Switzerland’s Zurich Theater Spectacle (Zürcher Theater Spektakel) 2019 (Aug. 15 – Sept. 1, 2019)
This performing arts festival has a history that goes back to 1980. Having changed directors regularly over the years, the current director since 2018 is Matthias von Hartz. The main performance venue is the Lake Zurich lakeshore park area known as the Landiwiese, where a number of tent-type theater facilities are set up during the festival. There are also restaurants and the like set up and outdoor performances held, creating an all-round summer attraction for the citizens of Zurich. Each year five or six judges are invited in as the jury for the ZKB Patronage Prize for the best works in the festival and the ZKB Encouragement Prize for young artists with the best performance chosen from among a selection of 15- to 25-minute showcase performances. The following are the works nominated for the ZKB Patronage Prize.
The music composition Something in This Universe of the Scottish-born director and composer Genevieve Murphy, Korean performance artist Geumhyung Jeong’s robot theater work Rehab Training, Hong Kong director Royce Ng’s Queen Zomia, a multimedia work based on the history of the ungoverned Asian mountain area of Zomia, the circus work Sarab by Britain’s Paul Evans and members of the Palestinian Circus School, Australian theatre makers Samara Hersch & Lara Thoms for their political engaged theatre performance by children, We All Know What’s Happening, the French marionette artist and choreographer Nina Santes’ work Hymen Hymne, adopting documentary and ritual elements, and the dance work Layl by Lebanese choreographer Ali Chahrour composed with a collection of Arabic love poems.
In addition to the nominated works, there were other grand-scale works like the discussion type documentary theater work Granma. Trombones of Cuba by Rimini Protokoll, bringing together four young Cubans to talk about the post-revolution Cuban society, a new work All the Good by Belgian choreographer Jan Lauwers, the presentation Drawing Lesson II: A Brief History of Colonial Revolt by famed South African artist William Kentridge bringing together a lecture, film and drawing.
Founded in 1980 as an annual international meeting of independent theatre groups, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel quickly evolved into Switzerland’s largest performance art event of international appeal introducing artists and companies from Europe and beyond. Today it ranks among the most important European festivals for the contemporary performing arts. It is one of Europe’s most important festivals thanks in part to constant support from Zurich’s Kantonalbank. The festival’s main venue is the Landiwiese park-like site, located directly on the shores of Lake Zurich, where various different sized venues are constructed to give the citizens of Zurich and inviting environment to enjoy the arts. The festival’s director since 2018 is Matthias von Hartz.
Taking the Zurich’s Kantonalbank ZKB acronym are the ZKB Patronage Prize and the ZKB Acknowledgement Prize for emerging artists and companies established with prize money totaling 30,000 swiss francs to support future works and development based on a long-term view of cultural assistance. Winners until now have included such artists as Stefan Pucher, 400asa, Marco Berrettini, Sarah Michelson, Seikatsu Butai Kosaku-shitsu (Living Dance Studio) and Young Jean Lee. The first Japanese artists to win the Patronage Prize were the company FAIFAI in 2010. In 2011, contact Gonzo was a nominee.
- Zürcher Theater Spektakel