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The International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus, which will take place from August 30 to September 9, offers 24 performances and events in various places in Riga. This time, the festival, which is held for the 19th year, is dedicted to the actions of hospitality, collectivity and the potentialities of working together, not apart.

Stories Editorial August 15, 2023

«Now more than ever, contemporary performance can enhance, ignite and inspire our collective imagination. This year we aim to harness this imagination to form a more equitable landscape, where we inhabit the power to fall in love with all aspects of humanity, embracing pleasures and not shying away from the difficult topics, rather processing them together. The future is uncertain however, we can take the journey together,» the festival is introduced by the programme curator Bek Berger.


Many well-known artists will participate in the festival, but the viewers will also be introduced to the latest works of Latvian and foreign artists. Like last year, the former casino on Kaļķu Street will host the festival centre, which will be opened with a party on September 1. Here, throughout the festival, various events, artist’s talks and workshops will take place — available to all for free.


A special component of the programme is the international participatory arts symposium Be Part, which is the culmination of a four-year ethics research project. Be Part analyses participatory arts practices and policies, and explores decentralized decision-making patterns involving locals, artists and policymakers. During the symposium from September 6 to 9, everyone will be able to see the brightest and most provocative stage artworks created during the project, which promotes a deeper understanding of ethical co-authorship systems.


Participatory art forms are also targeted by the show Deep Soulful Sweats, film sessions Beyond Participation and a party created by the art lab Atlas where a cartological guide dedicated to community building will be presented. The dance shows Be Water, My Friends and Freedom to Lose Control Together With the Many aim to create an accepting environment for shared coexistence and free self-expression, while the Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni will try to revive the nearly forgotten Bologna dance Polka chinata.

As every year, this Homo Novus programme also has special events dedicated to specific places in Riga. The musical performace All birds sing beautifully by Krista Burāne and Jēkabs Nīmanis will take place in the neighborhood of Dzegužkalns, providing an extraordinary perspective on the struggle between the cultivated and the natural. The interdisciplinary dance association LAUKKU will create a performance Dreaming of a Perfect Arts House dedicated to creating space in some undisclosed public outdoor spot in Riga. Artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington will present a semi-fictional and semi-real urban guide Book of Riga, which is developed in collaboration with 150 local pupils and allows Riga to be seen through the eyes of its younger residents. The dance allience «Sixth» will explore the space of the festival centre in the former Casino Latvija in the performance Ode to Summer, focusing not on the destructive effects of gambling and alcohol consumption, but on the playfulness and vitality associated with this space.


A peculiar, contrasting duet is made up of the play Western Society — a portrait of the 21st century civilisation by Gob Squad, and Jaha Koo’s performance Cuckoo that focuses on the recent history of South Korea and experiences of dealing with economic crisis, unemployment and social exclusion. A ghostly atmosphere will be created by the lyrical horror story The Sleeper Awakes about five undead zombie-friends and the show Lullaby for Scavengers by the English cult comedian Kim Noble.

Already beloved participants Queereeoke and RadiOh Europa are coming back to the festival, thematically accompanied by the amateur radio station’s electron.signal podcast travel version Thought:Interrupted and the pop-up recording studio How Deep is Your Love?


As usual, Homo Novus gives special care to people with disabilities — a description of environmental accessibility is available for each show and event space. The artist Claire Cunningham will peform at the festival with a show 4 Legs Good about her use of crutches in her creative process, while the Accessibility Celebration Day will take place on September 2.


Tickets and a full festival programme are available on the homepage.