Cink Cink Cirk performs Dukto Foto © Mikuláš Hrdlička
Want to know what Spoffin has to offer this year? Artistic leader Alfred Konijnenbelt has completed the program for the ninth edition with a lot of new and exciting performances, like he always does. Because of that, Spoffin is now one of Europe's leading festivals for outdoor theatre. "We are internationally well known and we can be proud of that."
The artistic leader of Spoffin has a nose for extraordinary and promising artists and shows.
When selecting groups and artists, originality is always the decisive factor, Alfred Konijnenbelt says. “And of course professionalism, expressiveness, a strong visual presentation and a nice atmosphere. Dozens of programmers from festivals all over Europe visit Spoffin for that reason and many of them return every year.” Spoffin is also interesting for professionals from our own country: Konijnenbelt programmed 27 Dutch premieres.
Focus on current and notable developments
Focus programs have recently become an integral part of the Spoffin formula. Last year the focus was on Catalonia, this year on Northern Europe. "It is a successful addition: countries like to participate in a special program with extra attention for their artists. We also show a nice and balanced cross-section of current developments within the outdoor theater. This year social themes play a key role, such as migration and Europe. "
A striking development is also the role of women. “Women increasingly determine the image of outdoor theatre. At least with Spoffin," Konijnenbelt says. "Generally speaking, you could say that women often have more to say on the social field and don’t easily opt for 'facile humour'. Spoffin definitely profits from that.” This edition, 60 percent of all performers are female and some companies are 100 percent female, like Arnhemse Meisjes (NL), Becky Namgauds (GB), Dulce Duca (ES / PT), MAN || CO (NL), Mighty Arts Performing Collective (SE), Originally Fake (NL), Séverine De Maleingreau (IE), Sisus Sirkus (FI), Teater Bæst (DK) and Theater Group Troubamour (NL).
The most striking productions
Is it difficult, to put together a interesting program? "Yes and no," Konijnenbelt says. “There really are a lot of shows and performances and artists from all over Europe are very interested in our festival. It is hard to make choices. Which are really the most striking productions? In the end we always succeed. We also listen to what the audience has to say. There for this year we programmed more 'real' street theatre and walking performances.” Dance and circus theatre remain Spoffin's strength, although these disciplines are less dominant this year.
Dutch premieres and other recommendations
Certainly special amongst the Dutch premieres is the parade Azalaï with meters-sized figures from Morocco. "And also the interactive show from Avanti Display (GB), a group that exists for more than 25 years and now presents something completely new and different. Becky Namgauds (GB) brings dance about femicide and ecofeminism in a bed of earth. And then there is Conseqüències from Cia. Moveo (CAT) which has been awarded with various prizes in Spain. Sideshow by Pain Solution (NO) is really something else: the pain is real and the acts bizarre.”
Not a Dutch premiere but a must see is Despoot from Compagnie Mobil (NL), based on the famous walking beach animals by Theo Jansen.
The ninth edition of Spoffin, the international festival for professional outdoor and location theater, takes place from 23 to 26 August in and around the historic city center of Amersfoort.
July 1, 2018