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10th. “International Festival of Theater for Amateurs” of Namur. #namur #belgium #culture

We all know delicious Belgian chocolate… Well, there are other tastes to savor: the intense moments of the theatre we love. This year, made in Denmark, Hong-Kong/China, Italy, Ivory Coast, Lithuania… Just to whet your appetite, from August 19th. untill 22d., in Namur, with the 10th. “International Festival of Theater for Amateurs” … wrote Marie-Noëlle Vandermensbrugghe, Coordinator of the Festival.

On August 19th., at 08:30 p.m., to open the Festival, in the “Cultural House of the Province of Namur”, we will start with the “Arlekinas Theater”, from Lithuania, showing: “The Puppet-Master” (60 min./staged by Tatjana Timko): “Dzholozo directs a puppet theatre that does not work very well. It turns out that this jealous and angry man is better at manipulating humans than puppets”. This show will be followed by a presentation of all companies.

"The Puppet-Master" (Lithuania)

“The Puppet-Master”

On August 2Oth., at 08:30 p.m., at the same place, Denmark will be on stage, with three theater companies: “Muzak”, Mars” and  “Flow Madness” working togheter to present: “Time is the Space between us” (60 min./staged by Line Nordentoft and Mads B. Aastrup): “A group of performers – musicians, singers, artists – unite in order to create a world and images that talk about and question young people’s relationship with a time that makes us go ever faster”.

On August 21st., at 08:00 p.m., in the “Studio” from the “Royal Theater”, Hong-Kong/China will follow, with the “Silent Theater”, showing: “The Monkey Paw” (one mime’s performance gived by performers who are deaf mute) from W.W. Jacobs (45 min./staged by Edward Chan): “A family friend tells the terrible secret of a monkey’s foot that he acquired by accident during a journey in India”.

"The Monkey Paw" (Hong-Kong/China)

“The Monkey Paw”

Also on August 21st., at 09:30 p.m., back in the “Cultural House”, Italy, with “Avanzi Di Scena” presenting: “The Italian Movie Factory” (60 min./staged by Francesco Angeloni, with a choreography from Laura Farina): “A dive into Italian cinema and the “Cinecitta” studio: Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, …, with extracts from films and choreographed scenes by actors who create stories, images, and dreams on stage”.

Fifth and last international company, the “Atelier Deakom”, from Ivory Coast, will show, on August 22d., at 02:00 p.m., in the same theater room: “La Rupture” (“The Breakdown”/50 min./staged by Vagba Obou De Sales): “In his quest for Eldorado, Fredy, an actor, decides to go away in order to have a better life. His wife does all she can to prevent him leaving”…

Now if we have 5 foreign companies, who wille be received by the Governor and some Provincial Deputies in their Palace, you have to know that 73 companies, from 38 countries, asked to participate, sending one file with some audiovisual support. So, companies from Algeria, Brazil, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Iran, Israël, Morocco, Senegal (at least one Senegalese stage director is already in Namur to learn about the work of al these companies), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Togo and Tunisia were candidates. The most important criteria to be selected was: to have a sufficient visual appearance, without any languages problems, to be understand by everyone. Also: the need to ensure a programming diversity, with a 60 minutes’ time limit for each show, without to forget, of course, the good quality of the staging and of the acting.

From Belgium, 11 companies will be on stage, 4 for a regular performance, and 6, from Namur only, in 2 different shows of 60 minutes presenting two times, each one, on August 20th. and on August 22d., at 05:00 and 08:00 p.m., at the “Poetry House”, 3 short plays of 20 minutes, from 3 different companies. The 11th. company, “Le Collectif les Hystériques”, from Namur also, will present 4 times, in front of 12 people only, at the “Poetry House”, on August 21st., at 04:30, 05:15, 06:00 and 06:45 p.m.: “Le Passage des Murmures” (“The Whispers’ Passage”/20 min./staged by Nora Touati, with a scenography of Catherine Syben): “Four women, four archetypes, four imprisonments, four desires. A witch, an artist, a wise woman, a mystic… for one and the same destiny”.

Now if the international companies from Africa, Asia and Europe are showing performances without real text, for the Belgian companies the language will be the french, but, often, the action is quite enough visual to be understood by everyone. So, here comes the presentation of the 4 main performances from Belgium:

  • From Namur, on August 20th., at 05:00 and 08 p.m., at the “Studio” from the “Royal Theater”, “Le Défi” presents: “Cet Enfant …” (“This Chid …”/from Joël Pommerat/50 min./staged by Bernard Antoine, with a music from Vincent Antoine): “A series of short scenes about the parent-child relationship. Without making any moral judgment, they question the social norm of an impossible ideal of family happiness”.
  • From Namur also, on August 21st., at 08:00 p.m., at the “House of Poetry”, the “Tap’s” presents: “Paroles de Poilus” (“Words of French Soldiers”/60 min./staged by Philippe Vauchel): “A war, the 14-18 war. Letters, eyewitness accounts, lives… Love, duty, hopes… Horror, absurdities, death… Whispering softly… about the human condition”.
  • From Brussels, on August 22d., at 05:00 and 08:00 p.m., at the “Studio” from the “Royal Theater”, “Mosaïc” presents: “Utopie” (“Utopia”/60 min./staged by Nenad Demirovski): “A mosaic of everyday life, a series of short scenes…sensations, emotions” …
  • From Anseremme, on August 22d., at 09:30 p.m., to close the Festival, at the “Cultural House”, the “Compagnie du Rocher Bayard” presents: “Regardez mais ne touchez pas” (“Look but don’t touch”/from Theophile Gautier and Bernard Lopez/80 min./staged by Bruno Mathelart): “The Queen of Spain’s horse has run away. It must be saved ! So follows: races, chases, fights and duels” … One authentic “cape and sword” play who won, this year, the “Royal Trophy”, chosed by one professional jury, and the “Audience Award”, organised by the “Wallonia-Brussels Federation”. Certainly, a play to be seen! …
"Paroles de Poilus" © Geoffray Godfurnon

“Paroles de Poilus”
© Geoffray Godfurnon

Speaking about professional of amateurs, like Geneviève Lazaron, Provincial Deputy for the Culture, wrote: “… being one amateur will not say that you are less than a professional, not at all! One amateur gives the maximum of himself, not to be paid, but to develop his skills with a lot of exigeance and motivation. In the amateurs’ companies you find as well teenagers and seniors citizens, all of them having a vision of culture for everyone”.

Especially for the “House of Poetry” (“Maison de la Poésie”) and the “Studio” of the “Royal Theater” (“Théâtre Royal”), two small theater rooms, it is absolutely necessary to book your places by sending a message to or to call to 00.32/81/77.78.09, till August 17th., or to 00.32/81/77.67.73, starting on August 18th. Your tickets will wait for your at the Festival Center, at the desk of the “Cultural House of the Namur Province” (“Maison de la Culture de la Province de Namur”).

Only one “pass” is sold at 10€ (0€ till 11 years old included), giving you the opportunity to see all the shows you like; So, this is not possible to buy a cheaper ticket for only one show. The price is than the same to see one show or 5 or more! That’s a really good opportunity to compare the work of companies from different countries and to meet actors or stages directors right after their performance, in a real friendliness’ spirit. More details on this pleasant Festival can be found on this link:, clicking on the word “programme”.

… And if you take part of this 10th. “International Festival of Theater for Amateurs”, make sure to discover one interesting exhibition at the first floor of the “Cultural House of the Namur Province”, where the paintings of Félicien Rops (1833-1898) are in a dialogue with the sculptures of Jan Fabre (°1958). With your exhibition’s ticket, you have access to the visit, with a free english speaking’s audio-guide, of the “Felicien Rops’ Museum”, where all the rooms and the garden are showing, till August 30th., the works of these two Belgian artists, one, Rops, from Namur, and the other one, Fabre, from Antwerps. Also as part of this great artistic event: “Facing Time Rops/Fabre” (www.rops/, you will discover some impressive sculptures of Jan Fabre on the Citadel (2), in the catholic church of St.-Loup (3), on the terraces of the “Royal Theater” and of the “Governor’s Palace, as well as in the garden of the City Hall. So, don’t miss to come to Namur, capital of  Wallonia, during this Festival!

Yves Calbert.


1 Comment on 10th. “International Festival of Theater for Amateurs” of Namur. #namur #belgium #culture

  1. Nos courriels se sont croisées! Merci à toi, qui “tire (ou publie) plus vite que ton ombre”, comme notre cher “Lucky Luke”! Nos autorités provinciales namuroises vont être ravies!

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