Birmingham Rep to Host 2014 BE FESTIVAL, Opens Today
BE FESTIVAL, Birmingham's festival celebrating the best of European theatre returns to the city and a new home at Birmingham Repertory Theatre this July. Featuring over twenty electrifying performances from eleven European countries, plus live music, exhibitions, workshops, discussions and delicious food, this vibrant festival puts Birmingham on the map as the theatre capital of Europe from 2 - 12 July 2014.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, this year BE FESTIVAL takes over Birmingham Repertory Theatre, turning the building back to front as festival-goers will be able to step backstage and experience The REP in an innovative and exciting way. The REP's set construction workshop will be transformed into a festival hub with a bar for audiences to socialise and the scenic paintshop becomes an interactive exhibition space, while the theatre's vast main stage will be converted into a pop-up restaurant.
BE FESTIVAL is Birmingham's European theatre festival, bringing together daring and unforgettable new performances from Spain, Italy, Denmark, France, Hungary and Germany among others. Each night features four 30 minute-long shows with audiences offered the opportunity to eat dinner with the performers in the interval.
BE FESTIVAL began life in a disused metal pressings factory five years ago and organisers wanted to continue the industrial and atmospheric feel that the festival has become known for, as Co-Director Miguel Oyarzun explains:
"Our first home, A E Harris, was the perfect setting and beginning for BE FESTIVAL. But the factory is now manufacturing again, which is great news for them, but it meant we had to find a new home! The REP's set construction workshop has that same industrial feel and function and once we've moved out the machinery and tools and brought in some lights, comfy chairs and a bar it will be a fantastic place for people to meet and soak up the atmosphere.
"BE FESTIVAL has helped put Birmingham on the map for theatre companies across Europe," adds Miguel. "In our first year we had applications from sixty European companies wanting to perform at the festival, this year we had over six hundred. It's great to see that Birmingham and the festival is fast becoming a destination for artists from across Europe."
Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre adds: "BE FESTIVAL was one of the first city arts events that I attended when I took over at Artistic Director of The REP and I became an instant fan. It's a unique festival where you can enjoy and engage with a diverse programme of European theatre no matter what language you speak. It's very open and sociable and with everyone sharing dinner nightly there's a real sense of community.
"The festival also reflects what we do at The REP. We create new work, support and nurture artists and provide a platform for emerging companies to develop and share their work with an audience. I'm delighted that The REP will be home to this brilliant creative festival and it's particularly nice to be able to allow audiences backstage to enjoy and explore spaces where usually our carpenters, metalworkers, scenic artists create and build sets."
Tickets for BE FESTIVAL 2014 go on sale today 16 April 2014. Box Office: 0121 236 4455. Online booking: Birmingham-rep.co.uk.