A female duo will head the artistic direction of the Festival TransAmériques from the summer of 2021. This will be a first in the history of this creative event, which brings together dance and theater.
Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill had applied together to replace artistic director Martin Faucher, who will leave at the end of the 15e edition, which will take place from May 26 to June 10. An edition that will be presented in a formula that remains to be determined due to the pandemic.
Artistic direction for two is not a common practice in Quebec, but is increasingly so internationally.
The two women have known each other for a few years. They have become friends and see each other regularly at festivals all over the world.
“We had the desire, in recent years, to apply somewhere,” said Martine Dennewald during an interview via the Zoom platform.
The South-North axis
Martine Dennewald was, between 2015 and 2020, artistic director of the Theaterformen Festival, in Germany. Jessie Mill was, since 2014, playwright and artistic advisor at the Festival TransAmériques.
“[Notre intention], as a slightly younger direction, will be presenting new artists and voices that, perhaps, have not yet been heard. There is a trend where artistic directors often work with artists of their own generation, ”said Martine Dennewald.
Jessie Mill also specifies an intention to reactivate a conversation with the artistic communities of three Americas.
“We want to get out of Europe’s main canals a little more. We would even like to reactivate what was specific to the first editions of the Festival de théâtre des Amériques, ie circulation in the three Americas. Go from closer to work a South-North axis, more than the East-West axis, which has been very visited during the last editions ”, she explained.
The programming of a festival is an operation that needs to be prepared for the long term. The 16e edition, which will be presented in 2022, will arrive very quickly, with a pandemic which limits, on a planetary scale, the presentation of shows.
“There are still countries where there are shows and festivals that are presented. We saw some, Martine and I, in the fall. We also consumed virtual proposals and had access to recordings of projects in development. There are also artists that we have followed for years, whose work we have seen online and that we could consider inviting. Our basket is not empty. We have a lot of things on our mind, ”said Jessie Mill.