When we finished planning our highlights for the 2020 festival at the beginning of spring, we had no idea what was soon to come for us, all colleagues and partners. On the way back from a trip to France in February, warning signs about the coronavirus suddenly flashed on the numerous motorways displays above the road. It seemed threatening and yet the threat still seemed unreal and far away. Panic was already raging in the social media, fed daily by new reports from the Robert Koch Institute.
And then there it was the pandemic. The rest is history. At first, it seemed like a nightmare, one refused to believe it. Like a cover, a paralysis, the certainty came over us that this year would not be the same as usual. The brief shock and paralysis gave way to a quick conviction: We had to come up with something new.
Phone calls to European and Australian artists produced a bizarre picture, travel bans and work bans were imposed. The entire artistic enterprise with which they had worked for years suddenly lay on the floor. Agencies and organizations feared for their existence, whole annual plans were destroyed overnight. At the same time, most of the negotiations with sponsors and partners that had already begun broke off abruptly. One could no longer get into the conversation because everyone was preoccupied with themselves in this acute situation. And yet there was also a broad wave of those who spontaneously signalled their solidarity and support to us. This encouraged us to think about a festival of community, solidarity, and cooperation. Solidarity with the artists and our freelancers, but also the hoped-for solidarity of our audience and our partners with us, the festival. We want to celebrate the community with our audience again with stage art, with respect for the pandemic. Hygiene and safety concepts form the basis of all events this year. Safety first!
Instead of our theatre tent "The tiny tent" on the Burgplatz, over 40 freelance artists from Düsseldorf and the region will be singing, playing, reciting, and dancing "face to face" every day. Solo performances for one guest each. Intimate contact with art, of course with distance and yet very close. Directly next to it we conjure up the unity in our city with the spectacular photo project by the Düsseldorf artist Jan Ising "Faces of Düsseldorf", a projection of previously portrayed faces of people from this city onto an 8m high white mask.
Thanks to the great cooperation with D. Live, we move with some items of our tent programme into the Mitsubishi Electric HALL. Here is a lot of space to sit loosely, a lot of space to ventilate well. Thanks to this invitation, we can do justice to our own concept. We show New Circus with the French company XY, Matthias Brandt & Jens Thomas spontaneously accepted our invitation. There is exciting Nuevo Flamenco with Los Aurora and incredible new Fado with Lina & Raül Refree. The Düsseldorf band Kreidler presents their new album "Flood" and invites the duo Egopusher as guests. And finally, we produce a virtuoso fusion of urban dance and circus arts with the makers of the successful show Urbanatix "Tabula Rasa" and outstanding artists and performers from NRW and Berlin. On Jürgensplatz, the theatre collective Pierre.Vers will be showing its new piece Aktion:Aktion! in a co-production with us, and friends of a cappella art will find what they are looking for in two old town churches.