London’s landmark festival of European theatre will return for a seventh year this November to showcase boundary pushing work from across the continent.
Featuring a jam-packed programme of twenty-three shows from twenty-six countries, including Lithuania, Norway, Estonia, Croatia and Bulgaria, the festival is this year supported by the Hungarian Cultural Centre London and will be headlined by the country’s hit show, European Freaks.
This year also marks the festival’s first ever partnership with Rich Mix, which will open the doors to its east London venue as it stages work alongside The Cockpit and supports the development of three brand new works-in-progress with residencies. It follows a successful collaboration with the West End’s The Actors Centre earlier this year on the joint festival, A Piece of the Continent.
Whilst the political chaos in the UK and the rise of far-right groups across Europe give weight to the sentiment of the festival, which champions itself as a safe and creative space for artists to express themselves and explore ideas, the shows presented look both to and beyond these experiences. Humans and robots improvise together in Rosetta Code, a comedy of speech recognition errors featuring Arabic, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Norwegian, and Swedish translations, whilst a woman bakes traditional pepper biscuits to bring her granddaughter home in English/Croatian play Pepper and Honey. Bringing together creatives from Greece, Italy, Japan and the UK, The Medea Hypothesis follows the breakdown of a mother/son relationship amid ecological disaster and Portuguese writer/performer Nuna Livhaber offers an Afrofuturist manifesto for the 21st century in I Will Tell You in a Minute, to give just a taste of this thrillingly eclectic festival. Headlining the festival is Hungarian company STEREO AKT with their hit show, European Freaks, in which dysfunctional humanoid robots invite you to help them create EU 2.0.
Festival Directors Sharlit Deyzac and Amy Clare Tasker said, “This year’s festival looks to the future, with shows tackling questions of democracy, migration, technology, truth, burnout, and the environmental crisis. We are heartened to see how European artists are stepping up to address the challenges we face, even as international collaboration becomes an increasingly radical act. We are proud to fill this niche in the London theatre scene, and we look forward to hosting a lively festival filled with languages, ideas, and cross-cultural curiosity.”
Josh McNorton, head of programmes at Rich Mix said, “Rich Mix was founded in 2006 to develop and showcase the multi-cultural creative communities of east London and we are honoured to be partnering with Voila! this year to host seven shows from European artists. It’s now more important than ever for audiences and venues to support the boundaryless power of live performance and Voila! showcases this beautifully.”
Since 2012, Voila! Europe Theatre Festival have produced their multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary festival supporting and celebrating the best theatre and performance from across the continent. Amidst the continuing uncertainty about the UK’s relationship with its continental neighbours, Voila! Europe is proud to dedicate its programme to keeping the Channel open, promoting cultural exchange, and offering outward-looking Londoners the chance to encounter unusual stories and perspectives from their fellow Europeans.