BRAVE FESTIVAL is a meeting
with another man
This is not a festival about works of art, but about people, who with the use of art, save forgotten and abandoned cultures. We show the courage of those, who see the greatest strength in their own otherness. At Brave Festival, these are people who are most important and what they try to say: who they are and why they try to save themselves.
Since its first edition, Brave Festival has been visited by people who want to get to know the unknown, walk the distance from foreignness to rite, custom, to understand the behaviour of people who are ethnically different. Every year’s festival journey of its audience and representatives of still alive spiritualties is a lesson of openness and tolerance, which can make us contribute at least a bit to saving the multicultural identity of our world.
- It’s a festival of brave people - Grzegorz Bral always emphasises – people, who say where they are from, what their values are, what their traditions are. I would like the audience to understand that we don’t show art. We use this medium to talk about something much more serious.
We show diversity and the energy that comes from it. We invite the forgotten and rejected ones, to hear their voice, we activate the elderly and the disabled. We also plant trees in Wrocław.
Being BRAVE means brave actions. Actions, which bring benefits.
BRAVE FESTIVAL may happen every day.
Today's world is a board across which hundreds of thousands of people migrate, flee, and relocate, in search of hope or refuge. It would be difficult to name or even categorize all forms of modern exile. You would need only to immerse yourself in the works of Bauman or Eliade to understand that the category of the "Other" is broad-ranging, dramatic, and well-capable of sparking a reaction.
The twelfth edition of the festival has the subtitle: "Outcasts". We decided not to discuss refugees. That is too fresh, too painful, and still happening in front of our very eyes, here and now. Instead, we decided to discuss people who have always been different in their own communities or in foreign ones, for which they have been stigmatized. This year's edition will be host to a number of events from across the world showing people whose everyday lives are, for a variety of reasons, very difficult and complicated. We show people who used art to change or even utilize their exclusion.
About the Festival
Brave Festival is the only Polish review of cultures, traditions and rites from all over the world, which are on the border of becoming extinct. The festival unchangeably keeps the meaningful subtitle “Against Cultural Exile”. Its first edition took place in 2005 and today it is one of the most important emblems of Wrocław.
Grzegorz Bral, the originator and artistic director, created a specific festival showing the authentic art of various nations, which is cultivated and maintained by participants of communities, who live in unfavourable social, religious and political conditions or which are endangered with a loss of their own culture for the benefit of civilizational assimilation.
Brave Festival consists of plays, rites, concerts as well as a film review, educational and integration actions, meetings with artists, workshops and ecological events.
What is next?
By purchasing a ticket to the Brave Festival event, you support underprivileged children and orphans.
Every year, the proceeds from tickets go to the ROKPA charity organization and their humanitarian efforts.
Thus far, we've donated nearly PLN 840,000. During last year's edition of the Brave Festival, we gathered PLN 130,000. We’ve donated all of that money to support children’s education in the Tibet region of China. Every year, ROKPA helps in providing education to nearly eight thousand of the most underprivileged pupils and students in Tibet — mostly orphans, children of single parents and nomads. Proper education helps Tibetans overcome poverty and gives them a chance for a better future. Kids in schools supported by ROKPA are very diligent — their scores are better in comparison with other schools. This opportunity drives them to study hard.
The ROKPA International charity organization for 35 years now has stayed true to its motto of “Helping where help is needed”. They serve those living in the most impoverished areas, where assistance from other help organizations often cannot be attained. ROKPA branches can be found in Nepal (since 1980), in the Tibet region of China (since 1990), South Africa (since 1991) and Zimbabwe (since 1992). ROKPA also hosts soup kitchens for the poor and the homeless in Scotland, Belgium, and Poland. The organization was created in Zürich by Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche — a medical doctor and meditation master, Lee Wyler — a Swiss actress and her father Veit Wyler — a lawyer. Today, their work is continued in 17 branches across the world, including Poland. A multitude of volunteers assist in facilitating long-term help plans for those living in areas of extreme poverty around the globe. The organization has no political or religiouscharacter — they simply help those in need. In 2014, ROKPA raised a total of CHF 3,395,023 to realize 120 help projects in Tibet, Nepal, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Every year, representatives of the organization visit places and institutions funded by ROKPA. Help from ROKPA is always integrated with the cultural background of the community, respecting their knowledge, skills and know-how, as well as traditional medicine and religion. As a result, ROKPA initiatives and efforts are lasting and find approval among the population.
Every year, about 50 thousand meals are distributed to the needy in ROKPA soup kitchens.
ROKPA also provides basic medical care to over 20 thousand people suffering from extreme poverty.
On a yearly basis, the organization helps provide education for 10 thousand impoverished pupils and students — from elementary schools to institutions of higher education.
By facilitating projects in the Tibet region of China ROKPA helps cultivate the Tibetan culture.
Over the course of a year, about 120 different ROKPA projects are being realized.
Brave Kids – children’s friendship
These are meetings of children and youth artist teams from different parts of the world, for whom practicing art is a form of work on their social situation.
Grzegorz Bral – a director, teacher. Somebody once said about him that it is a man who runs like the wind. The originator of Brave Festival. Co-founder and director of the Song of the Goat Theatre, which for years of its activity gained international recognition as one of the most innovative European teams.
Grzegorz Bral was awarded for artistic achievements many times. The list of awards and prizes includes the Order of Merit in Service of Polish Culture, Scotsman Fringe First 2004 and Herald Angel 2004 (for the play Chronicles – a Lamentation). In 2009, his theatre was nominated to the European Theatre Prize in the category of New Theatrical Realities. At Fringe Festival 2012 in Edinburgh, the Songs of Lear directed by Bral were awarded Fringe First, which is the oldest and most prestigious award of the festival. The prize is awarded every year to most innovative projects of the festival by The Scotsman magazine. Moreover, the Songs of Lear received the Herald Archangel prize as well as the special prize at the Musical Theatre Matters Awards at the same edition of the festival. The Songs of Lear won the first place in the ranking of The List, among all the theatrical plays presented in Edinburgh. The performance was also nominated to the Total Theatre Award.
“You need to flow with the world’s stream. It continuously brings something new. When I hear a question where I am artistically at a given moment, I can only say that I’m flowing. And not only am I flowing. In a way, I’m on a trampoline. My theatre evolves, a lot is happening and I can feel that I’m all the time at the beginning of my artistic path” – Grzegorz Bral
I asked myself a question: what is important today?
Some people have been trying to persuade me to organise a theatre festival in Wrocław. However, after years of going to our national and foreign festivals I felt tired and fed up with the ever-present, dominating formula...
In August 2005 I followed in Antonin Artaud’s footsteps. Like this great director, actor and theatre theorist, I went to Mexico. In the 1930s he visited the Tarahumara Indians, who are the last of the ninety six Mexican tribes that survived conquests.
This meeting resulted in the creation of the Theatre of Cruelty by this French genius of theory. The Theatre not only changed the shape of the European theatre of the twentieth century, but also influenced the greatest directors, including Brook and Grotowski. I thought that if that meeting influenced Artaud so deeply, maybe I would experience something, too. I went to look for the Tarahumara Indians but… I could not find them. I could not, because in the Sierra Tarahumara new through-ways had been constructed and the tribes had to flee. There was no guide who could ride with me horseback for two or three days. However, I met a man who had devoted dozens of years to protecting this culture. He said: ‘They won’t manage on their own. They don’t know what money is, what is its power. They know anything about human rights, because they live in such a harmony with nature that their moral codes are the obvious part of their lives. They don’t need any written codes because they don’t know what a lie is.’ The other problem in the Sierra Tarahumara are drug dealers who make Indians work on their plantations.
If the Indians do not consent, they are chased away from their own land or killed. That is why my interlocutor makes films, collects old songs, legends, dances, supports the Indians financially. He does not want them to escape from their tribes. He can see the need for protecting this one of thousands of cultures. The cultures, I would say, from the margins of the world.
Festival of the Brave
When those facts, those people, those stories got to me, I realised what type of festival we have to create. Brave Festival – the festival of the brave, of the people who say where they are from, what their values are, traditions and spirituality. This is not a festival about works of art but about the art which can save and protect thousands of forgotten, abandoned, lonely cultures and people.
We had to create Brave Festival to fight against chasing people away form their own culture, from their own sensitivity; the festival about the world that is dying, which will pass away if we will not do anything to stop this process at least a little. The Festival of the people who do not agree to follow models promoted by mass culture, who seek for the deepest possible sources of inspiration – inner inspiration. Sensitive and tolerant people who are not afraid to deepen their sensitivity.
Song of the Goat
The Brave Festival’s organiser is the Song of the Goat Theatre. The association gathers people whose goal is to carry out cultural activities in the sphere of theatre and music, to educate through art and promote and support other artists, authors as well as communities whose traditions are endangered.
In the beginning was the theatre
Song of the Goat Theatre (Teatr Pieśń Kozła) has developed an international reputation as one of Europe’s most innovative theatre companies, committed to researching what makes theatre distinctive to other art forms.
Song of the Goat Theatre’s ever-evolving training, rehearsal and performance process is treated as laboratories, enabling the Company to research the craft of the actor and director and to evolve new techniques, performance languages and work. Commitment to connection informs the development of each new training approach, which always seeks to integrate movement, voice, song and text, creating performance that has an inherent musicality and connects with the audience on a sensory level.
The quality and distinctiveness of Song of the Goat Theatre’s pedagogical work is an integrated part of the Company’s approach – a way to enrich as well as to disseminate its own practice. The theatre was approached in 2004 by Manchester Metropolitan University to establish an MA Acting Programme (until 2012). From this year on, Bral School of Acting in cooperation with Song of the Goat Theatre will run a one-year course for all theatre actors and practitioners. The main subject of the course is “Coordination technique”, the fundamental training method of Song of the Goat Theatre. This course consists of the organic linking together and integration of voice, text, energy, and imagination. Classes are enhanced by lectures entitled “Anthropology of Acting”. This studies programme has been designed for actors, directors, performers, and dancers.
Song of the Goat Theatre also delivers a thriving Summer Workshop Village programme to international actors and practitioners, which provide a practical insight into the Company’s training-based theatre approach.
By purchasing a ticket Brave Festival, you bring help to the poor and orphaned children in Tibetan parts of China and Nepal.
We help because we can. As long as we have a roof over our heads and we're healthy, our problems are relatively small compared with the huge suffering of the world. Helping gives meaning to life. - Lea Wyler, co-founder of ROKPA International.