NU Performance Festival: On Hospitality takes over Sokos Hotel Viru in Tallinn

In the light of the festivities of Tallinn 2011, the curators Silke Bake and Peter Stamer have selected and commissioned work by internationally acclaimed theatre makers and performers which revolves around the notion and practice of hospitality.

"In times where Europe closes its frontiers, where social or ethnic minorities are treated as outcast foreigners, where the other has to assimilate to prevalent codes, where the arts appear to be superfluous in the face of multiple crisis, the question of hospitality gains some importance. What does it mean to be a host, to be a guest? What is the performance of hospitality? What are its gestures in the arts and in society? And how to share togetherness? Yet we are not looking for answers to be made in manifestos, pamphlets, or treatises. We are rather interested in the small gestures that take place in social situations, in the immediate exchange of practices, actions, in the mutuality of togetherness. The festival attempts to provide a field where some of these questions gain shape, can be tested in practice. Thus, we want 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 use to call stage and theatre," say the curators.
The Sokos Hotel VIRU and its changeful history seem to offer a promising stage for the idea to deal with and, after all, perform hospitality. After attending the hotel’s KGB-tour the curators understood once more that hospitality is perverted if it is abused by the arbitrariness of one ruling party or subject to an elite of whatever kind. Hospitality instead is ‚unconditional’, as the philosophers put it, the ultimate gesture of mutuality. It’s only subject to the unbound interest in the other, in the one who is not me. "We are happy that the hotel management is interested in our adventure and provides us with the VIRU as proper environment for our festival on hospitality."
The range of the programme includes ready-made pieces, situations, interventions, performative hubs, guided tours, or performance commissions tailor-made for the festival. The artists integrate the given environment into their projects and thus intertwine different concepts of theatricality and the social, of the real and the envisioned, of guest and host. But first and foremost their artistic playfulness is the key to open the door to exchange and communication with you! Since we want you to enjoy our artistic interpretation of hospitality to the utmost and stay with us as long as possible a lot of shows are free of admission or very moderately priced. Well, come then! Welcome to NU performance festival 2011!

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