Circus has arrived! Interview with Mārtiņš Ķibers
Old idea finally accomplished
„We thought a lot about the idea of mixing street art and theatre into one event. It fascinated me and my friends. We have been to similar events abroad, so we figured out it catches with some new, democratic professional art vibes. It's close to people. It does not need words to express fully, so there is no ”niche" barrier related to language use.
The whole story is about a human's ability. How much everyone can create things and ideas and do it the simpliest possible way."
At first, an idea came up to organize the festival at the market square in order to explore the aesthetics of this place. „Umurkumurs would be a decent analogy. It happened during the 1780ies in Riga and Latvia, these were hunger times. Food was put into bag and brought up on a long pole. Therefore, people had to climb up in order to get the food. Also Aleksandrs Čaks has mentioned it in his poetry.” While studying the structure of the market, idea authors concluded: if foreigners find the market exotic, locals come here to buy some tomatoes, cucumbers and other things they need.
„We found out that ”Dirty Deal Teatro„ used to have their shows at the market square. Still, we thought the festival cannot be held in there. So, we ended up with Opera Square, ”Esplanāde 2014„ and AB Dambis (”AB Pier„), a beautiful, fascinating place in the middle of Riga. Basically it's a park that is not used very often. Though, the taste of game, it's there. We found it suitable for our festival.” Everything went well when a partner, „Re&Re” construction company, helped, they had made renovation works at AB Dambis and built „Betanovuss” gallery. So, we have three playgrounds now: AB Dambis, Opera Square where mainly street circus shows will go on, and „Esplanāde” will cover music and dance events.
Music is the bridge that unites
Ķibers feels the strongest in music scene, but he also notes that street theatre and circus are pretty much recognized genres in Latvia. „Indeed, those genres are poorly developed, but The New Theatre Institute used to cover this scene, also British Council did their work ten years ago when they organized new circus shows. It was at AB Dambis as far as I remember,” tells Ķibers also noting that it gave a serious impulse to organize the festival. „Still, new circus is a fresh thing: we had to add up something that people could understand. Then the idea of world music scene came up.” Ķibers feels quite familiar with this music. He produced music during the 1990ies while curating independent music radio programme „Casablanca 2000”.
„I have studied this music, it interests me. Besides, we thought it would be the bridge that unites theatre and circus.”
”We have popular music festivals, but we wanted to bring those musicians who represent their styles. That's why we have musicians from Great Britain, Marocco, two Russian bands..„ counts Ķibers also adding that world music sets a great example how to unite people in the globalisation era. ”All musicians who perform in Riga have gained achievements in their genre. We also were aware of what the experts said. All genres will be included: Balkans, French chanson, Arab rhythms, Africam drums, Azerbaijani singing, folk music. Speaking in music langue, it's called „roots music” coming from its origins.
Nearly a world map
Other, no less significant, part of the festival is new circus. „The name originated from the 1950ies. This circus does not require arena, because artists can perform on a street,” explains Ķibers telling that a special stage will be built in both places, Opera Square and AB Dambis. Besides, acrobats will need special equipment, like the swing. „The compere usually announces the next artist, then the show continues. New circus has a point, the show is no more than one hour long. Of course, there are traditional circus disciplines such as power acrobatics, gymnastics, jugglery..Besides, all street art circus artists are educated in this field and earn a living with their job.”
He also mentions that new circus will be represented by those countries where this scene has great achievements: France, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway. „We are working with Scandinavia where new circus has gained great audience, festivals are being organized, an education in this field is available thanks to the government support,” tells Ķibers adding that also a cross-country combination will perform with the jugglery show in Riga where Finnish and American artists work together.
„Nearly a world map will be represented during these three days!”
Ķibers notes that people may attend all three festival venues. They can watch the concert at „Esplanāde”, then attend Opera Square or AB Dambis. All places will have informative objects with a map and festival programme, but AB Dambis will offer a newly-built city, shortly described as: „Circus has arrived!” Also 16 metres high fire tower will be lit on the evening of Thursday showing the way to the main festival area. „Everything is within a distance of two kilometres, so you can easily walk from one place to another, I'm not even speaking about cycling!”
Everyone! AB Dambis on Sunday!
When answering thw question if Riga and its inhabitants are ready for the festival, Ķibers says: „Of course! This festival is for everyone, children, adults who might find something interesting. Besides, the entrance is free of charge, it's also important to know. It's something that attracts pretty much everyone.” Festival organizer also emphasizes that this year is a general rehearsal before the next year's event, but it doesn't mean that this year's festival will be less splendid. "For now, we will see what we have to bear in mind for the future events. Besides, we wish to develop the concept of leaving Sundays to children's activities. So, lots of things will be held at AB Dambis. In there, games and activities complex is available, circus school for children with various activities and attractions. Meantime, activities will go at the circus and music stages.
"I don't think there will be so many people coming to AB Dambis on Sunday, so everyone will get a place. Even if there are lots of folks, AB Dambis is large enough.
On the evening of Saturday at 23.00, French new circus show will be held at AB Dambis, that one Ķibers particularly suggests to see. „The whole show is about human's abilities, it's fun and it's visually beautiful.” Also it's worth seeing „Electric Jalaba” (UK) concert at Esplanade and AB Dambis. Whole Sunday should be spent at AB Dambis. New circus shows will start at Opera Square on the evenings of Friday and Saturday at 21.00. That would be something splendid. „I promise that weather will be great. So, you should really dedicate the weekend to Riga city,” invites Ķibers.