New Nordics Festival Director Camilla Gürtler talks about the event taking place at Jacksons Lane

Founder of Cut the Cord, a company committed to establishing an enriching theatrical partnership between the Nordic and UK theatre scene, Camilla Gürtler continues on with this mission with the latest edition of the New Nordics Festival, a five day celebration of live and digital contemporary works from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Set to take place at Jacksons Lane Theatre from the 12th to the 16th October, Camilla tells us more about creating this important platform for creatives, her hopes for the festival and what to expect from the event!

Hi Camilla, the New Nordics Festival will take place at Jacksons Lane Theatre from the 12th to the 16th October. How are you feeling ahead of the festival?

I’m feeling a mixture excitement and amazement – we had to cancel the festival so abruptly last year because of the pandemic, that it feels like such a wonderful opportunity to be able to revisit it. So many people have poured so much love into this festival, so it feels like a huge moment being able to finally bring everyone together and celebrate these plays, the international connections and collaborations between all these artists and countries involved. We can’t wait to share it with audiences both live at Jacksons Lane, and online from all over the world!

The New Nordics Festival is a five-day celebration of live and digital contemporary works from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It’ll showcase the diversity of theatre, artists and culture across Nordic countries. What does it mean to be able to continue providing this important platform?

We are of course facing challenges with international collaborations and exchanges because of the pandemic and Brexit, so it feels more important than ever to ensure we keep making this kind of work. More long-term, it’s so important we continue to provide platforms for artists to exchange ideas and practices across borders, particularly emerging artists. Something new and exciting happens when artists from different countries dip their toes in each other’s worlds, so we’re excited to showcase the fruits of these investigations of Nordic plays by UK artists.

The festival consists of six shows that will each be shown on one of the evenings. How have you approached curating the line-up?

We spent almost a year travelling across the Nordic countries back in 2019 to meet the artists and organisations making contemporary theatre, to understand the different cultures and theatre practices, and from that we created a line-up that both reflects the many different voices and perspectives of Nordic theatre and culture, but also speaks to universal themes we’ll recognise in the UK. Once we had created the programme for the festival, we chose 6 directors who we thought matched that particular play, style or writer – and then we sent them off to the country of their play to network, watch theatre and get to know the place and culture of origin. It was important to us from the beginning that this was both a festival with a rich and exciting programme – but also a platform for emerging artists to experience new ways of making theatre and explore the benefits of international collaborations.

What are your hopes for the festival?

I hope it will bring people together to celebrate our international peers and joint experiences after the year we’ve all had. I hope it will inspire theatres and artists in the UK to seek more international theatre and opportunities and look to the Nordics more – and vice versa. I hope this festival sows a seed for future platforms and opportunities for emerging to mid-career artists to work internationally, and that it shows the possibilities and benefits of artists connecting across borders.

What can audiences expect from the festival?

They can expect a festival that is eclectic, that showcases exciting new national and international talent. We have shows about climate change, fir trees, garages, loneliness, cows… and IKEA.The plays are funny, dark and explosive, each giving a glimpse of the countries they come from. We present a play from each of the Nordic countries, so audiences can expect to see a very diverse Nordic region represented. Each of the plays bring something unique from their country in their own way, so as a whole the festival gives a glimpse of a lot of different cultures.

The festival has both productions and staged readings, talks and workshops, and each play is directed by a UK-based director, so you also get to experience what happens in this cultural meeting and exchange.

All performances are also live streamed, and include a Q&A with the writer, so you can join us from wherever you are in the world!

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

New Nordics Festival will take place from Tuesday 12th until Saturday 16th October 2021 at Jacksons Lane. To find out more about the festival, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop