone its annual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic has decided to go ahead and create a digital ‘stay at home’ theatre festival.

Birmingham-based BE FESTIVAL is an annual European festival of performing and visual arts. But as a result of the current restrictions imposed to combat infection, the week-long summer festival cannot carry on as normal.

Instead, BE FESTIVAL has today announced plans to take their festival online with a programme featuring innovative work from a broad range of European artists who will create work as a response to the current confinements imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

BE at HOME FESTIVAL will take place across online platforms during lockdown between 

7 – 16 May and will be free for audiences to not only watch, but also join in.

Created by BE FESTIVAL directors, Isla Aguilar and Miguel Oyarzun, BE at HOME FESTIVAL will explore how artists are able to present work within the context of the current lockdown. The programme offers an immediate and intimate mix of live performance in isolation including theatre for an audience of one, a circus performance from an artist’s living room as well as films and talks.

And, following the format of every annual BE FESTIVAL, audiences will be able to join in with the festival’s trademark communal dining experience in their own homes with special daily recipes and cocktail making classes plus an end of festival online party.

The artists include David Espinosa (Spain), Edurne Rubio (Spain / Belgium), Maria Jerez (Spain), Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere (Belgium), Squarehead Productions (Ireland), Francesc Serra Vila (Spain / UK) and DJ Glynn Phillips (UK). Each will offer their own aspect of how to create and share art during these unprecedented times. 

Isla Aguilar and Miguel Oyarzun, Directors of BE FESTIVAL said:

In these uncertain times we absolutely wanted to keep the spirit of BE FESTIVAL alive. We wanted to continue to support our network of artists and still be able to bring together a programme of innovative art from across Europe that our audiences have come to expect each year. 

Although we are currently in lockdown online platforms present an exciting opportunity for artists and audiences to connect and engage.

The BE at HOME FESTIVAL will do just that, albeit on a smaller scale. Our ethos will still be at the heart of it but with the added potential to reach a much wider online global audience who might be looking for an inspiring diversion. 

In terms of what to expect, there will be intimate live performances, beautiful evocative films, an internet theatre challenge and a DJ party to end it all.  We can’t wait to share the BE FESTIVAL communal experience online.”

BE FESTIVAL, now in its 11th year, was due to take place in June 2020.  This year’s full live festival has been postponed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic until 2021, the dates of which will be announced in due course.  BE FESTIVAL has honoured its commitments by paying its programmed artists their full fee for 2020 and a pledge to programme them in 2021. 

The festival is run by a small team of ambitious people who are committed to supporting and presenting European art and artists to audiences in Birmingham and beyond.  Charitable donations are welcomed and can be made befestival.org/support-us in order to help the festival continue deliver their vision in supporting and championing European artists.

BE FESTIVAL is supported by using public funding by Arts Council England.

Links to all events can be found at befestival.org

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