The NU-performance festival 2011, curated by Silke Bake and Peter Stamer

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In 2011, the NU Performance Festival left the theatre scene behind and conquered the stage of everyday life: from November 7–10, 2011, the biannual festival for international contemporary performance and theatre was hosted exclusively at the Sokos Hotel Viru. During four days, around 50 performance and theatre artists presented work that had been originally created for or adapted to the hotel’s premises. In the light of the festivities in the framework of the Tallinn European Capital of Culture 2011, we had invited artistic contributions that revolved around the idea and practice of hospitality.

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In times where Europe is closing its frontiers, where social and ethnic minorities are being treated as outcast foreigners, where the Other has to assimilate to prevalent codes, and where the arts appear superfluous in the face of multiple crises, the question of hospitality is increasingly important. What does it mean to be a host, to be a guest? What is the performance of hospitality? What are the related gestures in the arts and in society? And how should togetherness be shared?

However, we were not seeking answers to be declared in manifestos, pamphlets, or treatises. Instead, we were interested in the small gestures that occur in social situations, in the direct exchange of practices, in actions, in the mutuality of togetherness. The festival attempted to provide a field where some of these questions can take shape and be tested in practice. We wanted the festival to leave the aesthetic security of the black box and dive into the contingencies of social life: performance is powerful enough to change and have an impact on what’s going on outside the playing field we are used to call stage and theatre.

On that note, Sokos Hotel Viru and its changeful history offered a promising venue for our idea to deal with and, after all, perform hospitality. After taking the hotel’s KGB-tour, we understood once more that hospitality is perverted if it is abused by the arbitrariness of a ruling party or subjected to an élite of any kind. Hospitality is “unconditional”, as philosophers say, the ultimate gesture of mutuality. Its only subject is boundless interest in the Other, in the one that is not me.

The program ranged from ready-made pieces, situations, interventions, performative hubs, guided tours, or performances especially commissioned for the festival. The artists integrated the given environment into their projects and thus intertwined different concepts of theatricality and the social, of the real and the envisioned, of guest and host. But first and foremost their artistic playfulness was the key to open the (hotel) doors to exchange and communicate with the audience. As we wanted the visitors to enjoy our artistic interpretation of hospitality to the utmost and stay with us as long as possible, many of the shows were free of charge or very moderately priced.


Find out more info on the festival homepage here.

By and with a.o.: A.PASS (BEL) // PEETER ÄNILANE (EST)/Pölva Brass Band // BEIDE MESSIES/Andreas Müller (DEU) & Bo Wiget (CHE) // Nino Bokan, Alice Chauchat, Pravdan Devlahović, Mihkel Ilus, Taavet Jansen, Jarmo Karing, Zvonimir Kvesić, Ivana Pavlović, Ivana Rončević, Nina Sakić (FRA/HRV/ EST) // ELKE VAN CAMPENHOUT (BEL) & ONG KENG SEN (SGP) // DEEPBLUE/Heine Røsdal Avdal (NOR/BEL) & Yukiko Shinozaki (JPN/BEL) // JUAN DOMINGUEZ (ESP/DEU) // KAJA KANN (EST) // PLAN B/Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers (GBR/DEU) // PME-ART/Jacob Wren (CAN) // ELEONORA & KALLE TIKAS (EST) // TOXIC DREAMS/Yosi Wanunu (ISR/AUT) & Michael Strohmann (AUT) // ANTON VIDOKLE (RUS/USA) // VIRU STAFF (EST) // And many more guests

Curated by Silke Bake & Peter Stamer; Presented by Kanuti Gildi Saal Tallinn;

Festival is part of the program of Tallinn – European Capital of Culture 2011.
Festival is hosted by: Sokos Hotel Viru / Supported by: Eesti Kultuurkapital, Hasartmängumaksu Nõukogu, Institut Français, Kuninglik Norra Saatkond Tallinnas, Briti Nõukogu, the Municipal Office for Education, Culture and Sports Zagreb, ProHelvetia, Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Kultuuriministeerium, Flaami Kultuuriministeerium jt.