By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team

04 July 2018 - 17:06

© Doc. British Council

It often feels exciting to discover new forms of theatre and what new forms of art and entertainment may emerge in future society, and last year’s British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase was no exception.

The Edinburgh Showcase - which took place from 21-26 August 2017 - is a programme of 30 companies selected from nearly 300 applications to showcase a snapshot of the diverse and latest work being created in the UK. As a showcase, it comprises of theatre and dance, including new writing, devised and physical theatre, live art, installation and interactive art.

With Edinburgh’s worldwide reputation for the arts and festivals, the one-week showcase is also presented to a delegation of visiting international programmers, where it would give the opportunity for theatre and dance companies to tour overseas, build new relationships and opening up new markets for the UK’s performing arts.

We had the chance to catch up with 2 out of the 5 delegates from Indonesia that visited the showcase last year - Adinda Luthvianti from Jakarta Art Council and Abdi Karya from Makassar-based 5ToMidnight International. Both spoke to us about the things they discovered during last year’s impressive showcase, and one very special performance that caught their attention and will be showcased in Indonesia soon.

How was your overall experience when attending The Edinburgh Showcase 2017?

Adinda: There were many things that I could pick up from my visit to the Edinburgh Showcase last year. I was particularly drawn to the new and diverse art forms presented there, and how each of them could be applied and practiced within Indonesia’s art scene. It was also a chance for me to see how different art themes could be presented in a contemporary approach.

Abdi: The Edinburgh Showcase gives me a great overview of how an art festival that once had a fringe spirit, after much progress and development, was able to shift into an established festival.  It is interesting to learn on the journey to a successful art festival helped in changing the face of a city. How an art festival becomes a celebration not just the artists and the festival’s audience, but everyone in the city.

I also can feel how the citizens of the city become an important part of this festival. Isn’t great if everyone talked about art events, even if they did not have time to watch or attend the program?

What did you find interesting during your visit there, both in the showcase or the city?

Adinda: It was very interesting to see the diversity of the art forms presented in the showcase, also by how Edinburgh’s geographical conditions and infrastructure became one of the main supporting aspects in supporting the festival. I really appreciated the festival management’s effort to make sure that every corner of the city took part in celebrating the festival – we could see that every restaurant, café, and streets were filled with the festival’s materials.

Abdi: I was amazed by the platforms set up by the committee, how the artists were able to promote their own shows in public places. They spread pamphlets, put up posters, performed their play rehearsals in smaller shows, which essentially demanded artists to work independently, effectively, efficiently, quickly, straightforward and all of this gave the opportunity for artists to hone their self-management skills.

Out of all performances that you watched at the festival, which performance do you think stood out and why?

Adinda:  To me, the performance ‘Nocturnes’ by Imitating the Dog could be perceived as a social message – how the past meets the present, through creativity that removes artistic boundaries, thus creating a collaboration between cinema and theatre. Watching the Imitating the Dog’s performance reminded me with the young and passionate Indonesian filmmakers who are constantly seeking new ways of presenting themes and idea, and I could sense this passion through ‘Nocturnes’

Abdi: ‘Nocturnes’ gives the audience space where they can see two works at once treated as an equal and different event. This performance reminds me of a wayang kulit or Indonesian traditional puppet show, where the audience is well aware what is happening on the screen, and how the puppeteer is able to create certain movements on the puppets, while the songs accompanying the show is presented as if it exists in a different world. This parallelism or dualism is very strong in Indonesian traditional arts or in the east part of the country.-


Nocturnes; a performance by Imitating the Dog will be premiered in Jakarta and Makassar this July.