BNP Paribas Hong Kong and the foundation created a three-year sponsorship called The Artists-in-Residence Project 2011-13. Organised by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, this multi-disciplinary arts education programme aims to enhance the appreciation of performing arts among secondary school pupils, particularly those living in remote area of the city.
This year’s edition runs from mid-October to February. About 30 pupils will be selected to join a series of workshops. They will then perform their own show at the three participating schools next month and the Kwai Tsing Theatre in February.
Festival organisers have selected Compagnie 111, a performing group formed by French artists Aurélien Bory and Olivier Alenda, to host this year’s training. Coincidently, Bory has benefited from the support of the bank’s foundation since 2003. He is a major figure in the contemporary circus scene for his non-standard designs that include elements of theatre, circus, dance, visual arts and music.
Interview with Aurélien Bory, artistic director for Compagnie111:
Aurélien Bory, You are partnering with BNP Paribas and the Hong Kong Arts Festival to host the Artists-in-Residence Project 2012. Is this the first time you’ve worked on this kind of education project in Asia?
It is indeed the first time I’ve participated in an education project in Asia. Animating workshops is always a very creative process and I am always happy to share some artistic views with pupils.
What do you want to deliver to the participating pupils? Will it be the awareness of the relationship between humans and technology, just like your production Sans Objet which you will bring to the Hong Kong stage next year?
Sans Objet is a dialogue between human and technology because technology is taking a growing place in our lives.
I like to question this on stage. Theatre is a good place to consider serious questions, in order to put some distance to them or to make some fun of them.
For this particular workshop I will propose that the pupils play with a video installation that affects our perceptions. I will work on what I call the “existent”, started with my last shows Les Sept Planches de la Ruse, Questcequetudeviens? and Sans Objet. Here, the “existent” will be the video installation.
Could you tell us what will be your major challenges in organising this training workshop? For instance, your shows always involve professional acrobatic moves and giant stage props. How would you make it fit for the pupils’ performance?
I like physical theatre. I don’t work with words but movements and bodies, and besides, I try to work from the abilities of the pupils. They will be actors in the etymological definition; the actor is performing the action. To me, theatre is an art of space. Space remains the wider framework within which everything is created and evolves. This also applies to the dramaturgy in my work and to the fact that it is brought about by the scenographic choices, and not the other way around, like it usually is.
You are one of the supported artists from BNP Paribas Foundation. Could you tell us how it helps with your creation?
The BNP Paribas Foundation has been at my side since 2003 and gives generous support to my works. It really gives me the freedom to create. Its long and faithful support is essential because it secures both my work in progress and my coming creations or activities. This support has two financial forms: one dedicated to the creations, the other one more punctual as a support for our worldwide tours. For instance, thanks to the Foundation, we were able to organise the Asian tour, including the shows in Hong Kong of Les Sept Planches de la Ruse in 2009. This support is also based on the active and attentive relationship with the BNP Paribas Foundation’s Paris team. Moreover, the partnership with the Foundation encourages others to support my works. For all these reasons, BNP Paribas is the best partnership I have ever had.
The BNP Paribas Foundation has recently announced their support of Bory’s new creation, Géométriede Caoutchouc, which premiered in France last month.
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