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What goes on behind the stage

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Festival will focus on the mass of skills needed to bring events to fruition. ELENI PHILIPPOU finds out more

 Many festivals celebrate performance arts yet for them to be staged it takes a whole village of backstage work. Set design, costume-making, directing, time management, audience experience, the list goes on… So much is involved behind the scene that we, as audiences, are unaware of yet they are the details that make a cultural event memorable.

Now a group of creatives called Teharin Entertainment and Productions are organising the Offsite Festival, a two-day event in October dedicated to backstage arts. On October 15 and 16 a line-up of six workshops and seminars conducted by industry professionals will take place at the Flea Theatre in Nicosia talking all things backstage.

The events welcome all ages and backgrounds and will be held in Greek and English. Opening Offsite is a workshop titled Creating Worlds: An Introduction to Performance Set & Costume Design with Elena Katsouri. The workshop which will unravel all about theatre sets and costume design. What a set is, how designing a set or costumes for a theatre show begins and how to bring them to life. This workshop is for anyone who would like to learn more about the craft of Performance Design or would love to pursue a professional career in the subject.

Another workshop will follow titled Playing with Light, held by Karolina Spyrou. This session will focus on lighting in theatrical performances, exploring three basic principles of light: intensity, direction and colour and how these can be manipulated to add to scenes. The workshop will also examine how they can be combined to tell a story and indicate the time, alter the space and set the mood of a performance. Through images and practical demonstrations, the participants will have the opportunity to investigate light and its absence, shadows and basic principles of colour theory.

The final workshop of day one will be led by Andreas Trachonitis, one of the organisers of Fengaros Festival, who will talk about organising big events. The Large-Scale Festivals: From point A to point B and Beyond workshop will lay out best practices and navigating the entire project timeline. From detailing budgets every step of the way to programming artistic direction, the workshop will have participants weigh up smart options in keeping the environment safe during a festival, making responsible and socially inclusive plans for the entire experience. Also, participants will get the rundown on what to expect when collaborating with artists and their teams, and how to accomplish the smoothest event coordination and production.

Myrto Makri will open day two addressing Mental Health in the Performing Arts. This session will begin with a philosophical perspective on arts. What do we see as ‘art’, and how do art and psychology combine? What are the difficulties that artists often find in the industry? Why do many people struggle, and why do so many artists get caught in harmful substances and activities? How do you ‘stay calm’ in the madness of the industry?

Next, a workshop detailing a director’s jobs will take place with Paris Erotokritou outlining a director’s role in modern-day theatre practice. Using examples from his and other directors’ work, the seminar will try to dissect and explore present-day issues followed by a Q&A session.

Wrapping up the festival is a workshop called The Art and Craft of Orchestration: Bringing Musical Ideas to Life, with Aris Antoniades. Here participants will learn all about the complex process of transforming musical ideas into structured, holistic, and organic pieces of music that are played at a show or concert. The craft, art and business of orchestrating will be discussed with a professional arranger and orchestrator in a festival that aims to strengthen the multifaced world of backstage arts.


Offsite Festival

Two-day event dedicated to backstage live arts. October 15-16. Flea theatre, Nicosia. 3pm. 2-Day pass €65, 1-Day pass €35, Single Workshop €15.

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