We invite you to join us in the Constellations Summer Camp, in Turkey, from August 24th to the dawn of September 16th, at the Tiyatro Medresesi near Şirince, an old Greek village on the hills of the Western Turkish Coast, among olive trees. Şirince is located in a valley above Selçuk, close to the ancient city of Ephesus, and it’s easily reached from Izmir’s international airport.
The Constellations Summer Camp, ideated and coordinated by Mario Biagini and the Open Program in collaboration with the Tiyatro Medresesi and his director, Celal Mordeniz, is the possibility of an encounter, an exploration of how to be together with the help of different human practices. It will culminate in three days and three nights of MedFest, a festivity that will be discovered and rehearsed during the Constellations Summer Camp. Participants will be able to take part in the Constellations Summer Camp for its whole duration including the MedFest, or for the last two weeks and the MedFest, or for the last week and the MedFest.
The MedFest will start on September 13th at noon and end on September 16th at dawn. It will include performances, meetings, dialogues, demonstrations, performative events, convivial moments and other public activities, all resulting from the work done during the previous weeks by individual participants and groups. There will be also some invited groups or individuals, who will perform works elaborated during the Constellations Summer Camp.
The Constellations Summer Camp is a proposal deliberately open to all, that is, also to people not necessarily connected to theatrical professions or to performing arts. It’s a call to people seriously interested in exploring how different ways, practices, crafts and arts that can be actualized in relation to others and to the world may be vehicles of a research that, setting off from the context of living and working together, is open to the possibility for another quality to emerge – the same quality we seek in art and literature, or among other human beings and in the world of nature, or in sciences and philosophies, in spirituality and in the works of the intellect, in political activism and in social work.
We call on people who perceive that the basic elements of many human activities may be utilized in daily practice to act among and with others in the search of a future for which we are responsible today. We call on people who, despite having aspirations that are not directly related to the world of the arts, recognize a value in those elements of performing arts that are not sole prerogative of cultural industry, but rather a wealth of possibilities belonging to the individual and to civil society. Therefore, participants can be people engaged in fields other than theater, or in search of their fields of action, or people interested in theater’s dramatic approach to interaction and to the shared creation of sense.
The Constellations Summer Camp is realized in cooperation with the Tiyatro Medresesi, which will host the meeting in their home base in the countryside of Şirince, and in collaboration with numerous partners, colleagues and friends in the profession, as well as experienced practitioners of different disciplines, not necessarily related to theatre crafts.
The Open Program will provide the backbone for the three weeks of the Constellations Summer Camp, with activities common to all participants which will include all elements of its practice: work on singing and acting, improvisation with structural elements, work on these structural elements themselves (be they living forms, as songs or dances, or sets of “rules-of-the-game” that can be utilized as a basis for the development of a personal technique of improvisation), different psychophysical exercises and games, and an exercise called Motions. There will also be work on two versions of the Open Choir (a participative encounter which is since years one of the main focuses of the Open Program’s research): one version will be based on the materials on which the Open Program works since its beginning and another version based on Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian songs, or songs brought by participants from other cultures and countries.
Participants who choose to be present for the whole duration of the Constellations Summer Camp and the MedFest, and those who choose to be present for the last two weeks and the MedFest will also work with experienced members of the Open Program on acting fragments, individual or group scenes that they will prepare beforehand and for which we propose as a possible topic the No-Where-Land – a real, concrete land which exists nowhere. Textual material could be drawn from ancient or contemporary sources, or be composed by the person herself, in the line of topic or dystopic myths and stories.
Apart from these elements that will be shared by all, participants will be able to choose from a diverse array of disciplines and practices, brought to the Constellations Summer Camp by colleagues and friends coming from different continents: practitioners active in fields such as theatre, dance, music, video-art, or ways of being together through elements of interaction that in contemporary societies are often monopolized by performing arts, but which everyone can approach as elements of significant contact between human beings. There will also be occasions of theoretical discourse on these disciplines, led by scholars from different countries.
As already said, there will be among the invited guides of the various activities people with competence in disciplines that are not directly related to theatre and to performing, but which, as theatre, exist and acquire meaning in interaction. The range of the different activities will span from philosophical practice and the exercise of social, political or ecological thought and action, to personal techniques such as different forms of yoga and meditation, to artisanal crafts such a carpentry, masonry, gardening, shoemaking. All these different activities will be interwoven together in the scansion of day and night, and some of them will often take place simultaneously. All work and research sessions, moments of rest, opportunities for structured and informal interaction and exchange of thought, will not follow a rigid scheme and will be modulated on the need to discover the rhythms of the various possibilities of encounter. All activities will soon be announced in detail.
Theatrical, musical or dance groups and ensembles are also encouraged to apply for a period of residency at the Constellations Summer Camp, during which they will be able to rehearse and develop their works, while at the same time interacting with others. They will present during the MedFest the stage of their rehearsals and what they have created with others. Also other kinds of ensembles, and formal and informal groups, can apply, even if not directly connected with theatrical crafts, for example collectives of young activists interested in the creation and development of grassroots organizations.
The place we are inviting you to, the Tiyatro Medresesi, was initiated and founded in 2011 by Celal Mordeniz, the artistic director of the Medrese and of the theatre group Seyyar Sahne, as the first center for international artistic research, creation and performance in Turkey. Seyyar Sahne was invited to and performed at the Zero Budget Festival organized by the Workcenter in 2009 in Poland: without money, and without an organizational structure, just by calling on friends and friends of friends, an intense one-week Festival took shape. Once back home, the members of Seyyar Sahne reflected about their objectives and the possibilities, and asked Sevan Nişanyan, a linguist who is also an architect and craftsman, to design for them a complex of buildings on the model of a traditional madrasa, for theatre. Sevan Nişanyan accepted, at the condition that they built it in land near Şirince, where he had already built the Nesin Mathematics Village, a place dedicated to mathematics where every house seems to be immersed in nature and yet is connected with other buildings and with passageways, and which during summer is full of young students studying mathematics and other disciplines.
The colleagues from Seyyar Sahne started then to build the Medrese (they tell the story here), which now exists and is fully functional. It consists of private rooms and common rooms, performance and rehearsal halls, a library, a kitchen and a dining room, an amphitheater and an arched courtyard surrounded by olive trees. The complex of buildings is articulated, elegant, sober and welcoming, with arches and gardens, common spaces in and outdoor, and several beautiful workspaces, all different and with different characteristics. It is possible to host and feed there with local produce more than a hundred people. The Tiyatro Medresesi is not only shaped by aesthetic concerns but also by the idea of living and creating together in a space open to the world and in relative isolation.
That’s the place we invite you to. The buildings exist, the necessity is felt, we look for its inhabitants.
The Open Program
Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas RichardsLogistics for participants
Registration fee for the International Pedagogic Encounter: 300 euros. We foresee the possibility of applying a lower registration fee for participants coming from countries in economic crisis, or with low per capita income. In addition to the registration fee, participants must cover their own food and lodging costs. Tiyatro Medresesi offers various accommodation options, with different prices, and will take care of preparing meals throughout the day.
Soon the information about the different options of accommodation with their costs, which vary according to the lengths of stay, will be made available. All solutions include food, consisting in 3 full meals per day and snacks.
For information and applications: tiyatromedresesi.org/constellations