Thu, Sep 27, 2018 - Page 14 News List

An Oktoberfest of arts

The Kuandu Arts Festival marks its 26th year with an extravaganza of dance, theater, music and more at the Taipei National University of the Arts

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Kaiserkleider, choreographer-dancer Henrietta Horn’s collaboration with Frank Schulte and Reinhard Hubert will be performed on Saturday and Sunday next week as part of the Kuandu Arts Festival.

Photo courtesy of Ursula Kaufmann

The Kuandu Arts Festival (KAF, 關渡藝術節邁), the annual October celebration of the performing arts hosted by the Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學), opens tomorrow with In Our Distance, There Is No Sorrow (我並不哀傷,是因為你離我很遠), a split theater performance that is also part of the Taipei Arts Festival.

The Kuandu festival is marking its 26th year with a program covering dance, drama, music, film, animation and new media, and more than two score of performances on the schedule by groups from Taiwan and abroad, including several collaborations between artists from Europe, Japan, Thailand and elsewhere in Asia, as well as several schools.

There is actually too much for just one month, so KuanDu International Animation Festival (KDIAF) and the Kuan Du Light Art Festival extend the fun into November.


The opening show, In Our Distance, There Is No Sorrow, encapsulates the festival’s collaborative, cooperative approach. It is a production by Japanese playwright-director Yukio Shiba, and two Taiwanese troupes, Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group (莎士比亞的妹妹們的劇團) and Representation Theatre (再現劇團).

The physical and artistic challenges taken up by the production team have been immense as the show is actually two separate performances that will take place simultaneously at the TNUA’s Experimental Theater and Dance Theater.

The two venues are separated by an open courtyard, the split serving as a metaphor for the distance and threshold of mental divides and boundaries that separate people.

The audience in each theater will see fragments of plays based on songs written by Taiwanese composer-guitarist Blaire Ko (柯智豪). The idea is that as the audiences watch their respective shows, their imagination will be drawn to the other story happening next door and how the two plays form a single overall narrative.

Of course, for those who want to experience Shiba’s complete vision, seeing two different performances will be necessary.

The shows will be performed at 8pm tomorrow and Saturday, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm. Tickets are NT$800, available online at — as are tickets for the rest of the festival events — with tickets sold separately for the two theaters.


Among the other highlights of the festival line-up are Kaiserkleider on Saturday and Sunday next week, a collaboration between choreographer-dancer Henrietta Horn, sound and media artist Frank Schulte and video/lighting designer Reinhard Hubert; Blah Blah Blah by Taiwanese choreographer Benson Tsai’s (蔡博丞) B.DANCE (丞舞製作團隊) and Luxembourg-based artist Jill Crovisier on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22; a production of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) by the university’s School of Music that opens on Oct. 19 for three performances; chamber concerts by faculty members and performances of traditional Chinese music.


Also part of the scope of the festival is the Kuandu Biennale at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, which opens on Friday next week and runs through Jan. 6 next year. The theme of this year’s biennale is “Seven Questions for Asia (給亞洲的七個提問).

On Oct. 27, from 9am to 4:30pm, the action moves away from TNUA and closer to the Tamsui River for “My River, My Home” at the Guandu Riverside Park Plaza. Cosponsored with several local businesses and organization, it will feature a street parade, live performances and vendor stalls.

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