Antwerp Fringe Festival: Let’s do this every year!
Louise and Jolien, two Antwerp nieces, visited Antwerp Fringe Festival and absolutely loved it! They loved it so much they both wrote their findings in this blog. Enjoy!
After my research about Antwerp Fringe Festival I was very excited to finally see how a real Fringe performance looks like. So on Sunday I decided to go for a full day of Fringe. The sun was shining, the perfect weather for street performances. I ordered myself a local Seefbeer and got ready to be flabbergasted by a ton of performances.
Something magical happened when the performances started at Conscienceplein. The always noisy square got quiet and passers-by joined the public. It was really great to see the difference between the amount of spectators before and after the performances. All kinds of people watched together; children, old people, young hipsters and homeless people enjoyed the spectacle together. I was so glad to see that the real ‘fringe-ethos’ of bringing different people to theater worked. The only remark I had was the 30 minute break between every performance. Not all people waited for such a long time. Furthermore the organization of the festival was flawless! I like to give my compliments to the AF-team. Everything was perfectly organized, performances started on time and the Fringe-people helped you when needed.
My personal favorite of the day was the performance Life As It Should Be. In my opinion a piece of experience theater as it was meant to be. They used all kinds of emotions and senses to make the audience really feel the message. During the performance they managed to make me feel happy, relaxed, discorded, scared and awkward. This performance was really fringy like a realFringe would say.
When talking to Céline and Séverine, members of the Antwerp Fringe organization, I discovered they want to make Antwerp Fringe Festival an annual thing. I really hope they do. I really believe this festival can get bigger with more audience, more international performances and more fringe! I’m already looking forward to it.
My niece Louise invited me to the first Belgian edition of Fringe Festival, hosted in my home town Antwerp city. Since my weekends are a precious good – yes, I recently joined the working force- I don’t want to waste it on lame events. I was confident this wouldn’t be the case because of Louise’s quality control stamp.
When my Louise and I met at Conscienceplein we soon realized it was the heart of the festival. And rightly so because it is the home of the most beautiful church of Antwerp: the Carolus Borromeus church. In my opinion even the cathedral can’t match to this stunning building.
To be completely honest with you, I’ve never heard of Fringe Festival before. Louise filled me in though. The people organizing Antwerp Fringe didn’t advertise too much because they wanted to keep it as real as possible. This made the festival even more unique to me, therefore I was totally ready for take-off.
We got ourselves a drink in one hand and the program in the other, ready for the first performance of that day: Cause giving up was never the case by a young woman dancing as free as a bird.
After this performance we fell in love with these kind of short but powerful performances and watched as many acts as we could that day.
Smookwas a funny play for young kids about the cardboard kingdom that fought against the Kingdom of Fire and Concrete. It threw me back into childhood because I think I enjoyed the play as much as the surrounding kids.
Surprise Bazaar and Soma were a blessing for the eye, since none of the performers said a word during the acts. Ballonnenvrees was the opposite: five poets reading their work out loud.
I agree with Louise that Life as It Should Be was absolute highlight of the day. This performance took place in house nearby. We entered curiously but came out laughing. Congrats to the performers and director, you really got us in higher realms! This was the only play you had to pay a fee to get in. Antwerp Fringe is (mostly) a free festival. To support the artists you always have the opportunity to donate as much or as little as you want.
So lovely people, if you ever - EVER - get the chance to witness Antwerp Fringe Festival, be sure to attend it. (and don’t forget to stay during the half hour breaks so you get to see more than one performance). I am pretty sure that not a single passer-by just walked on. The performances draw your attention – whether you were planning on coming to this festival or not.
text by Louise and Jolien
Pics by Louise and Jolien except for the banner (c) Antwerp Fringe Festival
except for the banner