Welcome to the Acco Festival for Alternative Theatre
Years ago, the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre positioned itself in this city that’s on the periphery and also a mixed city, and historic besides, and most of all: filled with inspiration.
Very quickly it situated itself as a unique Israeli center for alternative endeavors, winning acclaim within the country and across the globe.
The Festival has become a lodestone attracting creative artists from across society’s spectrum, who seek to engage in extraordinary artistic experimentation. This is an interdisciplinary, multicultural event by nature, emphasizing the performing arts.
Acco is the litmus paper of Israeli society. The city comprises a rich human spectrum, sometimes bewildering in its complexity. The sore points of our experience here are reflected in the city, and at times the wounds gape as though a sign, like wounds of reproach.
The beautiful city groans under the weight of its destiny: to be at once historic, a tourism destination, an uncommon example of the perpetual insistence on Arabs and Jews living side by side, a frontier town at the flash point of confrontation, a city precious to all religions and the first to take in waves of immigration.
The many facets of Israel as a multicultural state, as a melting pot with potential in a truly cultured and sane world - all are mirrored in Acco.
It isn’t incidental that Acco has become an enveloping womb for alternative endeavors. A work shown in Acco receives almost immediately an enhanced worth for its association with the locale, with its geographic and demographic uniqueness, the special character of its halls, and the atmosphere that infuses the place that says adventure, inspiration, daring.
The Acco Festival at its best reflects unique creative processes in its level of form and content and in its encounter between disciplines, cultures, and societal sectors, in encouraging an artistic melting pot. Its special setting holds within it the potential for the processes of incubating and developing a work, precisely because of its physical distance, as “the center isn’t always in the middle.”
We, the Festival’s artistic directors, are among the founders of the Acco Theatre Center, partners in its management, and dealing with alternative artistic creating in Acco for many years.
The collaboration between the Center and the Festival has gone on throughout the years. Besides its works getting exposure at the Festival, the Center has also voluntarily provided assistance in guiding artists, in helping to create a connection between them and the artists of Acco, and in recent years, undertaking the artistic directing of the Festival’s various open-air stages and events.
Our natural inclination has been to support artistic creating characterized by its processes, works that place the performing artist at the center, those that conduct a correspondence with the place in its social, political, and universalistic contexts, and hold an intercultural dialogue as artistic creator and as an observer of reality.
We see in our accessibility to the city a catalyst for developing locality-dependent concepts, as well as the possibilities and availability inherent in being actually present in the city. It’s of high importance to nurture the Festival’s existing objectives as set down by its previous artistic directors, such as extensive interaction with the city and enhanced activity in the streets and throughout the Festival grounds, along with conducting far-reaching experimentation with the components of theatrical activity.
In our following the Festival from its inception, we see how it’s becoming consolidated also as an impressive showcase of alternative activity here, for theatre people and the directors of cultural institutions from abroad.
Future collaborations with artistic factors from abroad will be based on the affinity between the Festival and the global Fringe scene, a natural continuation of what’s already occurring.
We believe and hope that the Acco Festival has developed an independent “presence” over the years and today is truly independent of which winds are blowing politically or from the aspects of security and the like. Its power is substantial against the shakings that might come from any direction, whether this or that artistic trend or a war from within our borders or from outside.
Moni Yosef and Smadar Yaaron