Voila! Europe is an annual theatre rendez-vous in London, bringing together British and European theatre makers each November. Our curated programme is a border-busting mix of multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary performance.
OUR 2019 FESTIVAL
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome: to the 2019 Voila! Europe Theatre Festival.
Amidst the continuing uncertainty about the UK’s relationship with its continental neighbours, Voila! Europe is proud to dedicate our programme to keeping the Channel open, promoting cultural exchange, and offering outward-looking Londoners the chance to encounter unusual stories and perspectives from their fellow Europeans.
We don’t decide on a theme for the festival in advance, but the hundreds of proposals we receive from artists always guide us towards what’s happening in the zeitgeist, and what are the most pressing challenges we face as Europeans. Democracy, migration, family, burnout, truth, history, the future are popular as ever… and this year, the environmental crisis emerged as the overarching theme of the festival. The programme spans comedy, physical theatre, music, new writing, improvisation, robotics, clowning, satire, interactive performance, circus, and more, showcasing the wide variety of styles that ‘European theatre’ can encompass.
Voila is a multilingual festival, with Croatian, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Arabic and Welsh being spoken on stage. Most shows in the programme are mainly in English with other languages used in ways that are accessible to English-speakers. Some shows use live simultaneous translation by bilingual actors, well-placed summaries in English, or even projected live machine-translation. Several shows in the festival transcend language barriers all together by using no spoken language at all.
This year, we are delighted to be working with Rich Mix for the first time, supporting the development of three brand new works-in-progress with residencies, plus hosting festival performances at the venue in The Studio and The Mix.
We are grateful for the support of the Hungarian Cultural Centre London, allowing us to bring over Budapest’s most exciting contemporary Hungarian theatre company, StereoAkt, with their interactive democratic experiment European Freaks.
Joining them, Institut Francais and Wallonia-Brussels International are supporting us to bring companies from France and Belgium to meet the many UK-based artists making European work. Special thanks also go to Theatre Delicatessen, which welcomes participating companies into their rehearsal spaces and creative hub.
And of course, we couldn’t do it without our long-term partner The Cockpit, the original home of Voila! Festival and year-round purveyor of ‘disruptive panache’.
Whatever may happen on the 31st of October, you know you can join us in November to celebrate the border-busting power of the arts. Try something new with our double-bill deals and catch two shows in one night. Strike up a conversation in the theatre bar or just listen to the many accents and languages around you. Let’s keep London a European city.
See you at the festival!
Sharlit Deyzac & Amy Clare Tasker, Voila! Europe festival directors
Dave Wybrow, The Cockpit artistic director
Voila! Theatre Festival began in 2012 as an annual French & English bilingual fringe festival produced by The Cockpit. In response to Brexit, the 2017 festival expanded to include all European languages, with performances at The Cockpit, Etcetera Theatre, and Applecart Arts. Over the past 5 years, Voila! has supported over 500 artists to present 105 shows, bringing together British artists, UK-based European artists, and visiting artists coming from abroad to perform in the festival.
In April 2019, we collaborated with the Actors Centre to present A Piece of the Continent, a new festival in response to Brexit. This festival has led to an ongoing partnership with the Actors Centre to produce more European work in their West End venue, the Tristan Bates Theatre.
Voila! is a place for artists to take risks. We support individuals and companies to make a daring leap: presenting a new piece of work, touring to a new audience, or translating a play into a new language. Beyond providing a performance platform, we mentor emerging companies, so that their next step can be a step up.
In 2016, we programmed PSYCHEdelight’s BORDERLINE, a multilingual satirical comedy about the Calais Jungle, devised with refugees. The show had its first performances at Voila! and went on to be co-produced by Counterpoints Arts. After a revival at The Cockpit in 2017, the show is now touring the UK & Europe. The company has been featured in a documentary by the Guardian, and nominated for MigrationWork’s Community Integration Awards.
The European Festivals Association says: ‘Voila! Europe clearly has an imaginative and energetic approach to presenting international work in an urban festival setting. From its initial aims it has proved itself to be responsive, quirky, and risk-taking.’
WHO WE ARE
The Voila! Europe Theatre Festival is made possible by our co-producer The Cockpit, and our partner venue Rich Mix.
Sharlit Deyzac, Director of VOILA! Festival
Amy Clare Tasker, Deputy Director of VOILA! Festival
Dave Wybrow, Director of The Cockpit
With special thanks to:
United Colleges Group for their support of The Cockpit.
Theatre Deli for supporting our participating companies.
The Hungarian Cultural Centre London
The French Institute UK
Français à Londres
Tolga Tres of Birds & Dinosaurs Studio for logo and brochure design.
Some productions in the 2019 festival are supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, and Creative Scotland.
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Voila Theatre Festival is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Company number 11384259. 10 Otley Court, Catterick Close, N11 3GD.