Aurillac is over

Aurillac-festival is over. Last festival of Jean-Marie Songy. Very sad. I have been following his work in Aurillac since 2003 and here in 2018 I finally learned to pronounce his name right. I have visited almost every festival, survived the chaotic first years trying to understand the nonlogic of the festival. The strikes in 2004 (I think) and the European meeting at the festival for festival organizers and artists in 2008 as my personal highlights. At one of the good bye receptions I looked Jean-Marie in the eyes telling him he had done a good job and that his festival was crucial in building PASSAGE Festival. I am sure many people also gave him compliments but I am not so sure that they looked him in his eyes. 

jean-Marie Songy
Jean-Marie Songy (1958) was in charge of Festival Aurillac, 1994-2018. He not only set the trends in world wide street theatre but also the-funny-shirt dresscode among theatre directors.

In 2008 I had a meeting with Jean-Marie Songy seeking possibilities to cooperate. My friend Paco Bialek had set it up for me and let me through a labyrinth of corridors to some provisorical office in the back of one of the official public buildings where he sat in one of his funny shirts talking on the phone when we came in. Paco translated. I told Jean-Marie Songy about our work in the social housing estates and he turned it completely down as a field for a possible cooperation. The meeting was kind of crucial to me. He was absolutely clear about that PASSAGE Festival’s work in Arabic communities could not be transfered France. “Our conflict is historical. There is no connection at all between the French and the Arabic”, he told me. 

I think KomplexKapharnäums performance “Memento” was never programmed in Aurillac (as one of the only ones by KXKM). But it confirmed what Jean-Marie had said. 

The year after we got substantial Arts Council funding and PASSAGE Festival made a huge jump from being a small to becoming a big festival. Since then his English and my French have become a lot better. 

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