The Bat Yam Festival celebrates twenty years!
The Bat Yam International Festival for Theater and Street Art is one of the leading events in Israel for creating cultural in the public sphere. The festival, which took its first steps in the late ‘90s, celebrates this summer the 20th anniversary of its founding, twenty years in which it paved its way and established itself as the festival spearheading the activity street art in Israel. The rich artistic works in the festival, which include performances, exhibitions and events on the street, has transformed the festival from a modest local affair to an international event. This year the festival includes over 40 works, including 6 from France, Italy, Spain and Germany, and 13 Israeli shows and exhibitions that were developed specially for the festival. This year, more than 150 artists will participate in the festival, making the festival and the Bat Yam promenade into a central bustling scene of artistic activity.
In the past few years, the Bat Yam Festival has been a springboard for the productions that were premiered in the framework of the festival, and many of them have won prizes and participated in festivals throughout Israel and the around the world. On the occasion of its 20th year, the festival will host some of these productions, such as “STONES” by the ORTO-DA Theater, which premiered at the 2005 Bat Yam Festival of Street Theater with a 17 minute long version, winning first place. Since then, “STONES” has been performed about 700 times in over thirty different countries and won ten international awards. Other recurring productions that will take part in the festival: “The Nerds Circus” which premiered in 2013 at the festival and is still running, “The Neighborhood” by Michal Svironi, winner of the festival in 2009, and “Ironic Supervision“, which premiered in 2015.
This year, for the first time ever, the festival will hold the “Street Cat” competition of solo performances. Out of ten competing “Cats”, one winning performance will be selected by the festival’s guests of honor. The winning performance will earn its creator a plane ticket and stay at the FiraTàrrega Festival in Spain.
Our guests of honor this year are:
The Artistic Director of the leading street art festival in Europe – the FiraTàrrega Festival, Jordi Durani Roldós.
And the artistic director of the Imaginarius Festival in Portugal, Bruno Costa.
The Bat Yam Festival Hosts
Additionally, in honor of the twentieth Anniversary celebrations, this year includes 13 collaborations with academic institutions from around the country and local cultural institutions from Bat-Yam and other cities. The participating institutions include: the Bat Yam “Kelim” Choreography Center, the Bascula center for circus in Tel Aviv, the School of Visual Theater in Jerusalem, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, the College of Management – Academic Studies, HIT – Holon Institute of Technology, the Notzar Theater in Bat-Yam, Sapir College, Tarbutek Bat-Yam and others.
FEST’FACTORY – The Artists’s Community Compound
Over the past three years, the Festival’s artistic director has developed the FEST’FACTORY Artists’ Complex within the neighborhoods of Bat-Yam’ in order to link the festival’s artistic activity to the city and its residents. The FEST’FACTORY invited artists from various fields to for a residency in the complex, during which the artists developed works in the public sphere or with the community in Bat Yam, some of which will be exhibited at the festival.
The festival takes place at the initiative of the city of Bat Yam, who is the festival’s primary fiscal sponsor. Over the years the festival has played a major role in promoting Israeli art in a number of activities and in supporting leading institutions such as: FEST’FACTORY, “Kelim” Choreography Center, MoBY – the Museums of Bat Yam, OUTBOX, Notzar Theatre, The Musical Theater Festival and more.
Among the members of the artistic committee are Amit Drori – the incoming director of the Hazira Performance Art Arena, Maya Arad Yasur – playwright and dramaturg and Yogi Dekel – artist and circus creator. “Street Cat” Artistic Advisor: David DuSH Barashi, a leading Israeli street artist.
The artistic director of the festival in the past three years is Amitay Yaish Benuosilio – actor, director and inter-disciplinary artist: “From my point of view, the goal of the festival is to transform the public sphere into a vast space of artistic experience, that invites the audience present to a never-ceasing journey between different kinds of shows, genres and events, which peel back everyday reality and create a spring of joyful creativity and pleasure in contemplating the human spirit. “
The festival’s events take place on the Bat Yam promenade next to the Riviera Beach. During the festival, the city’s new and unique promenade that connects the Bat Yam coastline to Rishon Letzion will be open for the first time.
The performances are suitable for the whole family, and will start from 20:00 (8:00pm) until 23:30 (11:30pm) and on Saturday night from 20:30 (8:30pm) to 24:00 (midnight).
All festival shows are free of charge.
Artistic Director’s Notes
There are three ingredients I took on myself to combine:
Art – accessible and experiential. An unmediated encounter between art and the audience, outside the auditoriums and galleries, a meeting that allows the casual spectator to feel, to experience and to approach artistic creations.
Street – the physical space where people from all cultures, religions and types meet for shared experiences. A meeting that emphasizes the common identity of everyone within the public sphere, and the common ownership of the public sphere to all.
Especially in these times when our society is dealing with a lack of sensitivity, segregation, a revulsion from the other and the different, this is important more than ever. I aspire to hold a festival that fosters connections between the private and the communal, between the intimate and the public, between art and entertainment.
Huge shows alongside quiet and delicate works, a celebration of humor along with exhibitions and social projects.
Groups such as Cabaret Total and Asphalt Theater, which heighten our unique cultural wealth as Israelis, along with deeply personal shows such as “Shall We Fall?” and “Good Enough” that invite us to take a look of the individual, the fears and yearnings for freedom in the human psyche.
I hope that this energy of connections will bring us all to a unique experience at the 20th Street Art Festival in the city of Bat Yam.
Amitay Yaish Benuosilio
The Bat Yam International Festival for Theater and Street Art