A Word from the Director

Circles of age

An embroidery made of concentric circles…a tree has taken root in them. Behind, an orange circle that could be a beating heart, a sun, a place of gathering. In the background, lines cross the white space. Cracks, or lines of transmission?

The circles that mark the age of a tree are called growth-rings. Every year a new ring is formed; every year the tree becomes stronger, more able to shelter life, more abundant in its gifts of fruit and shade.

We are all, individually and collectively, the result of a long, slow process of maturation marked by sun, rain, frost, sickness and the changing of the seasons. Our age is our strength. Yet, this pandemic has cast a brutal light on the way we treat our old people and on the breakdown of intergenerational relationships. How can we restore this connection?

Storytelling has always been an art of transmission. Whether it be around a fire, under a banyan tree or at the counter of a bar, on stage, in a cave or on the terrace of a skyscraper, stories are transmitted and transformed from generation to generation. What do the ancient stories mean today? What do we choose to keep, and what do we reject in these stories; what are our dreams for the future? How has our past shaped our multiple identities, and what heritage do we wish to transmit to those who will follow us? What do we hold most precious, most sacred?

After a year of trauma and isolation, the Festival gathers young and old, wise and impetuous around stories old as the world and young as last night’s rain so together we can repair what has been broken and dream a future full of nourishing trees.

Stéphanie Bénéteau

Artistic Director