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Fest(in) on the Boulevard International Theater Festival
Fifth Edition - 2017
I. Our Mission
Bucharest City Hall, and Nottara Theatre, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, and UNITER, are the organizing forces behind Fest(in) on the Boulevard International Theater Festival. This annual event will run in Bucharest, from 7 to 18 October, 2017.
It is dedicated both to the Bucharest community at large and the tourists visiting Romania’s capital during that time, and the theater professionals, festival producers, and Romanian and foreign mass media professionals.
In the current cultural context, and in accordance with Nottara Theater’s latest managerial policy, it has become more and more evident that a festival, which is a large scale event concentrating theater performances and theoretical discussions over the span of several days, is necessary. The four previous editions of the festival that were organized by our theater team stand proof of it, with their rich press dossiers that can be accessed on the theater’s official site.
In our attempt to define the theater’s specific profile, as C.I. Nottara Theater – Boulevard theater/theater on the boulevard, we have decided to dedicate our annual festival both to boulevard comedy, which is a largely sought-after genre, and to some current issues that are highly relevant to today’s society.
A festival is a real celebration that can attract new theater lovers, who can subsequently become Nottara Theater aficionados.
The event’s program is structured as follows:
- Puberty and Adolescence Crises competitive Section will present Romanian and foreign theater productions, dedicated to/about the young generation. Thus, we intend to discuss the puberty and adolescence crises, using theatrical means, since theater is the most socially-involved art form.
-Text or Pretext Section includes productions meant to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of the creative team (director, set designer, composer, etc.) in the birth of a spectacle. The public will thus be able to watch two stage versions of the same play or the same production with alternative casts. It is the organizers’ intention to promote this section via prizes, courtesy tickets, and different games proposed in the social media, which are all meant to stimulate the audience’s attendance of both show versions, and participation in the Q&A sessions after the shows.
- Comedy Boulevard competitive Section consists of blockbuster shows, and it has a five-member jury selected from the audience. Nottara Theater has always treasured its comedy-loving audience (70% of the public prefer comedy, according to an IMAS study) and it has therefore tried to rehabilitate boulevard theater, as a viable genre, when it comes to good quality and cultured shows.
- Fest(in) Premiers Section includes Nottara Theater’s latest productions, other than the themed ones included in other sections.
- Special Guests Section focuses on the valuable and successful productions of our partner theaters, which did not fit in any of this year’s other sections.
-Multi Art EXIT is the two-year-old section of our festival, previously known as the Penitentiaries Festival. It will take place on 22 and 23 November. It has been a unique event of its kind in Europe for eight years, as it is an educational program meant to contribute to the detainees’ social reinsertion by way of designing new relationships between the detention centers and Romanian society at large.
The festival also includes a mix of related events: colloquia, readings of texts for/about adolescents, street events, theater book launches, theater photo exhibitions, ITCA.RO meetings, Q&A sessions.
The main sections of the festival are organized on a competitive basis, and the prizes will be awarded in a flexible and interactive way, involving both connoisseurs and the theater audience.
II. Our Objectives
- Main Objectives
In the Boulevard Comedy Section the public will be offered a series of successful productions, signed by well established directors and national and international theater stars. The public will thus get a chance to acknowledge true stardom, be it in the actors’, directors’, set designers’ or playwrights’ domains. This selection is meant to be a viable alternative to the ubiquitous promotion of false values, so often aggressively imposed on different media.
The festival also aims at revitalizing the values of true comedy and challenging the biased opinion that it is facile and outdated. It is this section’s aspiration to give an artistic response to the public’s present concerns. Thus we are proving that our theater company keeps an ever closer and hopefully constant relationship with its audience, in order to increase their need for theater in general, and boulevard comedy in particular.
This year’s Crisis Section will hopefully entice our constantly growing audience to discover and appreciate theater arts, especially in the problematic context of our daily lives. From the broader perspective of such notions as “cultural” and “cultural resources”, Fest(in) on the Boulevard should be regarded as a challenge, meaning inclusion of such elements as: theater production, art, cultural patrimony, local traditions, mass media, etc.
B. Other Objectives
When devising this annual theatrical event we also had in mind some wider cultural goals, such as:
- building up an environment imbued with spiritual and creative energy;
- widening people’s perspectives via theatrical inputs;
- stimulating cultural exchanges between national and international cultural operators;
- initiating and developing new relationships between Nottara Theater and Romanian and foreign festival networks;
- providing the audience with an additional tool in order to evaluate the quality of Romanian and foreign theater productions based of talent and virtuosity;
- inciting other cultural operators in Bucharest to work together toward the common goal of organizing an international festival in the city;
- stimulating the education and social protection professionals to discover and fructify the potential that theater, as a syncretic art, has got;
- facilitating the cooperation of decision makers in the institutional, administrative, and political fields, for the purpose of developing a common important project.
III. What We Do
FEST(in) on the Boulevard has two main competitive sections, and the awarding system is flexible and interactive, with the direct participation of the Bucharest, knowledgeable, and theater-loving audience. Therefore, depending on the budget of this event, we have planned on having two juries: a professional one composed of 3 to 5 well-established theater critics, for the Puberty and Adolescence Crises Section, and another one composed of 3 to 5 spectators, for the Comedy Boulevard Section.
They will award two Best performance prizes, in the two main sections of the festival, Puberty and Adolescence Crises and Comedy Boulevard.
IV. Where and When
Fest(in) on the Boulevard takes place at the beginning of the theater season, when other already established theater festivals have not yet begun, as it is not our intention to affect in any way the activity of theater companies in Bucharest and the country. It will start mid-October and it will run for eight to fourteen days. This year’s edition will take place between 7 and 18 October. The performances and related events will take place both on Nottara Theater premises and the adjacent street space, but also in other partner theaters and institutions, corporation headquarters, cultural institutes, bookstores, etc. In 2017 our partners will be Odeon Theater, Ṭăndărică Theater, National Theater Bucharest, ACT Theater, Ballasi Institute, Cărtureṣti-Verona Bookstore, Ambassador Hotel, and possibly other theaters in Bucharest.
Given the ambition and long-term perspective of the project, we plan on developing it over the next years, so that it becomes relevant for every citizen in Bucharest, thus allowing for an Off Section to be hosted by other theaters that are also financed by City Hall.
VI. How to Take Part in the Festival
Drama and puppet theaters, both private and public, from Romania and Europe may apply, provided they agree to the terms of participation described below. The curator of the festival is the theater manager, and, alongside a three-member jury appointed by her, she will make the selection of the productions to be invited.
For The Crises Section theaters may submit projects that focus on this central theme. The selection team will make a rigorous choice, based on the cultural and artistic value of each proposal. The end result will be a selection of seven to fifteen productions, as this is the most important section in the festival.
For this section of the festival Nottara Theater will provide logistics, performing space and technical crew. We will also cover the costs of travelling for the artistic and technical crew, fees for the actors and technical crew (the directors and set designers will receive a fee, provided they have had such a provision in their contract with the producer, a copy of which must be provided to the festival organizers), and accommodation for up to three days.
The selection criteria include the quality of the text, which should be relevant to the sections and themes of the festival, the quality of the production as a whole, and its technical data, which should be similar to the ones of the spaces provided by the festival organizers.
The results of the selection will be made public no later than 15 July of each year.
The project team, the curators, and the jury members will be supported morally and financially by Nottara Theater.
In case of partnership agreements with foreign companies, for Nottara’s tours abroad or participations in festivals that are being organized by our partners, they will cover the same type of expenses as those covered by our theater company in Bucharest. The two partners may agree to a participation fee or per diem.
- Troupes’ Participation
The selected productions for any of the Festival’s sections will have at least one performance (as agreed beforehand with the organizers).
Nottara Theater will cover the costs of accommodation (two up to three days), stipends or participation fees and travelling expenses (if necessary), for the companies located more than 300 km away that are included in the festival program. In case of complex and lengthy stage and light setting, accommodation costs will be covered for theater companies located less than 300 km away.
Logistics and technical support are provided by the organizers, with free-of-charge rehearsal and performance space and time, assembling and dismantling the décor, technical assistance, and personnel transportation in between the airport and the hotel (if necessary).
- Individuals’ Participation
The festival team also takes pleasure in inviting a number of special guests, Romanian and foreign personalities: theater critics and producers, professors, theater managers and festival directors, and journalists.
Romanian and foreign special guests get travelling expenses and accommodation costs covered, for the whole period of the festival, according to Romanian law. The organizers cover the guests’ train (SNCFR), airplane, or car travel expenses, , according to Romanian law.
Foreign special guests: international festival directors, theater managers, producers, internationally recognized professionals, theater critics, sociologists, and political scientists.
Foreign guests are provided with complimentary tickets for the performances of their choice.
Guests taking part in colloquia, and debates, as well as jury members and communicators will get a negotiated fee, according to Romanian law.
Bus transfers from and to the train station and the airport are included in the festival offer, as is local transportation for performance reasons (production, rehearsals, printing house, organizing committee, collaborators).
- How to Advertise
PR and Press Facilities are provided by the festival. It covers the costs for the editing and production of advertising materials specific for a cultural event of this dimension: banners, individual graphic posters and outdoor for the performance schedule, flyers, folders, festival and Nottara branded pens, theater bills, headers, trophies, bags and T-shirts bearing the Festival and Nottara Theater logos, invitations, and the newsletter of the Festival, made by theater professionals and students. All of this contributes to the event’s visibility both in Bucharest, and in the country and abroad.
The Festival team does the necessary media, PR, protocol work (flower offering at the end of shows and important related events), and organizes press conferences, professionals’ meetings, round tables, colloquia, Q&A sessions, etc.).
Looking into the Future
Fest(in) on the Boulevard International Theater Festival brings in a complex and modern cultural endeavor, which is unique in the Romanian festivals domain. It will be completed with meetings of the public with the invited star professionals during debates, colloquia, book and photo signing sessions, film and radio presentations. All these events will be documented by a video team, whose work will result in a collection of valuable DVD’s.
The productions in the Off section of the festival will be hosted in the spaces listed above. The festival public may also enjoy the events included in the related sections of the festival: public readings, colloquia, debates, book launchings, contests, anniversaries. These will take place on the premises of either Nottara Theater or our partners.
Our street events will fill the area around the Theater with joy, be it the sidewalk in front of the theater, or the parking lot across the theater and Magheru Boulevard (between Romana Sq. and University Sq.). All these events aim at attracting people’s attention, and inviting this potential audience to step inside and watch this theatrical event.
We count on increasing the Festival’s importance and authority every year by developing partnerships with other theaters and cultural institutions, so that the burgeoning Off Section would consolidate its status.
We are keen on increasing the Festival’s prestige and dimension, by staying connected with its addressees: Bucharest residents and visitors. That is why the spectators will be involved in all the festival activities (raffles, invitation-based contests, free events in the limit of available seating: street events, public readings, colloquia). So that, when the curtain falls on this fifth edition of the Festival, we would be able to learn the audience’s opinions and proposals, and assess (via questionnaires) what their hopes for the next editions of Fest(in) on the Boulevard International Theater Festival are.
General Manager of Nottara Theater