To the Magdalenas around the world, to those who were able to attend the first online Magdalena festival and to those who presented, shared and had a creative vision to light the path.
Thank you all for the gift of sisterhood and companionship. I am sorry I wasn’t post-human enough to be able to participate in all the events, but I did my best to follow the artists named in this reflection/recollection.
To the team, thank you for bringing me here, there, and somewhere in between on cyberspace.
Premiere of Frau Mit Automat in Poland!
The Kryly Khalopa theatre was repressed and closed in Belarus by the authorities, but we continue to work. The team worked on the performance in theater residences in Prague and Dresden, some of the project participants were forced to leave Belarus. Despite all the difficulties, our premiere will take place on September 25 in Wegaity theatre village (Olsztyn) and October 5 in Lublin (Poland)!
Sandra Pasini thinks back on the year that has passed with a mixture of different emotions: a rediscovered peace and more time with the close family, long phone calls with friends, long walks in deeper contact with nature and at the same time she feels a kind of uneasiness about not knowing what the future will bring.
When I read the introduction of “Stones of Water” by Julia Varley, written in feminine I was shocked, this book suddenly opened for me another possible reality: a world where we, women, are considered and named in the evocative words. The text is also an invitation for men to feel themselves included in these feminine words. An excellent politic action, to make us visible – I thought.
Adapting performance work and research into an experimental digital form due to Covid-19 affected not only the creative processes, but also the encounter between the three performers/researchers (Madeleine Worrall, John Dean and myself) who, having only met online, set up to explore how to retain liveness in (current) digital performance practice between August and October 2020.
"The last but one Magdalena At Home, the one I attended, gave me a lot to think about. I think the aha-moment for me came when one woman spoke of her practice – something she does every day. I like that. Very much. At the heart of theatre is – daily practice" writes Barbara Schaefer.
What, I hear you ask, what does a 365-day flip calendar of positive quotations convey from Julian, the 14th century mystic of Norwich, to the Magdalenas, on this the 21st day in the 21st year of the 21st century?
Having not performed since the start of Corona in March, Gilla Cremer is now performing every single day - the same show, for 5 weeks, in the same theatre in Hamburg, sometimes even two shows a day. She writes about how having to keep a distance creates a weird sense of solitude and questions profoundly all the good reasons for making theatre, or going to the theatre.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, plans were changed, the ongoing projects in our cultural space @espacooposte were suspended, as well as the tour of the performance "Ombela" @ombelaespetaculo to Angola, writes Nazaré (Naná) Sodré da Silva ...
I thought that the COVID pandemic would be an opportunity to give new meaning to our lives, that this forced pause would lead us to reflection and reparation, not only of the damages that we do as human beings, but of the damages that we inflict on mother earth; that it would be an opportunity for the reinvention of our lives and our creative practices. The truth is that this state of exception to which our bodies have been subjected in this global pandemic, is not the same for everyone. And amidst this uncertain picture of COVID-19, there is another untreated pandemic: structural racism.
Lívia Gaudencio writes about the lessons learned from the workshop "Ikebana, Giving Life to Flowers", led by Carolina Pizarro and Keiin Yoshimura at the 9th Transit festival, "Hope in Action", held in June 2019.
The winter solstice seemed more significant to me this year. I have started gardening more. Plus I am very conscious of darkness, cold and wellbeing with a global pandemic and the highlighting of centuries of terror through the current #BlackLivesMatter protests very present in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Thaís Medeiros writes about the organisation of Ocupação (Occupation) Magdalena Vila Itororó 2019: "We live in a moment where abstractions are almost no longer part of our daily lives, so maybe this is the time to share what this project was, born in the concrete between traditions and ruins of the city of São Paulo ... "
My husband brings me a little red tray. On it sits a coffeemaker, a cup and the bottom part of a bun. I made the bun earlier, froze it, and brought it out to the woods with us. Now after a trip in the toaster it drips with good butter, and even more from the deep brown, fat, luxurious goat cheese, melting and dripping onto my hands.
My hands, my working hands, now find themselves in the cabin out in the woods. Here are these two small rooms. Here is the desk where I sit facing the window. Next to me is an old refrigerator, he cries when we open him, and sighs when we close him. There is no chance of getting a cold beer without anyone noticing.
Measures to slow the spread of Covid19 have impacted enormously on the arts: theatres, museums and galleries are closed, workshops and training classes stopped, festivals postponed or cancelled. Magdalenas around the world are feeling the impact financially and creatively, and like many others are turning to the internet to maintain at least virtual connections. Welcome to my world!
Ya-Ling Peng reports on an intercultural exchange between Taiwan and Latin American countries during 2019, and the response of rural villagers to sharing their traditional songs with artists from Argentina, Colomia, Ecuador and France.
Valentina (Wale) Tibaldi remembers Mette Jensen by writing, "She was introduced to me by Francesca as one of the best people in Holstebro and helper at OTA (Odin Teatret Archives), called at the time CTLS (Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies). Mette kept calling OTA by its old name even when I tried to explain to her so many times what the difference was about: she kept listening, nodding and in the end she said "yes, CTLS" while seemingly smiling."
Lyn Cunningham remembers Mette Jensen, writing, "In your deck of cards, there are two Jokers. Often these are seen as being identical, but you taught me that if you look closer that one Joker card is slightly different and more embellished than the other, and is the most magical card. I jokingly called this card ‘the Mette’, and we laughed when it magically appeared, usually in your hands!"
When I first came to Holstebro, Mette was the lovely woman who waited for me and transported me to the Odin Theater. I knew immediately that she was a special, warm and joyful soul. Love immediately poured out, and a unique woman moved into my heart.
Teatret OM remembers Mette Jensen as "our guardian angel - a unique person with a big heart and an overwhelming generosity", who has generously supported the group since they first arrived in Denmark in 1992.
Firstly – to everyone a very happy new year and I sincerely trust that we will all rally with all the resistance and love we have to combat the ******* nonsense that is perpetrating in world politics. Brazilian friends say ‘keep making poetry – they hate that’.
Jana Korbis searching for interdisciplinarity and transcendence of traditional borders: by combining physical theater with circus arts, dance with aerials and new media… Thus she creates deep, condensed and touching theater pieces – using aerial arts as her physical expression and narrative.
I have been thinking a lot lately about methods and ways of working. I asked questions on how we, as, artist, exist in a space and what is this space? Perhaps my reflection is more about how do we as an artist, provoke change and whether we can create an ecological system of rigour and sustainability in our practice?
Christina Fornaciairi writes about “O Levante International Festival of Women on Stage”, which took place from September 9 to 15, 2019 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; "bringing difference and repetition, tradition and renewal, “O Levante!” provided a harmonious and non-repressive space, raising the intensity of life, something exceptional nowadays. May other editions come!"
Marianne Kjær Klausen writes about her meetings with the Magdalena Project and with the Kurdish author Yıldız Çakar, who is living in exile in Germany. One important aspect of her joining the Magdalena Project is to stay connected to the political reality of colleagues in different countries, to keep herself integrated in a world from which it is easy to become detached.
Helen invited me the the Magdalena München Season 2018, to participate in a three-month artistic residence in Munich, in Villa Waldberta, a fantastic place, a wonderful house full of so many stories. It was my first artistic residence, and also the first time that I and Ivan, my son, experienced snow – and its silence.
In 2006 I received an email. It was an invitation to perform in a festival in Denmark. The name of the festival was Transit festival for 2007 January. The theme was “Stories to be Told”. The mail was from the director of the Festival, Julia Varley. As I was reading the mail my heart was filled with great enthusiasm. In those years I was working on story telling with singing, dancing and painted canvas. I thought it was perfect for me to be there. I already had prepared work at my hand.
Can we still be enthusiastic today? The question seems almost indecent, in a world of noise and fury, suffocating with conflict, destruction, and all kinds of unbelievable violence. And yet...
Peut-on être encore enthousiaste aujourd'hui ? La question semble presque indécente, dans un monde de bruit et de fureur, suffoquant de conflits, destructions, et autres violences inimaginables. Et pourtant ... Français ci-dessous
What is the music of your roots? What kind of music makes you happy?
Music has always been part of my life, that universal language arousing the senses, soothing me and touching me, so intimate and accessible to everyone. So is a toilet. When these two important experiences are combined, they create a place fraught with communication and sensations, reviving feelings, dreams and awareness that our lives are all about encounter, passion, closeness, openness, fear, or goodness.
Last May, I have turned 50 years of professional life, a piece of history that is almost all of my adult life. And even if I don't think there's anything transcendental to celebrate, besides being still standing, thoughts overlap, flashes of memories; the persistence of a journey that, I see it again now, embraces four compact moments that I don't want to be overlooked by memory.
Lena and I meet at Magdalena Munich 2018. During rehearsal for "Daughter" of Jill Greenhalgh we talked a lot about our experience with asian heritages (she with chinese, and I with taiwanese one). We understand each other and wish to cooperate somewhere.
It was the month of December, the year 1999. I found the website of Magdalena. It was not a mirage; it was an oasis for me while questioning how to make feminist theatre in Istanbul. I wrote the email; I got the answer. Jill Greenhalgh replied. Then we met in Novi Sad in June 2000: The workshop, little talks, lots of energy exchange. It was the month August, the year 2000, we established our feminist theatre group, Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş (Theatre Painted Bird) in Istanbul.
At the conference Reconference: rethink, reimagine, reboot held from 10 to 12 of April 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal, Zoe Gudović had the chance to hear many amazing women, including the great Arundhati Roy.
I recently had the privilege of attending the third Tantidhatri Festival, a Magdalena festival held in different locations in India since 2012. This time, from 15 to 20 January 2019, Tantidhatri was held at Rabindra Tirtha – an arts centre dedicated to the poet and philosopher Ranbindranath Tagore.
Zoe Gudović writes about her experience of creating "DISSOCIATION", a performance installation in Das KloHäuschen, a former men's public toilet in Munich, Germany, that is now a contemporary art space.
Suzon Fuks shares a few thoughts following her participation in Mestiza Chile Festival 2018, organised around “Memory and Resistance”, an important theme in this tumultuous time, just after the Brazilian elections, and the rise of the extreme-right elsewhere including in Australia.
Thaís Ivana de Medeiros and I had many gentle collaborations in Magdalena Munich: my recording of spoken Shakespeare for her show; some text she wrote composed into a song for her to sing; and a story about a truth/lie from her life has become a song in our latest group song theatre show TRUTH, told in speech, song, light and movement.
"... over time I have discovered the dimension of the energy investment that is demanded of an actress to walk from one point to another with absolute awareness of each and every part of the journey in the present moment ... I’ve failed most of the times, if not all ... "
Looking out from the window of an airplane, Lyn Cunningham uses this perspective on the earth to reflect on past projects, the violence humans inflict on each other and the planet, and the strength of the Magdalena network.
"During the last years, my theatre was not involved in projects dealing with migrant issues because we really wanted to understand how can we, theatre artists, be of use to people whose only goal, once they arrive in Serbia, is to move on to the so-called countries of Western Europe. They are in transition through Serbia, although this transition sometimes could last year or two, or even more, and sometimes they try illegaly to cross the border, facing danger and very often being returned back. This time we accepted an invitation to join the project."
Having been at the first Magdalena Festival in 1986 and many since in many parts of the world, this Munich Magdalena has a very different feel, due to the Munich City supported artists’ residency scheme which gives the festival its three month shape.
It’s the middle of March and the middle of the Magdalena München Saison: six weeks behind us, six weeks ahead. Time to pause and take a breath, look back at what’s happened and gather our energies for the next stretch!
We are now one week into the Magdalena München Saison 2018, and already a lot has happened! The February artists have arrived in Munich and settled into the Villa Waldberta in Feldafing, and their performances, workshops and projects are underway.
Geddy Aniksdal wishes that we may all be strong/firm with persistence - the festivals we might organize; the books we want to and will write and with the fights we may have to get funded. The new performances that we will make. The need to be together, the friendship we share. May we be strong and firm and persistent in the meetings, the exchange that has fuelled and fed us for many, many years now.
This article is my personal journey into DaDa (/ˈdɑːdɑː/), 20th century avant-garde movement developed in reaction to WW I. Dadaists rejected the logic and aestheticism of capitalist society and maintained political affinities with the radical left.
I used to be a perfectionist. That didn´t mean that my creative work was near the level of perfection that I was demanding myself, but it meant that I blocked many creative and spontaneous ideas for fear of being wrong and not having a good standard.
I write to you from the Paris airport; I'm going to Spain, to receive the Jesús Domínguez writing prize, which they will give us for the play "Moje holka, moje holka" (My girl, my girl), written in collaboration with Itziar Pascual and dedicated to the Magdalena Project.
The Transit Festival has come and gone once again. As usual the programme was packed, with early morning training and three performances most evenings, as well as workshops, work demonstrations, presentations and discussions during the day.
Every Magdalena festival has its own unique character, determined by the people organising it and its location. The Tantidhatri festival, held first in 2012 in Pondicherry and Auroville, and this year in Bengaluru, is no exception; it floats in a magical bubble of scents, colours and joy that is gently cradled by each of the many smiling volunteers.
Report on Magdalena Montpellier by Henriette Beyer
This late summer I went for the first time to a Magdalena festival; it happened in Montpellier, based at La Bulle Bleu, a warmhearted welcoming place where handicapped and people without handicap share common spaces, work and live together, also artistically. The organisation was "fantastique", mille mercis!
In late September, Magdalenas gathered in the balmy south of France for Magdalena Montpellier, a festival organised by Marion Coutarel in association with La Bulle Bleue. The festival marked the culmination of Marion's three-year residency at this arts organisation for people with disabilities.
The upgrade of this website to Drupal 7 has begun! Web Princess Valentina Tibaldi, and Web Witch Agnez Bewer, have arrived at the palace of Web Queen Helen Varley Jamieson to undertake the upgrade. As you can see, they are already hard at work.
I've been living in Munich for five years now, although most of my artistic work has still been elsewhere; but as my German slowly improves, I'm beginning to create opportunities and projects locally. Since the Magdalena Project is an important part of my life, I wondered about the possibility of organising a Magdalena festival here in Munich, whether there might be a need and desire for such a thing. But how to find out, when I'm a foreigner who doesn't speak the language very well and my networks within the local theatre and arts communities are limited?
I've been working on this show on and off for about 6 years and at last this year we have managed to get it on it's feet and touring around the UK. It has been, and continues to be, a deeply fascinating and involving process, again now as some of those we have interviewed start to come ans see the pwrformance, and other related people turn up unexpectedly like the parents of a journalist killed working on Chechnya. The question and answer sessions have turned into riveting discussions on war and peace.
Everything has flown fast here in Cd. Juárez. By now, Carolina Pizarro, is in Santiago, Chile. A month has gone. She came to show us how it is to transform the crap into flowers. I knew it would happen, and it´s very hard to see this reaction in other people who saw in her an actress who lives to share her experience with such rigor and love to the profession. I´m in an awe. In the best way I must say. It was a tough experience.
"Women performers in Brisbane invited us to dinner and a show. On the menu was the question of women’s visibility as contributers to performance, and what followed was an eclectic after dinner Cabaret of local performance talent."
The workshops had already had their first session on Tuesday morning before the official opening, attended by many local journalists and featuring a welcome from festival director Amarantha Osario and an improvisation by the festival artists. This was followed by the traditional opening round (pictured below) where artists and participants from Albania to Japan as well as the Spanish-speaking world introduced themselves.
At Transit VII, I was asked to speak in the symposium as part of a sesion entitled "Giving Form: Art between Fiction and Reality". I found it very difficult to prepare for this presentation - unsure of what I could say on the topic that would be interesting or useful to the audience, wondering if I really know the difference between fiction and reality, even problematising the words "giving" and "form".
Thursday morning as I was arriving home from Transit 7 (an international festival of women in contemporary theatre curated by Odin Teatret actress Julia Varley), Margi Brown Ash was attending the Brisbane Festival launch at the Brisbane Powerhouse. An impressive program it would seem, but something is amiss, as she describes here in her blog.
7 Jun. There is much to say about the exchanges and performances today. I will try to say more in the morning but I have just come from a performance by German actress Gilla Cremer. A shocking story told by an exquisite actress. In this 75-minute performance she does not move for the first 30 minutes at least.
Not surprisingly I suppose, Transit VII has provoked a profound crisis in me. Just when I thought that I had my life figured out, I took the 'risk' of coming to the Odin to meet, exchange, and learn what I thought would be augmentations to my existing practice. I did not expect that I would start to question my entire body of work - tearing it to pieces to find anything of value worth keeping. I believe, however, that I was meant to come here at this time. That now is the right time to experience this shock to the system.
Loud stomping resounds from the theatre: the participants of Maria Porter and Raquel Carrio's workshop are giving a demonstration and this is the Suzuki part. I am missing it, to wash some clothes and write this post - it's not possible to see and do everything at Transit, we have to miss some things when the programme packs 5 performances and several presentations into each day. We don't come to Transit to sleep, that's for sure - but we do have to wash our clothes and sometimes take a pause to try and digest everything before we can take more in.
I read in an interview to the Italian actress Luisa Pasello that Grotowski described the actor’s training as something like brushing one’s teeth. A very personal moment meant for the exploration of the psycho-physical perspectives that nurture the practice of your art.
Every week we meet at Astaroth Teatro in Amsterdam to share training experiences and traditions.
Dohter, que significa filha em inglês arcaico, é o nome do work in progress que deu início ao Vértice Brasil – encontro e festival internacional de teatro feito por mulheres – que aconteceu em Floripa no decorrer da semana. Uma oficina conduzida pela diretora galesa Jill Greenhalgh durante as duas semanas anteriores ao evento e frequentada por 10 artistas catarinenses investigou o tema e criou perguntas e respostas pessoais sobre o que é ser/ter filha. Este material foi pra cena e tornou-se poesia viva.
Florianapolis is a beautiful place. It is an island connected by a bridge to mainland south Brazil. The city of Florianapolis is surrounded by water – the hills across the water on the mainland frame both city and the glorious beaches that boast to be the best in South Brazil. White dunes, waterside fish restaurants, selling oysters by the bucket load and the efficient but stressless approach to work, at which Brazilians excel, make this a very pleasant place to have been hosted for three weeks.
I am in Providence, Rhode Island, for BIARI - Brown International Advanced Research Institute. This is a gathering of about 140 researchers and thinkers, brought together for two weeks of presentations and discussions in four streams: climate change, health and HIV, population and development, and theatre and civil society. I'm in this last group, convened by Erik Ehn and Patricia Ybarra, with 24 participants hailing from nearly every corner of the globe.
Secret Girl is an exhibition by Leah Crossley on the art work she has produced out of the photographs she took during The Seven Kimgs - Secret Girl workshop given by Gabriella Sacco at the Magdalena Legacy and Challenge festival in Cardiff in 2011.
Más caras con máscaras es un manual que muestra cómo crear 22 diferentes máscaras y sus variaciones en forma precisa y meticulosa. Con 190 páginas e 772 ilustraciones este manual es un recurso invaluable para educadores, profesionales de teatro y quien quiera crear máscaras.
I am in Pondicherry, India for the Tantidhatri festival - the first Magdalena festival in India, organised by Parvathy Baul (with an incredible army of volunteers). The festival has finished & I'm indulging in a week of holiday here - although "holiday" also means clearing my email backlog and dealing with lots of photos taken by myself and others during the festival; you can see the growing gallery of images here.
We are nearing the end of the Tantidhatri Festival already, and I haven't had time to post anything - I've been full of good intentions but like most Magdalena festivals, the schedule of overlapping performances, transport logistics, catching up with people and preparing for my performance hasn't left much time for anything else except sleeping; also it's so hot here that it's necessary to shower 2-3 times a day & wash everything I've been wearing as well.
Cosa c’è dietro al sipario? Il mondo magico del teatro e della presenza, il mondo reale e ostinato del lavoro quotidiano per poter dire “sono qui e ora” sul palcoscenico: l’attrice nei suoi piedi, calzando le scarpe dei suoi personaggi.
I am in Torino for Magfest! When I left Munich on Thursday morning, the first winter snow was falling - but in Torino it was a beautiful sunny day. I was met at the airport by Valentina and Christina Kyriazidi, who had just arrived from Berlin, then we had lunch with Gabriella and her parents. Gabriella and Valentina have put the festival together on almost nothing (in New Zealand we'd say "on the smell of an oily rag") and focussed on performances - 17 performances over two days and one evening - mostly by "younger" women.
We all know how difficult funding is to get, and that in the "current economic climate" it is getting harder and harder. But there are funds out there, and perhaps if we join forces and apply together we may be able to access something. As an international network, the Magdalena Project is significant and fairly unique, and our work connects into many funding organisations' priorities. We just have to find the right fund to approach and give them a good pitch.
I thought I’d write a short blog for those who were interested but unable to attend today’s Magdalena@25 afternoon tea at my place. This is by no means a comprehensive description of the conversation that took place, but if you were one of the women who just couldn’t be there today, here’s a taste of the ground covered:
Once the Magdalena Norway group gets up and running, this will be a place for group members to post blogs about Magdalena Norway's activities. In the meantime, this is here as a placeholder, to show you that it can be done!
Finally managed to sort through all of the photos from the first couple of days of the Legacy and Challenge Magdalena in August! For now, I have put every single one on a Photobucket album (the link is below). You should be able to download any of the photos, but if there are any problems I can email them directly to you, just email the link of the photograph to me. This is the same if you want any photos edited or photoshopped, as I have access to Photoshop CS4.
Magdalena Australia Australian Theatre Forum Lunch
Thursday September 15; 1 - 2 p.m. Graffiti Room, Brisbane Powerhouse BYO lunch to share
This is a great opportunity for those who have not been able to attend or link into the Australian Theatre Forum to come along and meet women artists who have come from around Australia, as well as connecting with our own Brisbane colleagues and friends.
Magdalena festivals are wonderful comming-together times, when women from all over the world converge for a short, intense period of performances, workshops, presentations, conversations and meals. There are reunions after many years, new encounters, and the pleasurable translation of knowing-by-email into physical meetings. But for every participant at a Magdalena festival, there are many more within the network who are not at the festival.
How do we define professional when it comes to theatre or, more broadly, the performing arts in general?
It’s a question I’ve tussled with on many occasions and one where I find myself constantly refining and changing my answer. If we look to dictionaries, they tend to define professional as being the level or standard of competence expected of a professional, which means professional work in theatre is about the quality of the work.
In June, I went rather spontaneously to the Prague Quadrennial; i knew quite a few people who would be there, & when Suzon offered a free bed where she was staying, I decided to go. I'd never been to Prague before & the festival seemed like it would be a good time to discover it - and it was.
The theme of this year's Transit is peripheries - of all kinds, geographic, artistic, cultural, etc. in my presentation i talked about my own peripherical work, on the edge of theatre & also on the edge of digital art. i also talked about peripherals - things you attach to your computer to expand its capabilities such as a printer, web cam, external hard-drive, etc. periphical things have important roles to play in relationship to the centre(s) as well as to each other.
The festival has been going for a few days of workshops but this evening was the formal opening for the presentations and performances. I have tried to capture the essence of Julia Varley's opening address below:
packed festival days continue! after giving my own presentation yesterday, as well as helping with projection for gabi's show earlier in the day & eva's show the night before, i'm having a quiet day today to upload & offload rather than try to take more in.
I am in Holstebro, Denmark at Odin Teatret for the 6th Transit International Festival of Women's Performance. Organised by Julia Varley approximately every 3 years since 1992, the Transit Festival is a highlight of the Magdalena calendar. It's a great coming-together of women theatre makers from all over the world, for an intense period of workshops, work-in-progress showings, discussions, performances and of course a lot of great conversations over good food & drink :)