Spoffin PRO: unexpected outdoor shows and international meetingpoint

‘The performance Passiefisten by Dutch theatre company De Jongens is a downright result of a successful pitch.' (Photo: De Jongens)

Nearly forty theatre professionals from The Netherlands and abroad will visit Spoffin, the international festival for professional outdoor theatre in Amersfoort (NL) to attend Spoffin PRO, a part of the festival which consists of pitches, a debate, discovering new shows, meetings and more. The seventh edition of Spoffin takes place from 25 to 28 August and offers performances of 32 professional groups and artists from 17 countries.

Angus MacKechnie (Independent Street Arts Network in London) is one of the frequent visitors of Spoffin. ‘I make the annual pilgrimage to festival Spoffin for so many reasons. It starts with a great welcome, friendly people and good food. It's a happy town to visit, the shows are varied, the audiences are enthusiastic and the cycling is excellent. I always see something unexpected and I am guaranteed good conversations and connections with colleagues from across the globe; the debate is lively and important and we always have something to discuss. Some of the best Eurostar trips I make end up in Amersfoort.’

Volunteers, no festival survives without them
The debate on Saturday will be about the importance of voluntary labor in Europe’s outdoor festivals: how to tease them, please them and keep them aboard. Casper de Vries, coordinator Spoffin PRO: ’Ninety-five percent of all outdoor festivals are working with volunteers. We never talk about this, while we would not survive without them. The purpose of this meeting is to learn from each other and take each other's best practices. So no lecture, no truths, but a conversation between colleagues about the do's and don'ts. Through a survey we have received some very nice inside tips already. Everyone involved can profit from this debate.’

Vision on contemporary street theatre
‘Our guests enjoy coming to Spoffin because artistic director Alfred Konijnenbelt always tries hard to create a program with performances we probably would not get to see otherwise. Moreover, this is the end of the season and a lot of guests have had their own festivals already. A good time and place to meet and exchange ideas,’ De Vries says. Gabriele Koch (LA STRADA, Bremen) agrees. ‘Spoffin is very welcoming festival which is made by lovely people. The artistic director and I share a common opinion on contemporary street theatre. The festival is a meeting point for international pros. Specially the Pitch of Plans is an opportunity for artists and programmers to create good cooperations for future projects. Moreover the exchange of volunteers which Spoffin and LA STRADA realized for the first time in 2016 is an extraordinary example of international cooperation.’

The Pitch of Plans on Sunday offers a lively and speedy line-up of fresh and new ideas for future shows in the streets of Europe. 14 Artists present plans for new work for next year and beyond, for an audience of festival organizers from all over Europe. De Vries: ‘The performance Passiefisten by Dutch theatre company De Jongens is a downright result of a successful pitch. After their pitch seven members of the Association of Outdoor Theater Festivals in the Netherlands decided together to support this project and make it possible.’ De Passiefisten can be seen during Spoffin on saturday and sunday.

  August 22, 2016

 Festival Spoffin
 Spoffin PRO

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