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Hugo De Greef: “Handing over experiences to the next generation of festival makers"

6 March 2014

In the run-up to the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Edinburgh from 3-10 April 2014, all presenters who will participate to exchange with 52 young artistic festival directors from all over the world will be introduced. Nine renowned festival directors will guide the participants throughout the seven days of the Atelier EDINBURGH 2014. One of them is Hugo De Greef, Co-founder and Board member of The Festival Academy and former EFA Secretary General, who is also the General Coordinator of the Atelier.

“The Atelier is about formulating experiences and how to hand over these experiences to the next generation of festival makers, focusing thematically on the very essence of festivals: the artistic production,” said Hugo De Greef.

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers was launched by the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 2006, when Hugo De Greef was the Association’s Secretary General (2004-2008). Today, he is the General Coordinator of the Atelier, amongst other functions in the cultural sector, both in Belgium and internationally.

Hugo De Greef continuously fights for better conditions of art and artists around the world. To mention just a few highlights in what has been a distinguished career in the cultural sector: Hugo De Greef co-founded the Informal European Theatre Meeting (IETM), the Flemish Theatre monthly ETCETERA, the international publication THEATERSCHRIFT, the Philosophy Festival, the European House for Culture in Brussels, and in 2013 the School of Gaasbeek, a new workplace and residency for artists near Brussels. Hugo De Greef has been the General Manager of the Kaaitheater in Brussels for 20 years. He was the General Manager of the European Capital of Culture in Brugge 2002 and Artistic Director for Brussels 2000. From 2007 to 2010 he was the General Manager of the Flagey Arts Centre in Brussels and in 1998/1999 he was the Artistic Advisor of the Flanders Festival.

His international activities include, amongst others: co-productions with Flemish/Belgian, European and American artists, organisation of the Flemish Arts presentation during the Expo in Lisbon in 1998, member of the advisory board for the Theaterformen festival for the Expo in Hannover in 2000, initiator for the New Europe festival in New York in October 1999.

Until recently Hugo De Greef was advisor for International Cultural Policy towards the Minister of Culture in Flanders. He is a a Board member of ”A Soul for Europe” and the European House for Culture, President of PARTS, a dance school in Brussels founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and President of Passa Porta, the house of literature in Brussels.

“We could feel at every moment the experience he gained in his various functions as a theatre director but also as an advisor for the cultural politics of his country. He was a good organiser, leader and at the same time showed subtle diplomacy and great listening. [...] Hugo De Greef knows how to listen, guide, highlight a word, which makes him an outstanding mediator,” said one of the Atelier LJUBLJANA participants in 2012.

Nine renowned mentors from all over the world will guide the participants throughout the seven days of the Atelier EDINBURGH 2014 under the coordination of Hugo De Greef ): Mark Ball (Artistic Director London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), UK), Bernard Faivre d’Arcier (former long-standing Director Avignon Festival, President Lyon Biennial, France), Heiner Goebbels (Artistic Director Ruhrtriennale, Germany), Nele Hertling (Vice President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Germany), Grace Lang (Programme Director Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, China), Joseph V. Melillo (Artistic Director Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), USA), Michal Merczyński (General Director Malta Festival Poznań, Poland), and Sir Jonathan Mills (Festival Director and Chief Executive Edinburgh International Festival, UK).

More information about the Atelier EDINBURGH 2014 can be found on the Atelier website.