Performing at ConTempo festival

Portuguese company Trupe Fandanga from Porto visited ConTempo festival that was held in Kaunas Lithuania 29 July to 6 August 2023.
Their open-air performance Qubim featured in four different parks around the Kaunas district and attracted an impressive amount of spectators – 979 persons to be exact!

Working group members Sandra Neves and Catarina Falcão were both performing for eager audiences that arrived on some days despite the rain. Sandra is also the artistic director of the piece.

Trupe Fandanga performing Qubim at ConTempo Festival 2023
Trupe Fandanga performing Qubim at ConTempo Festival 2023


How did the performances go in Kaunas? How is the overall feeling about the performance?

–We think the shows went pretty well in Kaunas, the general good energy provided that everything went well always. The good energy of the Contempo Festival team and professionalism too, as well as the good reception of the public. It was a surprise, we beat our records!

During IMPULSE! -project festival visits are carried out as part of a touring pilot programme exploring new ways to make performance visits and tours more sustainable. Do you find this experience different from other international gigs (if you have experience)?

-I don't know many festivals with projects like IMPULSE! It seems quite interesting, and open to all artistic and visual languages. Quite innovative.

The international performances, give us very different experiences, a lot of learning from the people and local culture. We grow and the show also grows with the way we adapt it.

Did this visit give you new perspectives on international touring? Do you find festival or performance visits abroad more accessible after this project? Or was this experience similar to others?

- This experience was very different from others, it was a very good, very big and nice experience!

-It was the first time we didn't know the language and yet it was so harmonious.It was the first time we didn't know the language and yet it was so harmonious.

In Kaunas the performances had a lot of audience, did change the performing experience somehow?

-Yes, the scale of the audience in Kaunas was huge, much bigger than what we normally do. Usually we limit the audience to 40/50 persons, which is a good number, for each person to experience the show in its best conditions of visibility. All the marionettes are small, the performance is subtle. We did not change the performance or fight with the scale, because it cannot be done in any other way. It is its nature, and we have the conscience that a big part of the public did not see all or understand all of what they saw, because they were just too far away. But, we do the performance on the street, so we can not control that completely. In Kaunas all the places were huge open spaces. And, after all, it was still very positive. Lot of people stayed until the end, even seeing too far, and came to cheer us in the end, completely heart-full. This is quite something.

Did you manage to meet other inspiring artists or make contacts with international colleagues?

-In truth, we didn't have much time to socialize, but we made some contacts with some artists from the festival and we managed to visit the puppet museums in Kaunas and Vilnius, as well as getting in touch with people from both. Thanks to Darius, it's important to say.

Anything else you would like to add?

- It was a very positive experience, thanks.

Photos: Martynas Plepys, ConTempo Festival