La Strada, International Festival for Puppet and Street Theatre, Graz (Autriche) 31 juillet-8 Aout 2009
“Prediction is difficult, especially about the future”. This phrase is so elegant that it happens to have several originators. It is ascribed variously to Karl Valentin, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill, demonstrating at least that the truth never belongs to one person alone. Incidentally, this is also applies to a few other things, for instance the sky, happiness and the city, although, in the case of the latter at least, people seem to be unable to agree. Does Graz need more parks or more parking, a centre for trade fairs or an underground system ? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure : Graz needs a harbour and it indeed got one. On July 31st it was opened at Graz-Reininghaus, and by La Strada. This harbour connected directly with Istanbul, Odessa, Marseilles and Rotterdam, was inhabited by Centaurs and showed the freedom of an empty space in the middle of Graz.
But not just this year ; for years now the festival has modified the city, charging up the streets, alleys and squares with energy and fantasy, inspiring a change in both pace and perspective. If one accepts urban development not solely as a peripheral aspect of construction, the festival does indeed contribute considerably to modifying the “Murmetropolis”. Including an international symposium on European culture. Including serving as a platform for local artists who, with the help of La Strada, will be conquering first Graz and then Europe. No less than five in-house and co-productions were on the festival programme. Including artistic exploration of places like Volksgarten, Messepark, Dom im Berg, Ragnitzbad. Including four workshops for everyone who’s keen to experience street and puppet theatre not just as a spectator.
The festival presented 199 street and puppet theatre productions from July 31st till August 8th, aiming to make Graz laugh, wonder and reflect. We are confident that it will succeed also in the next years, but as we said, prediction is difficult, especially about the future.