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What's New > Wood and Canvas (and rabbit glue) in the Modern World: The Bourla theatre in Antwerp (Belgium)

Wood and Canvas (and rabbit glue) in the Modern World: The Bourla theatre in Antwerp (Belgium)

posted on 5:30 AM, March 17, 2014

Wood and Canvas conference will take place in Antwerp June 12 to 15 2014 with presenters from 11 countries.

The theme of the conference is to suggest ideas and methodologies so that old wooden stage machinery can be put to use in modern theatre productions.  Rather than seeing this equipment as obsolete and falling completely out of use, we believe that ways can be found to revive these extremely flexible systems.   All that we are lacking is creative ideas.  Hence this conference.

Wood and Canvas will be both Academic and Practical; each day will include presentations of papers regarding old stage machinery as well as hands-on experience using wooden stage machinery.


For conference registration: click here 

For donations to support the conference: click here

In preparation for the upcoming Wood and Canvas conference, Jerome Maeckelbergh, secretary theatrEurope vzw shares his thoughts on the the Bourla theatre in Antwerp (Belgium).
"The Bourla theatre must stay a living and contemporary performance space. The stage machinery of the Bourla theatre is recently nominated by Europa Nostra among the most endangered heritage in Europe. They state that if the historic and still workable machinery in the fly tower and understage is dismantled and replaced by modern equipment - as proposed by the resident company - one of the only theatres in Europe where 19th century operas and dramas can be staged authentically will be irreparably lost.
This has been wrongly interpreted that saving the heritage machinery will condemn the Bourla theatre to a pure museum function. But the goal of our conference “Wood and Canvas” is specifically to investigate the possibilities of modern technology supporting the heritage. Leading theatre technology companies are interested in the issues of modern technical support to facilitate present-day performance in heritage theatre environment.
Although "authentic" performances with heritage machinery in action could be an interesting option like for a summer festival, this versatile but underestimated heritage machinery, especially in the understage, is able to do much more than a classic baroque scene change. This will be demonstrated with a scale model 1:10 during the conference. We not only investigate to solve perceived problems in a historical theatre environment, we want also to stimulate the inventivity of contemporary performance to use this unique treasure in all its capacities."
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