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Dec. 12, 2019
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International Arts Festival NEXT held in four cities along the French-Belgian border (Nov. 14 – Dec. 7, 2019)
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’s Scene Nationale Lille Metropole - Villeneuve-d’Ascq, Valenciennes’ Espace Pasolini, the same city’s Le Fenix Scene Nationale Valenciennes, Kortrijk’s Schouwburg, Kortrijk’s kunstencentrum BUDA, and Tournai’s Maison de la Culture de Tournai. Currently, the two co-artistic directors are Gilles Michiels and Marie-Cécile Cloî tre. 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 2019 festival focused particularly on the Catalonia region of Spain, introducing numerous Catalonian artists. Along these artists, director, performer and film director Cris Blanco is known for bringing digital technology to works born on his science-fiction type imagination; choreographer Cuqui Jerez attempts to straddle the borderline between reality and fiction with his unique physicality; the Belgian-based Spanish choreographer Olga de Soto; and the artistic duo of choreographer Guillem Mont de Palol and multidisciplinary artist Jorge Dutor present a bold reinterpretation of the Bizet opera Carmen.
Other works on the program include the work Multitud by choreographer Tamara Cubas, who was born under the military dictatorship in Uruguay, which examines the possibility of resistance and the power of diversity within a group; the work Orestes in Mosul, is a contemporary version of the old tragedy Orestes created by the high-profile director Milo Rau, who travelled to Mosul in northeastern Iraq, where ISIS proclaimed the caliphate, to perform it with Belgian and Iraqi actors. Also programed is Tijuana, a documentary style production by the Mexican company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol based on the experiences of exploited workers who participated in a U.S. corporate project in the town of Tijuana near the U.S. border at extremely low wages.

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 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.
+International Arts Festival NEXT