In 2018, Journeys Festival International Leicester, was delighted to host the finale performances of a large scale, international, performance and participation project, VOICES. ArtReach led an ambitious partnership of European organisations which worked together to deliver the EU Creative Europe funded Voices of Solidarity project. VOICES was a series of new artistic collaborations which explored and celebrated freedom and provided a voice for those who go unheard.
The project took place across Europe with newly commissioned outdoor theatre and processional performances featuring local people and newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in each city.
VOICES performances appeared at:
Explora - Il Museo Dei Bambini in Rome, Italy
20 - 22 April
STAMP Festival in Hamburg, Germany
2 - 3 June
Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, Romania
6 & 11 July
Night of Festivals in London, UK
21 - 22 July
Journeys Festival International in Leicester, UK
As part of the ten day Festival, Journeys Festival International in Leicester, ArtReach hosted three newly commissioned outdoor theatre pieces created in the UK, Romania and Italy and processional performances from local people and newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in Leicester city. Working with SBC Theatre Company, the first theatre company of Sanctuary, local communities created a colourful community performance parade, the performance parade was based on the theme of "Welcome" and brought together people from many different communities.
The newly commissioned VOICES Street theatre performances also featured as part of the ‘Weekender’ at Journeys Festival International Leicester. Thousands of people joined the Festival team over the final weekend of the Festival to enjoy performances from:
Parrabbola, commissioned by ArtReach, created Wheeze – The Wind of Change, a delightful, accessible and playful exploration of the importance of freedom, illustrated by the magic of improvised music. The show featured stilt walkers and an aerialist.
Artestudio, commissioned by Explora, Il Museo Dei Bambini di Roma, created One Table and Five Chairs, or Actually Six, a multi-disciplined performance piece featuring contemporary choreography which explored boundaries and borders in the setting of a community game, played by people who strived to find a balance in living together.
Teatrul National Radu Stanca, commissioned and created Behind the Wall. This performance used a live DJ, visual artist working as part of the show, and dancers and was developed based on thoughts, ideas and feelings from interviews with refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Romania. The interpretation of these conversations was then performed in a combined live visual arts and contemporary dance performance.
Partners for the collaborative EU Creative Europe funded VOICES project were Journeys Festival International producers ArtReach, major German street arts festival Altonale GmbH (Hamburg, Germany), the children’s museum Explora - Il Museo Dei Bambini (Rome, Italy), community development agency CESIE (Palermo, Italy) and international theatre and Festival organisation Teatrul National Radu Stanca (Sibiu, Romania).
For highlights from this important and powerful project please visit our gallery or select from the films below:
(Img Credit: Freedom, European Project 2016)