Five of the biggest theatre festivals in the world
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
When: August (3 weeks)
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
What: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the most well known theatre festivals in the world. With over 2,400 shows of theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, opera, and art exhibitions to choose from there is something for everyone.
The Fringe dates back to 1947 when the UK was trying to rebuild after World War Two, but was made an official festival in 1958 when the Festival Fringe Society was created.
The festival hosts artists and patrons from all over the world and from many different experience levels. Theatre groups from universities use the space for critique of their original shows and to kick start their careers while already established musicians and artists come to the festival to celebrate all that is considered performing art.
Official Website: www.edfringe.com
Chekhov International Theatre Festival
When: May – July
Where: Moscow, Russia
What: The Chekhov International Theatre Festival, named after one of Russia’s greatest short story writers and dramatists, has many creative projects with theatre companies around the world. Some shows in the festival were produced by artists from two or more countries.
The festival is split into three parts: the World Series, the Program of Moscow Theaters, and the Regional Program. The World Series lists theatre and dance companies from around the world, including China, the U.S., and Spain among others. The other two programs are specific to productions from Russia itself.
Russian theatre is different from other cultures because it emphasizes emotion throughout the actor and character and the challenging stream of consciousness writing techniques. While the artistry may be difficult to understand at first, the stories presented are filled with timeless and universal themes of family, tradition, and the human condition.
Official Website: www.chekhovfest.ru
When: July – August
Where: Bregenz, Austria
What: The hills – and lakes – are alive with the sounds of music at the Bregenzer Festspiele in Bregenz, Austria. The stage is set on Lake Constance for a large scale opera performance that has astounded set builders for years.
The festival began in 1946. Like Edinburgh, Bregenz was trying to rebuild after WW2. Before there was even a proper theater in the town – the first theater building opened in 1955 – there was the Bregenz Festival. In its first year, the festival was made international through visitors from neighboring European countries.
The outdoor mainstage opera is one for the books, but the festival also hosts indoor mainstage performances of spoken theatre and opera, a symposium, orchestra performances, and art galleries.
Official Website: http://bregenzerfestspiele.com/
Where: Adelaide, Australia
What: The OzAsia Festival, a partner of the Adelaide Festival Centre, hosts musicians, poets,theatre companies, filmmakers, and writers for a two week experience. Along with live performances, the festival also has many keynote presentations on how diversity is portrayed in visual and performing art. Each performance or presentation has the common goal of bringing together cultures, especially if one is unfamiliar with the other. It is a complete cultural and educational experience.
Official Website: www.ozasiafestival.com
Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
When: April through May (1 Week)
Where: Harare, Zimbabwe
What: Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, hosts the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe and one of eight large festivals in Africa. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) has a positive energy about it that is reflected in its shows and people.
HIFA includes music, dance, theatre, and art from African, Asian, and European companies. Theatre includes modern American theatre, classic stories from Dickens, and a look into the Zimbabwean ways of life. There are even dance, drum, poetry, and beading workshops for audience members to participate in.
Some of the past special projects include a look at Zimbabwean fashion and creating fashion out of recycled materials.
Official Website: www.hifa.co.zw