HCA NEWS The Aarhus Festival presents extensive Andersen programme

At a press conference on 12 April hosted at Musikhuset Aarhus, Secretary General of the Aarhus Festival, Martin Lumbye, presented the international stage performance programme to be featured at Musikhuset Aarhus as part of the Aarhus Festival held between late August and early September this year. According to Martin Lumbye, the programme is the best and most costly ever.

By Jakob Steen Olsen - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 13 April 2005

The opening of the Aarhus Festival on 26 August will feature the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe from China in their grand performance entitled "The Beautiful Legend". Approximately 50 Chinese acrobats and circus artists will render Andersen's fairytales as spectacular, daredevil acts. The troupe was most recently featured at the grand opening show of the Andersen bicentenary in Copenhagen on 2 April where they gave us a taste of their amazing talent.

The festival furthermore features the Belgian dramatist Jan Fabre's "History of Tears", which reflects the many tears featured throughout Andersen's oeuvre. Prior to the performance in Aarhus, the play will have opened Europe's largest theatre festival on 8 July at Cour d'honneur in the Papal Palace in Avignon, France.

Tiger Lillies from England will stage their grotesque cabarets noir based on the Andersen fairytale "The Little Match Girl".
And finally, the performance "My Life as a Fairytale" will be staged by the Chinese-American theatre director Chen Shi-Zheng which will have premiered at the Lincoln Center in New York shortly before. The performance is a musical fantasia of Andersen's life and work with original score and lyrics by the American composer Stephen Merritt from the famous group "The Magnetic Fields". The cast will feature the American movie star Blair Brown and one of the great ladies of English theatre, Fiona Shaw, (featured in the Harry Potter films) as Andersen himself.

Martin Lumnbye states: "Thanks to the collaboration with Musikhuset and not least the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation we are able to present the most costly and best international programme ever. The price is DKK 25 million, and this will probably be the only time I as Secretary General will be allocated that kind of money to bring top international performers to town."

The performances, which will be very different in style and will represent three different continents, have been created with sponsorship by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation - generally as international co-productions involving other festivals and theatres as co-sponsors.

This year the Aarhus Festival, which will close on 4 September, celebrates the Andersen bicentenary with the theme: "The Fairytale of my Life". The festival will also reflect other aspects of the fairytale theme. The complete programme for the Aarhus Festival will be presented at a press conference early this summer.

Read more about the Aarhus Festival Hans Christian Andersen Programme at www.aarhusfestuge.dk.