James Joyce Inspires Three Year Creative Journey Across Europe For ULYSSES

18 cities in 16 countries from across Europe have come together to create ULYSSES European Odyssey.

By: Jun. 14, 2023
James Joyce Inspires Three Year Creative Journey Across Europe For ULYSSES
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James Joyce Inspires Three Year Creative Journey Across Europe For ULYSSES

18 cities in 16 countries from across Europe have come together to create ULYSSES European Odyssey, an ambitious three-year multi-arts programme inspired by James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses that runs until June 2024.

Events are happening in Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Cluj, Copenhagen, Derry-Donegal, Dublin, Eleusis, Istanbul, Leeuwarden, Lisbon, Lugo, Marseille, Oulu, Paris, Trieste, Vilnius and Zurich.

The programme highlights the contemporary relevance of James Joyce's pivotal novel, with themes including citizenship and democracy; migration; youth; Europe's ageing population; social media; food production and sustainability; education; religion and social co-existence; sexual identity; the environment; mental health; and neighbourhoods and community.

The festival includes 14 free public city events animating the democratic public spaces of modern cities, a key element of Ulysses. Individuals from all walks of life - from doctors to dancers, postmen to producers, shopkeepers to surgeons - are also being invited to come together at cross-sectoral public arts and society symposia in 16 cities. The aim is to create chARTer 309, a new democratic statement for the future relationship between the arts and society based on the 18 themes in Ulysses to be published in late 2024.

In addition, 30 artist exchange residencies are taking place, and 18 writers from different literary genres and from each city have been commissioned to contribute to EUROPE-ULYSSES, a new book also to be published next year.

The final event, the YES Festival, will take place in Derry/Donegal from 14-16 June next year, coinciding with Bloomsday 2024.

Conceived by ARTS OVER BORDERS (Ireland's acclaimed presenting body for cross-border arts festivals), and developed with Lead Partner, Brave New World Producties (Netherlands-based producing company) working with partners in each of the 18 cities, ULYSSES European Odyssey is funded through an award from the European Commission's Creative Europe Fund.

The programme includes a variety of theatre and performance taking place in public spaces in different European cities. Recent and current activity has taken place in Lugo (Spain), Copenhagen Istanbul and Vilnius. Upcoming activity includes:


Cluj-Napoca, Romania

7-16 July 2023

The theatre company Create.Act.Enjoy take Sirens, the eleventh episode of Ulysses, and ideas about the 'other', family relationships, the loss of loved ones, absence and presence, as the starting point for an immersive promenade performance piece, which considers the migration of Romanians abroad (of different ethnicity, gender, age and at different moments throughout history), and the effects it has on families. SIRENS is a theatrical collage that invites participation from the audience, which takes place in factory and industrial sites, linking it to the issue of jobs and employment, the Romanian political system and the economy.


Eleusis, Greece

26-30 September 2023

metamorphoSEA features a site-specific artistic intervention by Dutch theatre director Sjoerd Wagenaar inspired by the Eleusis coast and the almost dystopian ships "graveyard" in the Vlycha area. The project has been developed by CHORUS, a non-profit organisation founded in Eleusis in 2016 by active citizens to bridge the gap between arts, education and social issues. The local community will be involved, and Greek and Dutch artists are collaborating on the performance, launching an international exchange of skills, practices and experiences. Presented in collaboration with Eleusis European Capital of Culture 2023 and Brave New World Producties (NL), metamorphoSEA focuses on mobilising local communities to imagine a better future and address environmental issues through cultural practices.


Oulu, Finland

17-19 November 2023

Nighttown is a public art, illumination and performance show that responds to the fifteenth episode Circe, with its focus on dreams and the unconscious, to highlight well-being in Europe today. The city of Oulu is located in northern Finland, which has 24-hour daylight in the summertime and a lack of sunlight in the winter months, which presents mental health challenges for people living there. Light festivals and other cultural interventions have been shown to have a positive impact on well-being.

Taking place as the Lumo light festival which takes place annually in Oulo, Nighttown combines light and video art with performative elements, including contemporary dance and circus. Directed by the award-winning dance artist Pirjo Yli-Maunula and co-created with the whole team of 15 artists from Oulu-based dance company Flow Productions, the audience is invited to dive into the multisensory world of the subconscious, hallucinations and decadence, depending on their individual courage. The performance is being presented in the former Finnish National Bank building, which has been inaccessible to the public for decades.

La Danse d'Amazon

Berlin, Germany

23-26 November 2023

Award-winning Berlin-based theatre group Rimini Protokoll have taken the seventh episode Aeolus as a starting point to interrogate the influence of Amazon, the fetishisation of commodities, warehouse logistics and the torn dreams of the 21st Century, bringing together digital, multimedia and live performance, including theatre, dance and circus,

La Danse d'Amazon assembles the experiences of Amazonians, circus artists, theorists on money, commodities, experts for e-commerce, behaviourism, accelerationism, the situation of the Amazonas region, the rise of the biggest selling platform the world has ever seen, and the act of smiling. The 18 chapters of Ulysses have transformed into an 18-hour protocol of the day's world markets and what is said about them, and locates the traces of specific commodities within them, in mines, factories, in containers, websites and in the cloud. The core question of the project: What do we do for Amazon and what does Amazon do for us?

For more information about these projects and the rest of the ULYSSES European Odyssey, visit the website: https://ulysseseurope.eu/.


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