Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun Opens Belfast International Arts Festival

24 August 2017

Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun Opens Belfast International Arts Festival

With the Belfast International Arts Festival 2017 launch less than a week away, tickets have been pre-released for the opening performance, a political production that has been taking Europe by storm.
 
Compassion: The history of the machine gun, premiers in the UK and Ireland on the 6th and 7th of October at the Lyric Theatre and is the opening event of the 2017 Belfast International Arts Festival.
 
The powerful production from the Shaubuhne, Berlin, highlights the fate of refugees and the western world’s attitudes to humanitarian crisis.
 
Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun, dares its audience to journey through the political hot- spots of our time. From the Mediterranean routes of Middle-eastern refugees to the Congolese civil war zones, it leaves viewers to consider the limits of our compassion.
 
Audiences will glance into the lives of those at the heart of the crisis. Based on interviews with NGO workers, clerics and war victims in Africa and Europe this double monologue is sure to keep you captivated.

The semi-documentary performance is nourished by the experiences of its’ two woman cast. Swiss actress, Ursina Lardi, and Belgian actress, Consolate Siperius, originally from Burundi.
 
Esteemed Swiss Theatre Director and the play’s creator, Milo Rau, is renowned for his work in political theatre.
 
Rau was the recipient of a 2014 Swiss theatre award for his cutting edge work. His other projects such as “Hate Radio” and the “Moskauer Prozesse” have attracted international attention and spurred political debate.
 
The Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger recently named him one of today’s "most sought-after directors," and German weekly Der Freitag called him “the most controversial theatre director of his generation”.
 
Belfast International Arts Festival Director, Richard Wakely, welcomes the Schaubuhne back to Belfast.

“Many festival goers will recall the last visit by Berlin’s acclaimed Schaubuhne Theatre in 2014 with their radical and exciting reworking of An Enemy of the People. We are absolutely thrilled that they are returning to open this year’s festival edition with the UK/Ireland premiere of Compassion: The History of the Machine Gun, a new play from Milo Rau, a major and often controversial voice in European theatre.”
 
The principal funder of the Belfast International Arts Festival is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, added,

“The Arts Council is delighted to see Schaubühne Berlin returning to the Belfast International Arts Festival following their critically-acclaimed production of, An Enemy of the People, at the Festival in 2014.  This current production, a UK and Irish premiere, will continue to push the boundaries of theatre, excite and challenge audiences, and it’s all made possible through public and National Lottery funding.”
 
Tickets for the concert are available now at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.  Updates on the Festival can be found on the website and the Belfast International Arts Festival Facebook and Twitter pages.