ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL attracts thousands of spectators | NTGent
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ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL attracts thousands of spectators

| 21 June 2024
With a Dionysian party on the Blaarmeersen and a very last tragedy, NTGent and its dozens of partners conclude the ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL on 22 and 23 June. The city festival attracted thousands of theatre lovers, passers-by and local residents in recent weeks.

"ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL is more than a fun outing for visitors. It brings the city's residents together for stories that still resonate. So let municipalities take an example from Ghent and guarantee their residents that they can continue to take a regular dose of culture. Although the grand scale of the Ghent initiative will not be easy to match."

The Dutch newspaper Trouw does not hide its admiration. For eight weeks, eight neighbourhoods and 34 events, ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL inspired the city and its residents, who came in large numbers.

The turnout was greatest for the Opening Parade on 1 May, in which 400 to 500 people took part, but also for the performance of Antigone in the Amazon in Citadel Park, Stefan Hertmans' speech at City Hall, the performances on the beach at Houtdok,... hundreds of people turned up. Even the performances at sunrise, as early as 5.30am, attracted dozens of interested people.

A huge boost for the organizers, although drawing large crowds was not necessarily the first intention of NTGent and its dozens of partners. Essayist Nele Buyst, who closely followed the third week of the city festival, describes its success as follows in her report:

"By experimenting with free theatre in the public space, the festival removes barriers, dissolves control, one performance does not have to fulfil all expectations, the richness lies precisely in the multiplicity of perspectives (...) The play with limited technical resources and support turns theatre once again into an experience around which people can congregate, or from which they can walk away (...) Just daring to face so much uncertainty is wonderfully contrarian and shows courage."

CLOSER TO THE CITY

"Since the festival began, we have been inundated with the enthusiastic attention of press and public," says co-curator and city dramaturge Matthias Velle. "Our caravan was received hospitably and generously everywhere. It was incredible how a new 'we' was created in each neighbourhood, brought together by the enduring power of the ancient tragedies."

"By leaving the theatre behind and humbly connecting with different neighbourhoods, our city theatre was at the centre of local society for two months," says co-curator Benoit Vanraes. "Perhaps we do not yet fully realise all that ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL brought about. But many enthusiastic spectators asked for more, a request that NTGent will keep in mind."

NTGent's new artistic leadership is spearheading a greater connection with the city in the coming years. One example is the NTTent that will be on Sint-Baafspein for four days at the beginning of October at the opening of the new season. It will travel around the city in the coming years, landing at a different loss spot each time: a place where the city or its inhabitants lost something important that will be reimagined.

CLOSING PARTY

The ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL ends on the weekend of 22 and 23 July with two performances and a free Dionysian Midsummer Night Party in Ghent's Blaarmeersen. There will be performances by schroothoop, K1D, Brik Tu Tok and DJ Ninette. In between, there will be performances by Serdi Beatbox and drama students from KASK and RITCS. On Sunday morning, Villa Voortman, Het Scheldeoffensief & Comp. Marius perform the very last Greek tragedy of the festival. Afterwards, the Olympic flame that travelled with the festival for eight weeks will be solemnly extinguished.

Only humans can fantasise Until it holds from the inside With closed eyes, you can see whomever you’d like There's all that future, still Beyond madness, tenderness awaits