Last week I travelled down to Luxembourg with my fantastic theatre company, Hamburg Players, to compete in FEATS (Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies), a four day one-act theatre competition for English language theatre companies in the EU (except UK & Ireland). This was my very first FEATS and to be honest I’m was not sure what to expect.
Getting to Luxembourg was an ordeal, 13.5 hours in a mini van with a bus driver whose driving skills were questionable at best and so unfortunately we missed the first play on the Friday night. Our late arrival was to have ramifications further on down the line that resulted in half the group’s tickets being cancelled for the following 3 days of performances for reasons that weren’t really explained. The whole organisation of the festival was not the best and lead to some incredibly frustrating experiences. Fortunately the wonderful people I was with have a way of transforming negative experiences into things you can laugh about, this included the renaming of the Hospitality Desk to the Hostility Desk thanks to the rudeness of the staff when the desk was actually open. Then there was the official FEATS party on the Saturday night which was held at a tennis club that could only be accessed by a non lit pathway. To help the party goers stumbling around in the dark find the place, they put this sign on the pitch black pathway.
The only reason we even saw it is that a bunch of us had our iPhone torches turned on. This sign became a running joke of the rest of the festival.
The plays performed at FEATS were a real mixed bunch. Half of the twelve entries were self-written and most, unfortunately, failed to make the desired impact. The saving grace of the event was the adjudicator. After every night’s performances she would read out her thoughts and comments on the night’s offerings. She was blessed with the gift of making great constructive criticism about even the weakest of the plays and often pointed out elements that I missed or would not have thought to describe in the way she did. It was an absolute pleasure listening to her and I learnt so much about stagecraft.
Our group didn’t perform until the last night which made a somewhat nerve-wracking wait. Our entry was the European premier of David Auburn’s newest play Amateurs. Even though I am most definitely biased, the performance was truly amazing and I was very honoured to do my small part as the sound technician. We came away with 1st place and also Best Actress, making it a very successful FEATS.
I can’t wait for next year when FEATS will be in Hamburg and hosted by my theatre company. We have so much work to do before then, but I can’t think of a more awesome group of people to do it with.