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Liège Festival showcases theatre from around the world

Jan 26, 2017
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If you are a theatre fan then now is the time to visit Liège for a very international festival

The 16th edition of the Liège Festival - which gets under way this weekend - brings together an international array of theatre to create a festival where a multiplicity of points of view abound.

The festival features works and performers from Chile, the United States, Bolivia, Italy, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Lebanon, France and Belgium - and not only to Liège but also with some performances in Brussels, Mons, Charleroi, Namur and Herve.

"We think that theatre can recount and reinvent the world, shake up consciousnesses, roll back borders, change how we see things and reflect the important questions of our time," says festival director Jean-Louis Colinet.

From the US, there is Portrait of Myself as My Father by Zimbabwe-born and New York-based Nora Chipaumire, who Dance magazine proclaimed "a rock star of the New York dance scene with an enormous talent that blows everything else away". It is a two-person performance with the added complication that they are strapped together.

From Chile, theatre troupe Le Re-Sentida presents La Dictatura de lo Cool. This young, exuberant company is on its third visit to Liège and are a crowd favourite because of their explosive, joyful productions, even when delving into serious topics: in this case, the leftist bourgeois élite and the fundamental contradiction between their lifestyle and their political stances.

Teatr Trans-Atlantyk, a Polish troupe with an American director, recreates through improvisation a series of unique photos taken of the daily life of the officers and administrators at Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and collected by SS officer Karl Höcker.

Forget your childhood memories of Pinocchio, especially the Disney ones. From France comes a version, based on Carlo Collodi's original story, which gives us a little wooden boy with very bad habits and proclivities. Prey to the attractions of easy money and consumerism as spectacle, he is only allergic to going to school. Organisers describe the show as "a beautiful spectacle that will shake you to your core".

Factory is the name given to the festival's showcase of emerging talent - 10 performances by up-and-coming theatre artists of all descriptions, all available for one inexpensive pass. And finally there is a roster of three film documentaries concerned with children born of war in Rwanda, the testimony of migrants in refugee centres and the resurgence of the cultivation of almost forgotten types of grain.

Festival de Liège, 27 January-18 February, various venues

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