Closing summary of La Strada 2015
Abandoned to amazement,
provoked to laughter,
moved to tears.
Once again, La Strada took people along on a journey through their own city, opening up completely new perspectives of everyday locations.
For a full nine days, once again the streets and squares of the city were big stages, temporary theatres, places for surprising encounters and offered perspectives completely new in comparison with everyday experience.
La Strada took residents along too this year on a journey through their own city, left them amazed, provoked them to laughter and moved them to tears. And once again relished the unbelievable preparedness of Graz people to enter whole-heartedly into this adventure. “Our audience knows that you need to be prepared to take risks and trust your judgement if something really new is to be created”, according to Artistic Director Werner Schrempf, “and the wonderful thing is that this city’s people are prepared to share this risk with us, really take part, if something new is to emerge. Also thereby to take part directly in the development of art, because it is precisely street performance that cannot develop without its audience.”
For 18 years now, La Strada has been moving the city. This year the human subject at all stages of life became the focal point of the festival, which came to an end on Saturday. Already at the premiere on July 31st at Graz Opera House, “7 Fingers” enjoyed standing ovations from a house with no seat left unfilled for their production “Cuisine & Confessions”– though this was far from the only show of this year’s festival that was bursting at the seams. Puppeteers Nikolaus Habjan and Neville Tranter also rejoiced in enthusiastic and packed attendances, dealing in their pieces with the theme of the stages of life, from becoming an adult to aging.
Emotive, entertaining and thought-provoking were also the fresh escapees from a home for the elderly. “Échappées Belles” of Compagnie Adhok rediscovered the joy of life and re-conquered life’s streets in their own special way. Meanwhile, in “Birdwatching 4x4”, Benjamin Vandewalle and his team invited one and all to reflect on a change of perspective and directed people’s gaze to everyday city life. Alternatively the artists from uniT of KUNSTLABOR Graz with their production “Hello and Goodbye” in Liebenau. “This production gave rise to an unexpectedly high level of discussion with people on location and connected with a completely new audience”, said Werner Schrempf, who was already working on new projects for La Strada 2016 on the first day after La Strada 2015. This brings him yet another step closer to his objective of establishing a Creation Center in Graz, which will offer space all year round for the development of domestic and international productions. After the festival is before the festival – and corresponding preparations are already underway in Graz-Reininghaus for next year. One that will once again move, delight and provoke changed perspectives: not only by virtue of outstanding artists but also, indeed because of its unique audience.
See you at La Strada 2016. From Friday July 29th till Saturday August 6th.