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BABEL training workshops

BABEL is seeking performers to participate in ‘BABEL Creation Work Groups’ – training workshops – on the theme “The Art of Listening, the sensitive relationship between performer and child/adolescent spectator” during the performative act.

The call programme entails training workshops during the 1st and 2nd rounds of creation work groups taking place at different Babel Squares (festivals) around Europe over the period of 2023-2024.


2ND ROUND 2024:

The workshops

The workshops are composed of four steps following the Babel Training Dramaturgy: ‘Opening up, Getting close and Communicating, Actions and reactions, and Balance’ and pursues “The art of listening to the audience” and “The art of Listening to the other performers – fellow on-stage”.

The workshops are led by two highly experienced directors in TYA: Brigitte Dethier and Alex Byrne (see annex for further introduction) and entails performative encounters with child/adolescent audiences.

Each workshop lasts 5 days. BABEL will provide participation in the workshops along with travel expenses, living costs and accommodation for 6 days and nights (arrival is scheduled for the day before the workshop begins and departure for the day after it ends).

The workshops are divided into ‘rounds’ (1st and 2nd mentioned in this call) and each round is composed of two ‘paths’. Each path is led by one of the above-mentioned directors.

Each applicant will participate in a path composed of two workshops of their choice. The applicants will furthermore have the opportunity to participate in the other festival activities taking place around the workshops in coordination with the organising partner.

1st round: 2023

  • Kitoks Festival, from 16th to 20th January, in Vilnius, (Lithuania), with Alex Byrne and Gregory Hall
  • International Theaterfest, from 24th to 28th October, in St. Vith (Belgium), with Alex Byrne and Gregory Hall
  • BRIK Festival, from 22nd to 26th June, in Breda (Netherlands), with Brigitte Dethier and Ives Thuwis
  • elPetit Festival, from 16th to 20th November 2023, in Sabadell (Spain), with Brigitte Dethier and Ives Thuwis

2nd round 2024 (not all dates are final at this stage)

  • Festival Visioni di Futuro, second half of March, in Bologna (Italy) with Brigitte Dethier and Ives Thuwis
  • Aprilfestival, from 16th to 20th of April in Denmark, with Alex Byrne and Gregory Hall
  • BRIK Festival, June, In Breda (Netherlands) with Brigitte Dethier and Ives Thuwis
  • Lutke Festival, Last week of September in Ljubljana (Slovenia) with Alex Bryne and Gregory Hall

Please note that the 3rd Round also starts at Lutke Festival 2024. This will be the object of another call in the future.

Who can apply?

The proposal is open to Next Generation practitioners, who are performing arts performers from all countries; performers of all genres and techniques.

The Next Generation (NG) residency programme is an ASSITEJ initiative, designed to support artistic and cultural exchange and collaboration between international artists aged 36 years or below, interested in theatre for young audiences.

We encourage people from minority backgrounds in their national context to apply as a part of the BABEL project strategy, that aims to ensure a diverse and inclusive participation, including diversity regarding age, gender, ethnicity, disability or ability, cultural identity, national origin, or political or religious conviction.

How to apply

If you are interested in this offer, please fill in the form with the following information by 5 November 2022:

Your personal information, country of residence, experience within performing arts, motivation towards this experience to participate in the two workshops of the Babel Training path. Additionally, a short CV, focused on your experience in Theatre for Young Audience. In the form to fill you can indicate which festival you are interested in attending and for which period.


The workshops

For each path 12 workshop participants will be selected from different areas.

1 for each path from this call – Next Generation artist under 36 years old.

8 from the partners of Babel where the workshops will take place.

3 from the ASSITEJ International performance networks (Small Size, IIAN, Young Dance Network etc.)

WHAT IS BABEL – or The Art of Listening in TYA?

Babel is a European Large scale Cooperation project (Creative Europe Programme) involving 14 Partners from 11 European countries, coordinated by Teatercentrum i Danmark (DK).

The BABEL project runs over a period of four years (2022-2025) entailing in total 16 international festivals: Aprilfestival (organized by TeaterCentrum – Denmark), Brik Festival (by De Stilte – Netherlands), Baborò Festival (by Baborò – Ireland) Lutke (by LGL – Slovenia), Kitoks (by Menų Spaustuvé -Lithuania), International Theaterfest (by Agora – Belgium), Festival Import/Export (by Montagne Magique and Bronks – Belgium), Festival El Petit (by Rialles – Spain), Festival Visioni di futuro, Visioni di teatro (by La Baracca – Italy).

The partners will – together with performers, artistic facilitators and researchers – investigate the opportunities given by artistic languages to create high-quality shows for children, overcoming the barrier of languages and potential misunderstanding, fostering intercultural and intergenerational dialogue in the Performing Arts for Young Audiences. Babel is structured as a long, shared, and widespread training pathway. The project foresees a diverse set of activities all intertwined in terms of timing and implementation: the Festivals/Babel Squares, the Multi-lingual creation groups, the Island of reflections, the Mosaic pieces, the Catalogue of Inspiration, the Intertwined pathways (dedicated to young artists, and to bring an extra-European dimension through sharing of the experience). This close connection between these activities will allow a synergic development, thus helping Babel to coherently pursue the targeted objective and priority, while setting out its specific aims to reach the goals the partners have established.

The partners are: ASSITEJ International, La Baracca (IT), Agora Theater (BE), Bronks Jeugdtheater (BE), Théâtre La Montagne Magique (BE), Stichting De Stilte (NL), Baboro International Children’s Festival (IE), Lutkovno Gledalisce Ljubljana (SI), Menu Spaustuve (LT), Rialles Espectacles Infantils I Juvenils (ES), Scènes d’enfance – ASSITEJ France (FR), ASSITEJ Serbia (SB), ASSITEJ Sweden (SE) and Teatercentrum (DK).\


Babel Training Objectives and Dramaturgy
The first objective is “The art of listening to the audience”

This is perhaps an important objective for any type of audience, but it is even more necessary when there are children and adolescents in front of the artist, subjects with rhythms, sensitivities, perceptive and cognitive qualities that are extremely different from those of adults.

To meet this objective:

A specific training program for performers led by artistic facilitators, based on a dramaturgy in four successive steps, each of which will develop into two on-stage workshops of one week each. 

Will be activated two parallel paths, to facilitate a comparison and a richer collection of data, so that during the 46 months of the project, the 16 editions of international festivals will host 16 workshops on stage of a week each.

The four steps that make up the dramaturgy are:

1st step: Opening up

Bearing in mind the differences of languages between the audiences and the artists, the first step is about opening the door of the relationship between the artists and the children. 2nd Step: Getting close and communicating

The sensory-based connection will help enhance the intensity of the relationship between artists and children. To listen and to be opened for mutual interchange and sharing.

To offer audience and artists – strangers to one another before the artistic encounter takes place – the surprise of perceiving themselves as close and communicating.

3rd step: Actions and reactions

As the artists make the proposals, and as these proposals entwine, different reactions take place: the reaction of the children/adolescents spectators and the reaction of the artists.

Reactions generate other reactions. The sensory-based involvement changes for both children/adolescents and artists.

Children change the quality of the expectancy, whereas artists will have to face the unexpected and be able to master their own emotions.

4th step: The balance

Balance is necessary for the artist to feel the sensory-based connection at its fullest, without losing control of the artistic proposal, so that they can measure out the inputs and avoid the easy “looking-for- approval” way

The second objective is “The Art of Listening to the other performers, the fellow on-stage”.

It is focused on the sensitive relationship and professional exchange between the artists themselves. Although the theme is part of every shared staging experience, in the project we will focus particularly on the difficulties of communication in sharing work between artists of different language communities within European cultural cooperation projects.  Therefore it will investigate:

  • How to deal with the difficulties of a multilingual communication between artists and the problems related to frequent misunderstandings, partial or total.
  • How to seek mutual understanding and build verbal and non-verbal relational bridges that allow a real sharing and osmosis of the different “know-hows”.
  • How to develop new and innovative approaches in the creation of artworks for children, through transnational and interlinguistic collaboration.
  • How to really listen to the other person, to his or her personal and artistic subjectivity.

Babel hopes that the innovative process implemented in the project will feed the TYA cultural operators with new creative and generative ideas, and many critical questionings. It will provide the artists with original tools, reflections and inspirations to enhance the quality of their work both in terms of artistic productions and in the sensitive relationship with children and young people.

This artistic project believes that all children and young people have the right to participate in quality artistic and cultural events from an early age and to do so continuously and not just occasionally.

It is a project that wants to reaffirm that children and young people are not spectators of the future, but spectators of today; human beings with the right to full cultural citizenship, regardless of their linguistic, cultural, economical and social background.

Biography – Alex Byrne

Alex is the Co-Artistic Director of New International Encounter, the company that he founded in 2001. New International Encounter produces national and international touring theatre for young people and adults, since 2008 New International Encounter has been regularly funded by the Arts Council of England.

Alex’s work for New International Encounter has been invited to appear at young audience festivals all over the world and won prizes at numerous international festivals.

As well as directing and leading New International Encounter, Alex has worked with UK touring company’s Hoipolloi and Shifting Sands, with Divadlo DRAK and Dejvice Divadlo in the Czech Republic, with Theatre Nordkraft, Fair Play, Odsherred Theatre, Theatre Patrasket, Dansk Rakkerpak, and Theatre Mollen in Denmark. With Riksteatret in Norway and with JES and Theatre Mummpitz in Germany.

He has led theatre workshops in the UK, the Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, and Bosnia.

Biography – Brigitte Dethier

Brigitte founded JES in Stuttgart in 2002, for which she was awarded with the Verdienstorden (order of merit) from Baden-Württemberg, and has been its artistic director until summer 2022. During those 20 years she directed the biennale festival Schöne Aussicht organized by JES.

For many years Brigitte has been active in cultural policy for improving the artistic quality and the standing for theatre for young audiences. She has been a member of the board of ASSITEJ Germany before taking its Presidency in 2018.

Today she is working as a freelance director for several theatres. She works for all audiences and her interest is in putting the arts together, especially dance and drama. She also works with professional and non-professional artists.

During the next two seasons Brigitte Dethier will direct drama, opera and dance theatre in Darmstadt, Luzern, Bielefeld, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Essen.  

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