Anti – Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland
27 – 30 October 2020
Covid, lockdown, furlough, self-isolation, track and trace, the new normal, N95 masks, 70% alcohol hand gel, shielding…
2020 has been a year where we have all become familiar with new terms and new ways of life. It has been a year where we have all had to make huge changes to our lives, where our frienships, family relationships and work have all been disrupted. It has been difficult to make sense of and to gain perspective on. For many working in the arts it has often been almost impossible to continue to work and so we have felt very fortunate to be able to present safe, socially distanced versions Of All The People In All The World in three places during the pandemic: Bideford, Edinburgh and at the ANTI festival. The show has helped us and we hope those that have seen it, to take some time to think about the major events of this year: coronavirus, Black Lives Matter protests, bush fires, Brexit, war and hunger in Yemen, the US election race … and to be able to place them in historical, local, national and global contexts; to think about the many but also individuals; to recognise the postive things that have happened this year, and the changes have been sparked and to remember the many events, occasions and comings together that have not been able to happen, but that we hope will soon.
It was a testament to the determination of the staff of ANTI-Festival that they managed to make an international arts festival happen during these times. They created a programme of work with reduced audience sizes, or with a virtual dimension and had a number of measures in place to keep people safe. For us to be able to perform in Finland we had to spend two weeks in self isolation before the week of the show. The festival kindly put us up in a very comfortable apartment with a view of one of the many lakes in the area. This period gave us plenty of time for research and to watch a lot of box sets. (We can recommend Dark but only if you can devote 26 hours of regular watching to keep up with the timelines). The town of Kuopio felt like a different world, with few if any cases of Covid, and with most shops, restuarants and bars operating relatively normally. We had two brilliant local performers, Vilma and Jaakko, who quickly understood how the show worked and were able to bring a local perspective to the show’s content. Our venue was the town’s library, which was always busy, with people of all ages borrowing books, sitting reading or passing through. We really benefitted from being in this public setting, with over 1,000 peope seeing the show during its four days of being open.
We returned to Britain just in time for the second lockdown and wondering what the next few months have in store for us all.
Performers: Jaakko Fagerberg, Vilma Mankonen, Craig Stephens and Jack Trow
Concept: James Yarker
Photographs: Stan’s Cafe
Soundscape: Jon Ward
Executive Producer: Roisin Caffrey