World-leading companies joined by regional theatre makers
From Friday 23 August to Sunday 1 September 2019, the Cultura Nova International Visual Theatre Festival will offer an extensive and varied programme for young and old alike. The 29th edition has more than 60 different companies presenting 200 performances, concerts, films, workshops, and lectures at 25 locations in Heerlen and the surrounding area. The range of theatre shows, music, dance, circus, and stage performances also includes a special programme for young people. Leading international companies such as Ilotopie, Cirque Éloize, and Recirquel are looking forward to attending Cultura Nova. The festival will also present various productions by young theatre makers such as Sien Vanmaele, Lotte and Karlijn Milder, and Celine Daemen. Cultura Nova 2019 will feature no fewer than 20 premières and just as many co-productions.
Minister opens festival
On Friday 23 August, the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven will open the 29th edition of the Cultura Nova festival. The organisers of the festival are delighted she has chosen to do so, as they believe this emphasises the national relevance of Cultura Nova and the cultural developments in the region – outside the major cities. That evening, Toneelgroep Maastricht will be presenting an urban performance of the famous tragedy Romeo & Juliet in collaboration with three international companies: La Fabrique Royale – Zéro Degré, Aerosculpture, and Groupe F. The open-air performance on Burgemeester van Grunsvenplein square is inspired by Shakespeare’s timeless story about young love and the tragic consequences of intolerance, ignorance, and misunderstanding. Romeo & Juliet will be a visually stunning and contemporary theatre performance, with lots of music and some impressive theatrical acts. This unique performance of Romeo & Juliet is the result of Cultura Nova bringing together French companies and Toneelgroep Maastricht. Together with a large number of singers and dancers from the region, the opening of Cultura Nova is sure to be an unforgettable show.
Centriphery, a European project
Together with eight other festivals and cultural organisations across Europe, Cultura Nova has received a grant from ‘Centriphery’, a unique exchange project that is uniquely aimed at areas outside the major cities in each participating country. In Heerlen, Hoge Fronten/Lieke Benders and Bart Bijnens will create a performance on behalf of Toneelgroep Maastricht together with Eric Minh Cuong Castaing from France and Livia Coloji from Romania. The performances will be held in SCHUNCK’s exhibition space.
The French company Ilotopie, known for its performances that take place entirely on water, chose to join Cultura Nova and put on the world première of its new performance Effraction Nocturne (‘A break-in in the night’). Reminiscent of the work of David Lynch, this performance will be entirely on water and shown at Zilverzandgroeve Beaujean quarry in Heerlerheide.
International circus theatre
Cultura Nova has built up a tradition in showcasing world-leading circus companies. One of them is the Canadian Cirque Éloize, which will be presenting its dazzling musical show Hotel. With a mix of dance, comedy, music, and acrobatics, Éloize offers a fresh perspective on the traditional circus. The Hungarian company Recirquel received good reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe – all 5*, an unprecedented score – for its performance of My Land. This special performance takes place on what could be described as a large sandpit, with Recirquel presenting a vibrant mix of circus and dance during this Dutch première. A special youth and family performance is Yolo, a musical circus act by the Spanish company Cia. Lucas Escobedo.
Full of joy, power, rhythm, and energy, this performance will also be the Dutch première at Cultura Nova.
Youth & Family shows
In addition to Yolo, Cultura Nova will feature a large number of youth and family performances that all have their Dutch première, such as the Belgian Zonzo with Thelonious, a musical performance; the Spanish El Patio Teatro with the visual performance HUBO (‘There was’); the Belgian Muziektheater Transparant with De Torens van Beiroet (‘The towers of Beirut’), a musical about resistance and the brave search for happiness; the Spanish group Panic Map with Petit Big Blue (‘Little big blue’), a beautiful visual performance based on the work of Wassily Kandinsky, for children aged 1.5 to 4 years, and the Belgian company 4Hoog with Cloud, a co-production with Cultura Nova featuring a spectacular children’s performance that brings together the music of Mozart and acrobatics.
Festivalplein & Spiegeltent
Various activities will be organised on Burgemeester van Grunsveinplein square (the ‘festivalplein’). These include water performances by the French company Compagnie Dut, the musical fair Abstractiepark 7090 by Intro, young people from the asylum seekers’ centre in Heerlen riding around on disco bicycles, and the urban green space ‘Park Urbana’ by IBA Parkstad. The on-site catering will only serve regional products in eco-disposable packaging. The Spiegeltent will host a range of bands from the Netherlands and beyond who are sure to blow you away with their original, catchy sounds, including Mama’s Gun (GB), Soweto Soul (ZA), Onipa (GH), Tyler Childers (US), blackwave (BE), Alfa Mist (GB), and TootArd from the Golan Heights. In collaboration with music venue De Nieuwe Nor, various concerts will be held by Borghesia, a Slovenian electro-rock group playing in the style of the Einstürzende Neubauten (in the Nieuwe Nor), and a unique ‘lie-down concert’ by famous DJ Lady Aïda in Theater Heerlen. Thanks to SLIM, the winner of the Eujazz Young Talent Award 2019 will perform in the Spiegeltent.
As part of the EU project Centriphery, an international symposium will be held that will consider the periphery’s innovative power based on the role of art and culture alongside design challenges in the peripheral urban environment. There will also be an Artist Talk on the first Sunday, during which Hans Mommaas and Airan Berg will have an in-depth discussion with a number of artists and theatre makers participating in Cultura Nova’s programme. The talk will focus on the relationship between their work with the community and the people from that community. Under the title Veerkracht (‘Resilience’), NEIMED will be organising its eleventh ‘Krimplezing’ lecture with speakers such as Sabine Meier from the Universität Siegen (Germany) and Sabrina Keinemans from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. The Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations requested IBA Parkstad and Cultura Nova to organise a NOVI debate in Heerlen in response to the unveiling of the new ‘Nationale Omgevingsvisie’ (NOVI), the Dutch government’s vision for the environment. Of course, as you would expect from Cultura Nova, we will be working on this the whole week in order to hold a public debate on the last Saturday.
Opening of Heerlen railway station
Heerlen railway station will be opened on Saturday 31 August. The station is part of the Maankwartier (Moon Quarter) designed by the Heerlen artist Michel Huisman. Although the Maankwartier will not be opened fully until 2020, the station will be ready in August, and all those involved will seize the opportunity to mark the occasion in style. A varied programme will be organised from 11:00 AM onwards. The opening of Heerlen railway station will be part of the programme, in collaboration with Cultura Nova, and promises to be a huge cultural event. The programme is under embargo for the time being and will be later announced in more detail in the media.
Opening of Buitenring Parkstad Limburg
On Sunday 1 September, the Buitenring Parkstad Limburg will be opened with a musical theatre show that Toneelgroep Maastricht is organising with a number of Limburg’s music ensembles. As this is a public event, Cultura Nova is using it as the closing event of its 29th festival. However, as the number of seats is limited to 3,500, please reserve free tickets via Cultura Nova.
Growing collaboration with Cultura Nova
In recent years, Cultura Nova has been collaborating with more and more world-leading companies. Event organisers and venues from Heerlen and the surrounding area are also becoming more and more involved in the festival. Thanks to the music venue De Nieuwe Nor, Filmhuis de Spiegel art cinema, (h)ear, SCHUNCK, Stichting Street Art foundation, Cultuurhuis Heerlen, Heerlen Mijn Stad, and Intro Maastricht, Cultura Nova can offer a multifaceted programme that is as much as a visual spectacle as it is a musical one. Together with other artists, Cultura Nova and IBA Parkstad are designing a new ‘Park Urbana’ on the ‘festivalplein’. The temporary urban park is the creative impetus for a permanent park in Heerlen’s inner city. A new feature of the festival is a collaboration with MAMDT (the department of media studies at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences) and the Dutch Open Universiteit, which is developing two public apps for the event. Thanks to the collaboration with L1 and students of Vista College (formerly Arcus), who are reporting extensively on Cultura Nova online and on television, everyone can enjoy the extensive programme – both live and afterwards.
The full programme of the international visual theatre festival Cultura Nova can be found at www.culturanova.nl. This website also has information about ticket sales and the programme brochure, which will be available free of charge from 20 June at Parkstad Limburg Theaters, SCHUNCK Glaspaleis, cafés, and other frequently visited locations in and around Heerlen.