Swiss dance and theatre companies frequently go on tour abroad. To keep this practice alive, Pro Helvetia invests a lot in international promotion. At Tanzmesse Düsseldorf – a globally unique dance fair and exhibition – we are regularly present with a booth of our own. At the Avignon theatre festival, one of the most important get-togethers of the international theatre scene, we have launched a Swiss platform together with CORODIS (Commission romande de diffusion des spectacles). Called «Sélection Suisse en Avignon», it presents a curated pick of Swiss productions put together in collaboration with several renowned theatre companies.
There are numerous other places and times at which artists and curators from around the world gather and we take the opportunity to present some Swiss highlights. New York is a case in point, where a number of festivals take place simultaneously in January, attracting curators from around the globe. We also organise a showcase of the Swiss performing arts each year in a part of the world where there is little prior awareness of the Helvetic scene. Headed up by an external curator, it puts Swiss productions on some renowned theatre and dance stages. In 2016, for example, the Swiss scene is spotlighted in Shanghai, Macao, Beijing and Hong Kong.
(Photo: Perrine Valli «Une femme au soleil» © Agnès Mellon)
Each year in August, the Scottish city of Edinburgh is transformed into the largest performing arts stage in the world. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, better known simply as «The Fringe», was founded in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival and nowadays attracts around one million visitors a year. Around 3,500 shows are featured at the Fringe each year with an unusually broad range of theatre and comedy, spanning everything from classical to experimental. The festival is not only an impressive experience for its audiences, but also opens doors for the artists to the English language market and to international producers.
Pro Helvetia has been supporting Swiss productions in Edinburgh since 2019 with its «Swiss Selection Edinburgh», thereby helping to raise awareness of Swiss stage arts in the British and the global cultural landscape. Encounters between Swiss artists and international partners and event managers foster cultural exchange and increase the chances for Swiss companies to be invited for guest performances and tours. The venue for the Swiss productions in Edinburgh is Summerhall, which focuses on international visual and performing arts.