Magic is the motto of the Schäxpir festival, which starts on Wednesday. It is by far the largest theater festival for young audiences in Austria and one of the largest in Europe. “We need the magic”Julia Ransmayr, who artistically directs the festival with Sara Ostertag, is convinced: “We need spaces in which other laws prevail than in everyday life, in which we can immerse ourselves in another world for an hour or two.”
A cinema in the truck
The Schäxpir wants to encourage children and young people to try something new: “They should simply have experiences in the theater”, says Ransmayr. Especially in difficult times, children need one “Perspective that one can dream”: “Imagination is a relevant factor for society. We also need to be able to do things that aren’t immediately actionable or have countable logic.”
The Schäxpir wants to express this magic in different formats. In her performance, the Brazilian artist Luiza Morales lays out tarot cards for the visitors or shows in workshops how a movement improvisation can become a divination. The Belgian “LOD muziektheater & hetpaleis” transforms carnival into a metaphor for escaping the fast-paced everyday life in a colorful show (from 15 years of age in the Schauspielhaus). The project “Coup” (from 14) in turn makes the office of the state government at Linz main station a magical place. in the piece “Rabbit hole” (from 12, Deep Space, Ars Electronica Center) by the Dutch group “De Toneelmakerij” blurring the lines between online and offline.
It will also be a magical place “milieu cinema” at the Urfahrmarkt: a truck that Max Kaufmann converted into a mini cinema with 15 seats. Films that have been specially produced in Linz can be watched here.
The festival has a total budget of one million euros. At the last edition in 2021, 3400 visitors came due to the corona, before that it was an average of 6500.
And what are the trends in international children’s theatre? On the one hand, an ever more intensive networking of the scene, on the other hand, trying out new formats with relish, says the festival director. Third, audience involvement: “In many plays, the audience is part of the production. You can join if you want, but you don’t have to.”
Schexpir in numbers
- 11 days Schäxpir lasts: from June 14th to 24th.
- 2002 the first edition of the biennial festival took place.
- 20 venues are recorded, from the theater to the AEC.
- 11 nations are involved in the festival, from New Zealand to Brazil to Italy.
- 9 Premieres and 11 Austrian premieres can be seen.
- Info is available at schaexpir.at