FiraTàrrega and Catalan performing arts back to
FiraTàrrega, an international event for the performing arts held in Lleida, and the Catalan performing arts scene in general are considered "very inspiring" by British art professionals. On Sunday, they were both back at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in London, the UK capital’s leading event of free outdoor performing arts. In particular, five Catalan performing art companies and Mike Ribalta (FiraTàrrega's Head of professionals dept.) participated in the GDIF 2015 Showcase, a meeting of international programmers, in order to present their new projects and seek partnerships. This year, the British festival also has two Catalan productions in its programme: Toc de fusta and Brodas Bros.
Barcelona (ACN).- FiraTàrrega, an international event for the performing arts held in Lleida, and the Catalan performing arts scene in general are considered "very inspiring" by British art professionals. On Sunday, they were both back at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in London, the UK capital’s leading event of free outdoor performing arts. In particular, five Catalan performing art companies and Mike Ribalta (FiraTàrrega's Head of professionals dept.) participated in the GDIF 2015 Showcase (a meeting of international programmers) in order to present their new projects and seek partnerships. This year, the British festival also has two Catalan productions in its programme: Toc de fusta and Brodas Bros.
"FiraTàrrega has done a very good job in teaching the British festivals how to work internationally and collaborate", said Mikey Martins, Artistic Director of Hull’s urban street festival, to ACN. "Jordi Duran (FiraTàrrega's Artistic Director) and Mike Ribalta have influenced much of the street art scene in the UK", admitted Martins, who confessed to be an admirer of this Catalonia-based international event, which he visits "every year".
Born in 1981, FiraTàrrega is an international fair for the performing arts taking place in Tàrrega, a village in the West of Catalonia, during the second week of September. Its main objective is to promote the performing arts market, supporting the internationalisation of Catalan companies.
FiraTàrrega and the Catalan Ministry of Culture work together
"All this love for FiraTàrrega feels kind of surprising but we are very happy about it", Mike Ribalta told ACN. "FiraTàrrega and Greenwich + Docklands Festival have been working together for a long time", he says. "Together with 'Creative Catalonia' (the trademark used by the Catalan Ministry of Culture to promote Catalan creative companies worldwide) we organise an appointment every year in London", Ribalta adds. Indeed, many of the companies that presented their projects in the previous editions of the 'Catalan Showcase' at the GDIF, later got the chance to act in British festivals or in Greenwich + Docklands itself. Since 2012, nearly 30 Catalan companies have presented their productions in front of more than a hundred international programmers in this professional space, thereby increasing their presence in the UK.
Five Catalan companies attended the event to present their projects
At the GDIF 2015 Showcase, Claudia Brufau presented 'The Hole & Corner Travel Agency', the new project by Catalan actress Marga Socias. According to Brufau, the event in London is a "good showcase". "Many programmers who are here will come to FiraTàrrega in September", she explains, highlighting that the presentations in London introduce the Catalan shows "months in advance", convincing international programmers to go and see them live. Like Claudia Brufau with 'The Hole & Corner Travel Agency', four other companies presented their projects: Leandre with 'Iceberg'; Carla Rovira with 'Most of all, you've got to hide from the chicks'; Vero Cendoya with 'La partida' and En Diciembre with 'Purpusii'. "We have come to present different kinds of performances from several Catalan performing art companies: from circus to theatre, passing through dance. There is a wide variety of shows", Brufau said.
In addition, other Catalan companies took part in this professional meeting as well. Among them were L'Antic Teatre, La maleta dels espectacles, and the management company Fani Benages Arts Escèniques. All were selected by Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director of GDIF and Jordi Duran, Artistic Director of FiraTàrrega. This year, Greenwich + Docklands Festival also hosts two Catalan productions: Toc de Fusta by Friends of Crusoe and Brodas Bros, a company that was presented at the 'Catalan Showcase' of this British Festival in 2012.
Catalan performing arts companies are able to attract an international interest
Speaking to ACN, Director of the London-based cultural centre Watermans and programmer of her own festival Jan Lennox said "this event each year is always fantastic". According to her, the meeting with the Catalan artists in London’s Greenwich + Docklands festival is "one of the best ways to find new work and see what is coming next”. Lennox has scheduled Catalan companies in her festival and admits that the Catalan performing arts have got "very nice creativity" and "work well in London". "We have had a pretty regular amount of Catalan companies in our programme and seek more", she admitted.
Finally, Mike Ribalta expressed his great appreciation for the success of the professional meeting in London, as "one of the objectives of FiraTàrrega is the internationalisation of Catalan companies". "It is a key moment to create an industry, create a market", said Ribalta, who also celebrates that Catalan art "opens up to the outside world". According to him, FiraTàrrega aims to create "a two-way path" with other international festivals, so that Catalan programmers can also get to know British and international performing arts companies through such meetings.