Birmingham European festival goes online

Published: 29 April 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

BE FESTIVAL directors Miguel Oyarzun and Isla Aguilar

A theatre festival that has been forced to postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic is to create a digital “stay at home” event.

The week-long Birmingham-based BE FESTIVAL cannot carry on as normal, so it will go online with a programme featuring a broad range of European artists who will create work as a response to the confinements imposed by COVID-19.

BE at HOME FESTIVAL will take place across online platforms between 7 and 16 May. It will be free for audiences to not only watch but also join in.

The programme will offer a mix of live performance in isolation including theatre for an audience of one, a circus performance from an artist's living room and talks.

Artists include David Espinosa (Spain), Edurne Rubio (Spain / Belgium), Maria Jerez (Spain), Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere (Belgium), Squarehead Productions (Ireland), Francesc Serra Vila (Spain / UK) and DJ Glynn Phillips (UK).

Isla Aguilar and Miguel Oyarzun, directors of BE FESTIVAL, said, "in these uncertain times we absolutely wanted to keep the spirit of BE FESTIVAL alive. We wanted to continue to support our network of artists and still be able to bring together a programme of innovative art from across Europe that our audiences have come to expect each year.

"Online platforms present an exciting opportunity for artists and audiences to connect and engage. The BE at HOME FESTIVAL will do just that, albeit on a smaller scale. Our ethos will still be at the heart of it but with the added potential to reach a much wider online global audience who might be looking for an inspiring diversion.”

BE FESTIVAL, in its 11th year, was due to take place in June 2020. The full live festival has been postponed until 2021. The festival has honoured its commitments by paying its programmed artists their full fee for 2020 and a pledge to programme them in 2021.