The topic of migration has been a major source of debate across Europe, particularly in the past decade. The politicisation of this issue in many countries’ national conversations tends to reduce complexity and ignore the diversity and nuance of the migrant experience. The position of migrant artists is almost entirely absent from these debates and migrants themselves are often misrepresented in mainstream performing arts and popular culture. In dialogue with first-generation migrant artists, producers and activists based in the Czech Republic, Poland and UK, we’ll delve into the migrant artist experience. We’ll discuss what it’s like to emigrate with your creative practice (on both the artistic and bureaucratic level), where and how migrant artists and their work sit within dominant national performing arts scenes and what artistic and aesthetic approaches and perspectives migrant artists bring to their countries of residence. Conversations around migrants in the performing arts often take place in national contexts, so this conversation represents a unique opportunity to compare and contrast migrant artist experiences in different countries and discover what we can learn from each other and what types of solidarity we might wish to pursue.
Our panel of theatre and art professionals include: Ivan Vyrypaev (RU/PL), Lora Krasteva (BG/UK), Lara Parmiani (IT/UK) and, Husam Abed (PS/JO/CZ). The moderator of the discussion is Becka McFadden (UK/CZ).
The Show Must Go On/OFFline online discussion series, featuring guests drawn from the ranks of theatre and dance artists, curators, cultural managers and theorists from the Czech Republic and abroad, addresses the performing arts’ sensitivity and responsiveness to contemporary social issues. Key themes include the adaptation of theatre, dance and contemporary circus to the virtual environment as a result of the anti-pandemic measures and questions related to the sustainability of our current quality of life and of the performing arts themselves. While it seems that the critical need for social change discussed in the fields of ecology, economics, politics and culture has been overshadowed in recent months by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, concerns about the sustainability of the field itself are gaining ground in the performing arts. Does a hybrid existence in real and virtual space amount to a dead-end for disciplines that rely on audience contact, or might it open up new worlds and possibilities? Will spectators stay at home forever? How are artists, organisers of cultural events, public funding bodies and arts education institutions responding to this crisis? How are they orientating themselves? What do they believe in and where are they headed? How do they communicate? In dialogue with our guests, we will try to map the performing arts’ emerging strategies and first responses to this global paradigm shift.