“The name has a double meaning. It’s both a reference to the body and to the fact that everybody is spectacular,” says Ásgerdur G. Gunnarsdottir, one of the four artistic directors and the general manager behind the Everybody’s Spectacular festival. “We felt it suited the festival, as it deals with all sorts of bodies and voices.”
Everybody’s Spectacular is a five day annual international (stage) performance festival that takes place in Reykjavík. It was founded in 2015 when the Reykjavík Dance Festival and LÓKAL International theatre festival decided to come together to host one mega performance event.
“We felt it was weird that there were two semi big festivals and thought it would be smarter to merge the two into one big stage performance art festival,” says Ásgerður. “Our goal is twofold: both to introduce Icelandic performers to foreigners and to import works that perhaps have a different aesthetic than we normally get in Iceland.”
Breaking the mould
The festival also takes as its mandate to break the traditional and maybe constricting confines of the theatre and move performances into the outside world. Shows will be held on the street and even in people’s homes as a way to challenge preconceived notions of what the stage is. The untraditional approach also expands into the pieces themselves.
“We have for example a new work by a British performance artist, The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein, that plays with nudity and trashy culture and also deals with the concept of the witch,” Ásgerður explains. “We try to pick works that deal with issues and subjects that maybe aren’t discussed that much in our day to day lives. For instance, Gerald Kurdian is working with queer revolutions that have taken place in the Western world, like feminism and sexual revolutions. We also have a performance from Ireland that deals with the emotional lives of men, called ‘Have I No Mouth’.”
Everybody (ha!) should be able to find something to their liking during the five days of performances, as the works range from thought provoking to humorous, to quite serious.
“The programme is very varied and shows many sides to the performing arts,” Ásgerður concludes. “So whether it is comedy or drama that you are looking for, you should find what you want. Or even if you just want a good party where you meet the artists. We have all that and more.”