Spanish and UK companies triumph at theatre festival

By on 12/07/2011 in Culture

Birmingham European Festival, which closed on Sunday after a week of more than 30 performances, workshops and events, has announced Spanish Company 'Sleepwalk Collective' as the winner of the festival's coveted development prize.

The recently formed company, which presented the stunningly evocative solo As the flames rose we danced to the sirens, the sirens, performed alongside 19 other companies, all chosen from more than 250 applications earlier this year.  They will receive a grant of £1500 from BE Festival, plus an artists' residency at the mac.  They will also be invited to return to the city next year to open BE Festival 2012.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican and BE Festival Judge said: “Sleepwalk Collective's show was simply extraordinary - I have never seen anything like it on stage before. It was completely unique, surprising, captivating and intensely moving, I was thrilled to have experienced something so special and I can't wait to see how the company will progress as a result of the BE Festival Development Prize.”

Iara Solano Arana and Sammy Metcalfe from Sleepwalk Collective said: “This prize is an incredible opportunity for us and gives us a real connection for our future.  We feel there is a definite mutual commitment, a long-term relationship so to speak, with both BE Festival and with Birmingham as a city, and we are very excited about where this award will take us!”

Second place went to Birmingham-based Kindle Theatre who received the Touring Prize, which will see them take their new piece The Furies: A dirty girl band to the ACT Festival in Bilbao next year.  The prizes were awarded by Birmingham's favourite superstar housewife, Mrs Barbara Nice.

A group of local Birmingham youngsters also got the chance to perform alongside the international artists following a series of workshops with leading directors Yuan Ayala (Spain) and Troels Hagen Findsen (Denmark).  They created a new piece of theatre exploring the boundaries and regulations present in their lives, and the choices they make in either sticking to, or breaking these rules.

But it's not all over just yet - one performer from each company has been selected to remain in the city for another week to create a brand new piece of theatre, to be performed at BE Mix on Friday 15 July at the mac.

BE Festival aims to create an audience experience that goes far beyond the usual night at the theatre, even inviting them to join the performers for a sit-down dinner during the interval.  Engagement, participation and debate are key to the festival´s ethos, along with presenting an eclectic mix of the most exciting dance and theatre pieces from across the continent.  For more information go to
BE Festival 2011 has been supported by Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, the International Young Makers Exchange, Stan’s Cafe, mac, DanceXchange, the REP, the Sir Barry Jackson Foundation and Birmingham School of Acting.
Media contact:         
Emily Malcolm, 07967 359 749,

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