Brave Festival – the festival of the brave, of the people who say where they are from, what their values are, traditions and spirituality. This is not a festival about works of art but about the art which can save and protect thousands of forgotten, abandoned, lonely cultures and people.
We had to create Brave Festival to fight against chasing people away form their own culture, from their own sensitivity; the festival about the world that is dying, which will pass away if we will not do anything to stop this process at least a little. The Festival of the people who do not agree to follow models promoted by mass culture, who seek for the deepest possible sources of inspiration – inner inspiration. Sensitive and tolerant people who are not afraid to deepen their sensitivity.
For few years before first edition of Brave Festival some people have been trying to persuade me to organise a theatre festival in Wrocław. However, after years of going to our national and foreign festivals I felt tired and fed up with the ever-present, dominating formula – let’s show the product and let’s watch the product. Because festivals reduce authors’ work to a product only, to a commodity for consumption. Festivals are not interested in the process of work or the context of work or the meaning of this work to people. I did not want to copy this formula but, at the same time, I didn’t have any answer to it, any idea. I kept looking for it and asking the same question over and over again: Why should a festival be really necessary?
What is important today?
I kept asking this question – just like the creator of Edinburgh Festival, Richard Demarco, did fifty years ago – what is important today?
Demarco told me once: “When in 1948 we started the Edinburgh Festival, our aim was to restore German culture in Europe.”
This answer was really important to me. Over ten years ago I met a Swiss actress, Lea Wyler, who had had a big chance to make an acting career. However, many years ago her life brought her to India and Tibet. When she saw children who had been abandoned by their own culture and their own families, she decided to take care of them. Together with a Tibetan doctor Tulku Rinpoche she founded the Rokpa organization, which rebuilds Tibetan culture – schools, clinics, monasteries, helping children to retain their language, songs, tradition and spirituality.
In August 2005 I followed in Antonin Artaud’s footsteps. Like this great director, actor and theatre theorist, I went to Mexico. In the 1930s he visited the Tarahumara Indians, who are the last of the ninety six Mexican tribes that survived conquests.
This meeting resulted in the creation of the Theatre of Cruelty by this French genius of theory. The Theatre not only changed the shape of the European theatre of the twentieth century, but also influenced the greatest directors, including Brook and Grotowski. I thought that if that meeting influenced Artaud so deeply, maybe I would experience something, too. I went to look for the Tarahumara Indians but… I could not find them. I could not, because in the Sierra Tarahumara new through-ways had been constructed and the tribes had to flee. There was no guide who could ride with me horseback for two or three days. However, I met a man who had devoted dozens of years to protecting this culture. He said: ‘They won’t manage on their own. They don’t know what money is, what is its power. They know anything about human rights, because they live in such a harmony with nature that their moral codes are the obvious part of their lives. They don’t need any written codes because they don’t know what a lie is.’ The other problem in the Sierra Tarahumara are drug dealers who make Indians work on their plantations.
If the Indians do not consent, they are chased away from their own land or killed. That is why my interlocutor makes films, collects old songs, legends, dances, supports the Indians financially. He does not want them to escape from their tribes. He can see the need for protecting this one of thousands of cultures. The cultures, I would say, from the margins of the world.
Festival of the Brave
When those facts, those people, those stories got to me, I realised what type of festival we have to create. Brave Festival – the festival of the brave, of the people who say where they are from, what their values are, traditions and spirituality.