The CASCAS tour in Belgium took place 17-23 July 2011.
The participants were:
Olle Strandberg, Artist/Director, Sweden
Joe MacIntosh, Programmer, Sea Change Arts/Out There International Festival of Street Arts and Circus, UK
Ivana Slunksij, Journalist, Croatia
Jennifer Pattersson, Artist, Scotland
Sanni Pajula, Producer, Cirko Center, Finland
Seija Hakkarainen, Director, Cirkus Uusimaailma, Finland
Marcim Herich, Artist/Director/Producer, Theatre Festival A PART, Poland
Catherine Daniel, Artist/Trainer/Project leader, Hungary/Germany
The tour was also accompanied by Kiki Muukkonen (artistic director, Hangaren in Subtopia, Sweden). Tour guides were Fabien Audoreen and Celine Verkest (artistic director and programmer, MiramirO Festival, Belgium).
Ghent was the host city of this CasCas tour. So it was logical that the group visited the Ghent Fest, one of the oldest festivals in Europe, on the first day. But first there was dinner at a historic boat where CasCas was joined by Waas Gramser of Cie Marius.
On Monday everyone got on the bus to Ath to visit the ‘Centre for Street Arts’ and meet with Alain Coulon of Sortilèges Festival and Alain Schmitz of the festival at Chassepierre. After lunch it was off to Bruges to visit the festival CirquePlus. The show of Circo Ripopolo and d’Irque and Fien were on the program including a talk with the artists afterwards. In between some Belgian organizers agreed to come to Bruges and meet with the CASCAS group: Gwendolien Sabbe from De Spil, Filip Strobbe of BruggePlusvzw and Luc Muylaert of ‘Theater aan Zee’ in Ostend.
On Tuesday the group stayed in Ghent for an early (at 6h30) guided tour with the garbage men cleaning daily the leftovers of a night of Ghent Fest. After breakfast a meeting with Koen Allary, director of the Flemish Circus Centre, was scheduled. This meeting took place at ‘The Expedition’ a new cultural centre with production facilities. CASCAS also got a tour through the building, which is still partially under construction. Attending the rehearsal of an international group of artists working at De Expeditie, within the frame of another European project ‘Meridians’, concluded the tour. CASCAS had the opportunity to talk with these artists in residence.
In the afternoon the group was guests at the city hall in Ghent where they talked about policy for circus and street arts in Belgium with Anne-Marie Van Hijfte and Machteld De Smedt of the Flemish Ministry of Culture, Amélia Franck of the French Community Ministry of Culture and Alderman of Culture of the City of Ghent Lieven Decaluwé. Afterwards there was another meeting planned on the organization of events with the city department of festivities.
After all that talking it was time for something else with a visit to the Youth Circus festival and the show of Les P’Tits Bras. After the show CASCAS met Maarten Verhelst, responsible of communication for the festival.
Back on the bus on Wednesday to visit Dommelhof, organizer of the festival ‘Theater op de Markt’ and the largest and best equipped production centre for circus and street arts in Belgium. Marc Celis, director of Dommelhof, was happy to welcome the CASCAS group himself.
After lunch Fréderique Snoeks and Bert Loenders, two young circus artists met up with CASCAS in Dommelhof to talk about the circus atelier Circ-O-Fun but also about their experiences as young circus artists and their training at ACaPA (Tilburg, the Netherlands). In the evening CASCAS was expected at the ‘Zomer van Antwerpen’ to meet artistic director Patrick De Groote and see the new show from Skagen.
Thursday the 21st of July was not only the National Day in Belgium but also the opening day of the MiramirO festival. In the morning CASCAS met several directors and artists: Arne Sierens of Cie Cecilia, Kurt Demey of Rode Boom, Martine Decroos of Studio Orka, Filip Vandemeulebroecke of Kokliko Theatre and Danny Ronaldo of Circus Ronaldo.
In the afternoon the group enjoyed the many shows that were to be seen at MiramirO. And with this the Belgian CASCAS tour ended as the day after everyone went back home, tired but hopefully with a lot of new contacts and knowledge and completely satisfied.
The Belgian tour was made possible with the support of Flemish Community and Gent: zoveel stad