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.
Ahead of the festival’s opening, Voila! Europe will be holding a launch event at The Cockpit on September 24th with an opportunity to meet the artists involved.
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.
4th – 17th November 2019
The Cockpit, Gateforth St, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
SHOWS AT THE COCKPIT
Right/Left with Heels
STIGMAcollective (Lithuania, Poland, UK)
The protagonists: a pair of shoes, custom-made for Magda Goebbels, the unofficial First Lady of Nazi Germany. After surviving the fire, they struggle to adapt to a newly united world. But they won’t keep silent any longer. It's time to pay attention, because it's our version of history they’re questioning...
Performed in English | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 5 7pm
Nov 6 8.30pm
How Eva Von Schnippisch Saved Hollywood
Ware It’s At Productions (Germany, UK)
Eva is back – and she means (show) business! The world’s greatest German cabaret star turned double agent is Tinseltown-bound. The Golden Age of the Silver Screen is plagued by scandal, sex, drugs, desire and deceit. Is Eva to blame? Or is she saving it from self-destruction?
Performed in English | 60 mins| Ages 18+
Nov 5 8.30pm
Nov 9 7pm
Compagnia Francesca Caprioli (Italy, UK)
Naples, 1944. Three women are under interrogation. Half liberators, half intruders, the newly arrived Allies struggle to live up to their promise to deliver the city from hunger and disease. Inspired by the diaries of a British soldier, Napoli 44 is a funny, sexy and ruthless tale asking: what does “Liberation” really mean?
Performed in English and Italian | 60 mins | Ages 18+
Nov 6 7pm
Nov 7 8.30pm
The Medea Hypothesis
The Washing Machine Collective (Greece, Italy, Japan, UK)
On the verge of ecological disaster, a mother who no longer wishes to be a mother and a child who no longer wishes to be a burden find salvation in a drastic solution. An ancient myth collides with a modern crisis, as a new scientific theory on climate change is brought to life.
Performed in English | 60 mins | Ages 16+
Nov 7 7pm
Nov 8 8.30pm
Hazel Lam (Belgium, France, UK)
Hazel is being consumed by plastic and her own desires. She creates an expressionist performance out of PVC plastic tubes. They morph from a prop to a stage partner to an aerial apparatus, creating a fantastical habitat. This work combines dance, circus, and clowning to leave us pondering our own entanglement with plastic.
Supported using public funding from Arts Council England
Wordless performance | 50 mins | Ages 5+
Nov 8 7pm
Nov 10 5.30pm
Pepper and Honey
Notnow Collective (Croatia, UK)
Ana is ready to start her new life in the UK. Her Grandma is baking the traditional pepper biscuits known to bring a loved one home. Will those be enough to reunite them? And where is her granddaughter’s home now? A new play of love, loss, culture, heritage and new beginnings.
Supported using public funding from Arts Council England & Sir Barry Jackson Trust Fund
Performed in English and Croatian | 70 mins | Ages 12+
Nov 9 5pm
Nov 10 3pm
FBI: French British Improvisation (France, UK)
An improvised romantic comedy, from French/ British company, FBI. Bring your rose-tinted glasses as they set the scene for the perfect romance, while they unleash the silliness and mysteries of love.
Performed in French | 105 mins (incl. interval) | Ages 10+
Nov 9 8.30pm
I Will Tell You in a Minute
Nuna Livhaber (Portugal, UK)
In 2039, a black writer lives in a future world where racism has ceased to exist. She travels back in time to meet her younger self (and to promote her new book), beginning a journey filled with anger, celebration, and healing. Blending spoken word, satire, and physical theatre, this is an Afrofuturist manifesto for the 21st century.
Performed in English, Portuguese and Spanish | 45 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 10 7pm
Nov 11 8.30pm
GOLKK Theatre (Bulgaria, Norway, UK)
Four bees have finished work for the day. Finally back in their warm, honey-soaked home, they have time to sleep. But as the stillness settles, thoughts of work start to simmer, and suddenly they become rest[less]. Expect dynamic physicality and serious play as the bees face imminent burnout.
Supported by the University of Kent
Wordless performance | 45 mins | Ages 12+
11 Nov. 7:00pm
12 Nov. 8:30pm
Out of Order (Greece, Spain, UK)
The world has come to an end. Civilisation as we know it has ceased to exist. The last two people left on Earth draw on imagination, humour and resilience to survive the desperate isolation. Aerial circus, dance, and physical theatre combine in this hopeful post-apocalyptic tale.
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, co-produced with Festival de Teatro de Molina.
Wordless performance | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 12 7pm
Le Miroir Aux Alouettes (The Lark’s Mirror)
Le Collectif OSPAS (France)
Biopic and forensic improvisation combine to explore the mass murder-suicide known as the Jonestown Massacre. Test your resistance to fake news in this interactive experience.
Performed in French with English subtitles | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 13 7pm
Iphigenia In Aulis
Performance Anxiety (UK)
A nation clamours for war. The Gods command a sacrifice. One family walks the path to annihilation. Drawing on influences from Tim Crouch to Basil Fawlty, this is a timely British take on Euripides’ final tragedy: a darkly comic, politically charged, and boldly theatrical confrontation with the perils of leadership, national mythmaking and the slipperiness of truth.
Performed in English | 70 mins | Ages 12+
Nov 13 8.30pm
Nov 14 8.30pm
2100: A Space Novelty
Cut Mustard Theatre (Norway, Australia, South Korea, UK)
A hapless human, an unbeatable heroine and a Dark Lord bent on world domination. Join Cut Mustard Theatre and their Casio SA77 electronic keyboard for a low-fi extravaganza through a world of multilingual aliens, friendly robots, dramatic synth music, acrobatic monsters and a multitude of laser beams and explosions.
Supported by the Nordic Fringe Network
Performed in English, Norwegian, French and Korean | 50 mins | Ages 10+
Nov 14 7pm
Nov 15 8.30pm
Back to Berlin
CB4 Theatre (Wales, Germany, Ireland)
Bernhard is searching for something: a reminder of an important journey he made 30 years ago to witness history in the making. Combining verbatim theatre, multimedia and ensemble movement, this is the true story of one man travelling across Europe to watch the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
Performed in English | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 15 7pm
Nov 16 8.45pm
Compagnie du Plat Pays & Odile Pinson (Belgium)
Wouldn’t it be fun to work in a balloon factory? Or maybe not… In their cardboard world, three workers keep carrying out the same useless tasks. How can they catch the little bubbles of happiness that escape from them? Triple Buse tackles the monotony of work, using circus magic to keep you laughing all the way.
Wordless performance | 50 mins | Ages 5+
Nov 16 1.30pm
Cwmni Pluen Company (Wales)
From North Wales to London and back again, Mags is searching for ‘home’. Inspired by true stories from communities across Wales, the bilingual ensemble of actors, dancers and musicians reunite Mags with her past, the people she has met, their impact on her life, and the one she will never forget.
Performed in English and Welsh | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Supported using public funding by Arts Council of Wales.
Nov 16 7pm
SHOWS AT RICH MIX
Ludens Ensemble (Cyprus, UK)
The island of Cyprus is divided. Negotiations for reunification are thwarted by a history of hate and fear. Based on real stories of people from the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities, this multimedia performance combines storytelling, video mapping, shadow-play and music to create a tale of solidarity that transcends the current division.
Performed in English, Greek and Turkish | 60 mins | Ages 12+
Supported by Cyprus High Commission & Creative Scotland
Nov 8 7.30pm
Nov 9 7.30pm
Improbotics (Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Canada, UK)
Humans and robots improvise together in a comedy of speech recognition errors. Improvisers communicate through machine-translation technology, and AI chatbots add to the fun in this multilingual Turing test. Can you guess who is human and who is a robot?
Performed in English, with real-time machine-translation of Arabic, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Norwegian, and Swedish | 60 mins | Ages 12+
Nov 8 9pm
Nov 10 7.30pm
We Must Live
The Pushkinettes (France, Estonia, Israel, UK)
You are invited to the traditional (and unusual) memorial ceremony of Anna Karenina. Two idiot clowns deliver an absurd eulogy, charting Anna’s life, love, scandal, and downfall. This buoyantly desperate, ridiculous epic merges clowning, music, and Russian classics.
Performed in English | 60 mins | Ages 12+
Nov 9 6pm
Nov 10 6pm
STEREO AKT (Hungary)
Dysfunctional humanoid robots invite you to help them create EU 2.0. With a focus group of Londoners and live-composed digital illustration and sound, each event is spontaneous and unique. This unconventional theatrical experiment puts our democracy under the microscope: will we collectively discover a way to resuscitate the dream of Europe?
Supported by Hungarian Cultural Centre London
Performed in English | 80 mins | Ages 16+
Nov 9 9pm
Nov 10 4pm
Shows with a Voila Residency at RichMix - These brand-new shows have been developed in a residency programme this summer at Rich Mix, to premiere at Voila! Festival in November.
Foxtale Ensemble (Greece, Lithuania, Norway, UK)
Today, outrageous is the new normal, loneliness is rife, magic is lost. But what happens when we encounter an unexpected moment of connection? Foxtale Ensemble comes together from across Europe to share an experiential performance of multiple cities, otherworldly soundscapes and shape-shifting characters that balance between the real and the surreal.
Performed in English | 60 mins | Ages 14+
Nov 15 7pm
Nov 16 9pm
Conspiracy of Orphans
Created a Monster Theatre (UK)
In their gulag-home, Brother and Sister reel from a trauma that revisits them in fragments. It’s their birthday. They visit their parents’ grave, get their daily dose of Vitamin D, consider the exit point. A trance-like soundscape of Russian electronica, the physical comedy of Buster Keaton, and the surreal aesthetics of Magritte combine to frame this silent comedy and quiet tragedy.
Wordless performance | 60 mins | Ages 10+
Nov 15 9pm
Nov 17 5pm
Eve & Adam: Inauguration
Kasper Klop (France, Netherlands, UK)
A fusion of naked-hand puppetry, hip hop, and clowning. Let the ribbon-cutting ceremony begin, re-opening the old tales of humankind’s eviction from the Garden of Eden. How far have Eve and Adam come since then? Enjoy a drink along with this installation performance.
Performed in English, with some French and Dutch | 60 mins | Ages 16+ (contains nudity)
Nov 16 7pm
Nov 17 7pm
Supported by United Colleges Group & The Cockpit, The Hungarian Cultural Centre London, The French Institute UK, Français à Londres, ICI Londres, Wallonie-Bruxelles International. Voila! Europe is part of the European Festivals Association label. Some productions in the 2019 festival are supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, and Creative Scotland.