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Romanska’s Online Theatre Festival ‘Blurs Geographic Boundaries’

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When the International Online Theatre Festival (IOTF) launched last year, offering stage productions from artists around the globe digitally for free, the world was a very different place.

As the second annual IOTF kicks off its April 15-May 15 run in the midst of a global pandemic, artists and audiences alike are faced with uncertainty and hardship, and the opportunity to experience art online is not just convenient, but necessary.

“[This year] has brought exceptionally difficult times, with those in the creative industries hit particularly hard by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that this online festival offers a space for audiences to congregate (albeit digitally!) in looking towards better and more hopeful times,” the creators of IOTF, including Performing Arts Associate Professor Magda Romanska, said in a statement.

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The IOTF is produced by, a global theatre portal of which Romanska is executive director and editor-in-chief. During the course of the month, the festival will present 25 different productions and films from a range of international companies, including Schaubühne (Germany), Stanislavsky Electrotheatre (Russia), Reckless Sleepers, and English Touring Theatre (both UK).

Audiences will be able to see, free of charge from their homes, productions including Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Krzysztof Warlikowski’s (A)pollonia, and Milo Rau’s Lenin.

“Our theme of transformation and resistance – ‘in a world where you can be anything…’ – aims to create an online space that blurs geographical boundaries, rejects simplifications about borders and national identities, and most crucially, brings us together as a community to think about what it means to be human,” the creators write.

The festival also will screen three films that engage with the theatrical: Michelle Merman’s The Rest I Make Up (2018), about American writer-director Maria Irene Fornes; Ventura Pons’ The Virus of Fear (2016), a screen adaptation of Josep Maria Miró’s play, Arquimedes’ Principle; and Elisabet Cabeza and Esteve Riambau’s Masks (2009), which has legendary Spanish actor Josep Maria Pou preparing to play Orson Welles onstage.

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