Following in the footsteps of two Festivals in Winterthur and one in Geneva, the Fourth Swiss Theatre Encounter will take place in Italian-speaking Switzerland, in the towns of Lugano, Chiasso and Bellinzona during the Ascension break in 2017. Over the long weekend the theatre-going public will be able to enjoy the jury's selection, and do so in a part of the country that offers a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking scenery of mountains and lakes.
Next year's Encounter will be an opportunity to visit the entirely new LAC Cultural Centre on the banks of Lake Lugano – the magnificent LAC will be at the heart of the Festival. The public will also be able to rediscover the historic Teatro Sociale a true architectural gem at the centre of Bellinzona, as well as the lesser known but equally historic Cinema Teatro in Chiasso, on Switzerland's southern border.
The Encounter will open at the LAC on 24th May 2017 with the gala evening at which the Swiss Theatre Awards will be presented by Swiss Department of Culture. The awards honour an array of Swiss artistic talents and enhance their profile.
Cooperation between the two organizations promotes exchanges between theatre professionals, politicians and heads of arts and culture departments in cantons and towns.
The Encounter will again benefit from an accompanying programme of talks and discussions on theatre and theatrical skills. Our committee, working closely with the local organizers in Ticino, is planning the subjects to be discussed at the special sessions; they will bring together students and theatre professionals and address the theatre enthusiast.
We should keep in mind the Encounter's purpose, as defined by the Executive Committee: to give the public and professionals a chance to see - or see again - recent Swiss productions whose staging and writing impressed the selection committee. Another aim is to showcase artists from Switzerland's four language communities, from both private and publicly funded theatres; all plays will have surtitles. This diversity of origin and artistic background is at the heart of this project that goes from strength to strength with each successive Festival.
The first three Encounters have helped the steering committee hone its skills. We would like to perpetuate the event by strengthening its foundations and have to this end appointed Kathrin Lötscher as Director. Until now the post was re-advertised after every Encounter, so this appointment will provide continuity and follow-up for the event.
We guarantee that this Festival – unique in Switzerland, perhaps in the world – will again showcase the country's linguistic diversity and its performing talents.
I cordially invite you to Ticino from 24th to 28th May 2017 for the Fourth Swiss Theatre Encounter.
Sandrine Kuster, Presidentof the Swiss Theatre Encounter Association