Day 56- The Arts Festival Revolution

Broadway producer David Binder wants arts festivals to move out of the theatre. One of his examples of this is none other than the Sydney Festival, where he found himself at a site specific theatre project in Minto on his first night in the city.
His experience in Minto was eye opening. The audience walked from house to house, with homeowners performing autobiographical dances on their front lawns. In Binder’s opinion, Syd Fest represents a new type of arts festival, which is open and transforms communities.
Arts festivals began throughout the world in the rubble of the second World War. Edinburgh festival and the hundreds more that popped up in the 1940s and 50s brought seminal shows to the world and helped to reunite communities. As time passed, these became the establishment and something new had to emerge.
This new generation of events includes experimental art, audience participation and street events. In 100% Berlin, 100 people are chosen representing the race, gender and class of the city. Back to Back is an Australian company for people with disabilities, placing actors in the midst of the audience as a reminder of who and what we edit out of our lives daily. The Sultan’s Elephant consisted of 2 giant models on the streets of London. Barely nine months after the London bombings, this was lauded by ‘The Guardian’ and hundreds of residents of the city as an effective means of bringing about a sense of community and healing.
Binder tells us there is no single model for an arts festival. In today’s ever changing world, the variety of new festivals should fully capture the complexity of our lives.


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