Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Something for everyone

This year’s Taipei Arts Festival, under the guidance of Singaporean artistic director Tang Fu Kuen, offers a dizzying array of performances, talks, workshops and forums, more than 30 events in all

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Multi-media artist Chou Tung-yen has teamed up with the Very Theatre and Denmark’s The Culture Yard to present Chronicle of a Year of Light at the Experimental Theater at the Taipei National University of the Arts from Friday next week to Aug. 18 as part of the Taipei Arts Festival.

Photo Courtesy of Taipei Arts Festival

The Taipei Arts Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and to mark the milestone the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs and Taipei Culture Foundation decided to expand the size and scope of its arts extravaganza by joining forces with the Taipei Children’s Arts Festival and the Taipei Fringe Festival to ensure there will truly be something for everyone.

It is also an extra-long Taipei Arts Festival year, opening on Wednesday next week and running through Oct. 21. As usual, events will be taking place citywide, ranging from Zhongshan and Metropolitan Halls, to the Wellspring Theater and the campus of the Taipei National University of the Arts.

The staff of the Taipei Performing Arts Center, whose long-awaited home in Shilin District (士林) is still under construction, were tasked with organizing this year’s festival.

One of the first decisions center director Austin Wang (王孟超) made was to ask in May 2016 Singaporean Tang Fu Kuen (鄧富權), a well-known dramaturge, curator and producer who has made a name for himself curating dance and performing art works in Europe and around Asia, to be the festival’s artistic director.

Wang thought that Tang’s Southeast Asian connections and networking skills would be invaluable, while he was familiar with Chinese culture.

Tang, who worked with Taiwanese dancer/choreographer Chen Wu-kang (陳武康) and Thai dancer Pichet Klunchun on their controversial show Behalf (半身相), seen in May at the Cloud Gate Theater, did not say yes right away, since the job would mean moving from Bangkok, where he had lived for about a decade.

He made four study trips to Taipei before agreeing at the beginning of last year to accept the position and a three-year contract. He told a news conference last year when his position was announced that one of his goals was to get young artists from Taiwan and Southeast Asia talking to one another.

Tang’s theme for this year’s festival is “Assembly,” and he has certainly pulled together a wide array of performances, workshops, lectures that cross both cultural and artistic boundaries.

There are more 30 events in all, grouped under headings ranging from music, dance and theater, to critics’ list, artist list and the Think Bar. However, the festival’s Web site notes that the performances are not intended for family audiences. It says children younger than seven are not allowed, and those under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Despite that admonition, there are at least two shows that are family friendly, and one that says it is suitable for those six-years of age and up: the Ting-Koo-Ki Juggling Battle! (釘孤枝雜耍擂台) from Hsingho Co (星合有限公司), founded by former Cirque du Soleil performer Chen Hsing-ho (陳星合), on Sept. 9 at Zhongshan Hall.

There is not enough space in this story to cover all the events, and in any case, the festival has an excellent Web site detailing everything from the events, to the artists and special offers to ticketing links (www.artsfestival.taipei/Schedule.aspx?FWebID=39).

However, one of the highlights is sure to be the long-awaited new show by dancer-choreographer Huang Yi (黃翊), Under the Horizon, a collaboration with Japanese audiovisual artist Ryoichi Kurokawa and the Nederlands Kamerkoor.

Inspired by the global refugee crisis, the show explores the frontier between life and the hereafter and the search for hope and a home.

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