[Festivals Stories] Holland Festival
In 2022, the Holland Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary. From the beginning, this international performing arts festival has provided a stage for a wide range of disciplines from across the world. Since 2019, the festival has collaborated with associate artists; not only to show their work but also to pick their brains and broaden the festival’s horizons further. The 2021 associate artists were Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and French-Austrian theatre director Gisèle Vienne.
After putting together a small online programme in 2020, with which we explored online possibilities due to the live edition being cancelled, in June 2021 we were determined to present a live international festival because, after all, this is what the Holland Festival stands for. In order to make this happen in the middle of a pandemic and with a relatively small team, we needed to piece together an intricate puzzle. Some of the biggest challenges we faced involved getting artists to the Netherlands while keeping in mind the conditions for live audiences to be allowed to get together. Due to restrictions and cancellations, the programme ended up being smaller than in normal years but this resulted in a programme equally coherent and diverse, that included impressive new works by the associate artists. There was a total of twenty-four productions and over two hundred performances, podcasts, streams and the like. The festival has always been able to adapt to circumstances and has shown it can stand its ground under extreme conditions.
We are very proud of the optimism, flexibility and resilience of the highly motivated festival team, collaborators and artists who, against all odds, made a live international festival possible. There were some important takeaways from the restrictions the festival faced. The development of online possibilities was ramped up and will continue. In addition to the live festival, we will continue to present podcasts, streams and Instagram events. There were also some highly successful online creations and collaborations that would not have been possible offline, or that would never have reached such a large audience. For example, the collaboration between musician Sami Yusuf, Cappella Amsterdam and the Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest resulted in the immensely successful video ONE (2020). In addition, video streams of live performances in Amsterdam were seen by audiences across the world. For example, Ine Aya’ (2021), by Nursalim Yadi Anugerah and Miranda Lakerveld, was streamed both in the Netherlands and Indonesia. The Holland Festival always puts the artists centre stage. We strive to keep making special productions and international collaborations possible and to continue the festival’s legacy of bringing international live arts to the Netherlands.
More information: terugblik-hollandfestival.nl
(General Editor: Simon Mundy)
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