Gosh, well things are rather hectic here in the IDFB offices. With just four weeks until the Festival gets underway, there is still lots to do.
My role on the festival is Programme Manager, which means I’m responsible for negotiating and confirming details with all the companies performing in the theatre venues (other than the main Hippodrome stage) during the Festival. So, I’m spending most of my time on the phone or email to the various companies and venues, agreeing all the final details, as well as confirming flights, accommodation and various freight regulations.
One of the side effects of all these conversations is I’ve developed an extensive knowledge of the time zones of the world – I think we’ve only once mixed up eight hours ahead with eight hours behind and woken a choreographer up in the middle of the night! Unfortunately, I’ve also had to develop a knowledge of the visa, travel and work permit regulations of lots of different countries, which are as complex as they are extensive. I’ve discovered, for example, that Madagascar has no British Consulate (the nearest one is in Mauritius) and have memorised several airport codes for obscure international airports. Oh well, I’m sure this will come in handy in a future pub quiz.
With all of this detail, it’s easy to forget about the actual work sometimes. However, I’ve been able to remind myself of just how exciting that is too recently, having seen performances of Circa and Sutra (both at The REP during the second week of the Festival) over the last few days, both of which are astonishing pieces. People have also been asking me what I’m personally looking forward to seeing. Well, all of it of course (!), but two particular highlights for me have to be the first and last pieces in the Festival – Mark Morris’s signature work L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and Deborah Colker’s new piece, Cruel (both at Birmingham Hippodrome). I’m also keen to see reactions to Waves – an interactive installation which changes according to the movement of passers-by, which will be installed in the square outside the Hippodrome for two weeks.
Elsewhere in the team, my colleague Hannah Sharpe (Festival Producer) is going through similar processes for the performances that are made and produced by IDFB. So, she’s busily contracting dancers, looking at designs taking shape and agreeing details with the City Council for some very exciting new work, including Utopia – our spectacular May Bank Holiday performance in Victoria Square, featuring 40 dancers and the terrific Birmingham band, The Destroyers.
No doubt 19 April will come around before we know it and then I’ll be into four weeks of very little sleep, food on the run and, most importantly, 27 days of fantastic dance performances. And then, after a (very) short break, it’s onto the next Festival. We’re planning performances to see and companies to talk to about IDFB 2012, and there are already some pretty exciting plans…