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Dec. 3, 2018
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International Arts Festival Next held in four cities along the French-Belgian border (Nov. 8 – Dec. 1)
This contemporary performing arts festival was founded in 2008 under an initiative by six theaters scattered along the northeastern border of France and Belgium, the collaborating theaters are Lillefs Scene Nationale Lille Metropole - Villeneuve-dfAscq, Valenciennesf Espace Pasolini, the same cityfs Le Fenix Scene Nationale Valenciennes, Kortrijkfs Schouwburg, Kortrijkfs kunstencentrum BUDA, and Tournaifs Maison de la Culture de Tournai. Currently, the two co-artistic directors are Gilles Michiels and Marie-Cécile Cloître. In this multilingual region where people speaking French, Flemish and Walloon live together, the aim of this festival is to encourage coexistence rather than division by crossing boundaries to work together.
The program for this 11th holding of the festival presented 45 works that use artistic imagination to confront the explosive conflicts and wars occurring along various borders of our world. One of the prominent voices in the next-generation Spanish theatre landscape, El Conde del Torrefiel sits dozens of young European residents on the stage and gives physical expression to their individual everyday activities and meanwhile projects to the audience in subtitle form their sometimes shocking inner thoughts and emotions while involved in the seemingly peaceful activities. The Iranian trans-gender writer Sorour Darabi takes the fact that his/her native language Farsi makes no distinction on the basis of gender to take a new look at his/her own trans-gender physicality. Belgian director Sarah Vanhee creates a performance made with seven children between eight and eleven by posing them questions too complex for them to have any possibility of answering from their own experience, which forces them to resort to their imagination to create alternative logic in which there is place again for wonder. Among the other works presented are the work NASSIM, performed by Nassim Soleimanpour and Bush Theatre that also appeared in Japan at Festival/Tokyo.

Festival Outline
This is a contemporary performing arts festival founded in 2008. The festival is organized by six theaters with small-theater facilities in the four cities of Lille (France), Valenciennes (France), Kortrijk (Belgium) and Tournai (Belgium) scattered along the border of France and Belgium. Each year, NEXT invites approximately 30 contemporary theater and dance artists/groups active in and outside of Europe to create new works in residence. From there, the artists will tour their new works to about 20 theaters in and outside of Europe. Artists that have participated in this program until know include, Thomas Ostermeier (Germany), Guy Cassiers (Belgium), Jan Faber (Belgium), Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Akram Khan (UK), Oskaras Korsunovas (Lithuania), blitz theatre group (Greece), Frederick Gravel (Canada), Brokentalkers (USA), Pippo Delbono (Italy), Milo Rau (Switzerland/Germany), Chris Verdonck (Belgium) and others.
NEXT promotes “cross-border” experiments of all types (national borders, language, genre, discourse, etc.). Currently, the NEXT festival has grown to a scale of attracting audience of about 15,000 annually to its performances/events. It has also become an annual event that performing arts professionals around Europe are sure to attend.
+International Arts Festival NEXT