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A dozen groups perform at English theatre festival
Mersch

A dozen groups perform at English theatre festival

by Sarita RAO 2 min. 19.05.2022
FEATS returns to Luxembourg after a two-year absence with 12 very different short plays under the banner 'Changing Times'
English Youth Theatre Brussels will be performing "Boom" at the Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies or FEATS
English Youth Theatre Brussels will be performing "Boom" at the Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies or FEATS
Photo credit: FEATS

The annual Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies (FEATS) will take place from Thursday 26 May to Sunday 29 May, for the first time since 2019. Twelve amateur acting groups will perform three very different shows each night, plus there will be a host of free afternoon fringe activities and workshops at Mierscher Kulturhaus in Mersch.

The line-up includes groups from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. In fact, this year’s festival had the largest number of acting groups applying to participate, including ones from Denmark, Austria and Serbia, said festival co-ordinator John Brigg. Unfortunately, Covid cases meant some groups were unable to come to Luxembourg to perform.

Changing times

After an absence of two years, the banner headline for FEATS is 'Changing Times'. Brigg uses a ship analogy to explain the changing nature of the festival, which has seen Britain leave the EU, a worldwide pandemic, and on a different level, found old amateur acting groups disbanding whilst new ones have formed. “The times around us are changing, and I believe FEATS must likewise evolve in order to continue,” said Brigg.

FEATS has taken place annually since 1976 (the pandemic years excluded), but this year will be the first time the festival has not been run as a competition.

“We feel appreciation of theatrical quality should not be graded by giving marks according to set criteria,” said Brigg. A professional evaluator will also asses the performances at the end of each night.

ACTS from Stuttgart will perform the tragicomedy "Lane 147"
ACTS from Stuttgart will perform the tragicomedy "Lane 147"
Photo: FEATS

Audiences will be treated to a variety of styles and types of play, each lasting between 20 to 50 minutes, with a surprise promised on the final night.

Brigg is intrigued to see ACTS from Stuttgart, who will perform "Lane 147", a tragicomedy based on a true refugee story, on the first night. He is also looking forward to the Irish Theatre Group Brussel’s performance of Bernard Shaw’s “Augustus does his bit” which is about incompetence in government.

“Saturday should open with a bang when the English Youth Theatre Brussels performs Boom, and Sunday will finish with a fascinating piece which combines a contemporary writer with a well-known one from 400 years ago, both struggling in the midst of a pandemic,” said Brigg.

FEATS wants to promote greater audience engagement, and instead of a traditional theatre where the stage is raised and the audience divided from the actors by a curtain, the aim is for a collective experience “made more real by breaking down barriers between the audience and actors, as many contemporary theatres attempt to do”, Briggs said.

Free fringe events

The afternoon fringe events offer a less structured programme. Taking place in the garden of the Servais House or the café at Mierscher Kulturhaus, these events are free, based on a first-come, first-seated basis, apart from the workshops which must be reserved. 

“There’s a real mixture on offer, from performances of poetry and light-hearted comedy, to more poignant pieces,” said Briggs.

There will be three performances each night, divided by a 20 minute interval, and the evening will be rounded off with a professional appraisal of the performances. 

You can book tickets and find a full list of plays and performing groups here.


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