Festival of Fools






Malta. The Weekender, 19-08-2006


In every harbour the crew builds ashore a 300m2 “festive fortress”
that includes the ship as stage and backdrop and a seating platform for up to 250 persons.

This “Blue Square” serves for two or three months as a local theatre and temporary meeting place
and as a county fair for the Arts and Theatre.

Not A Foolish Mission At All
St Petersburg, Russia. Soroka, 21-08-1995


This itinerant small-scale arts festival focuses on the personal involvement of an audience of all cultures and ages and on a cross-cultural exchange between local and foreign guest artists.

The Blue Square welcomes a range of disciplines: like music, dance, performances, installations, writing, drawing, painting, dressing, design, video, photo or storytelling,

Welcome also are music sessions, exhibitions, workshops, courses, lectures, debates, parties. and all kind of meetings proposed by local artists or the local community.

Most Important, We have a Dream
St Petersburg. Russia. Soroka, 21-08-1995



The Ship of Fools proposes a popular feast that lasts as long as she stays in town.
Apart from her comedies she proposes other theatrical manifestations of high symbolical value.

That starts with the Disastrous Arrival, where the ship enters port with improbable manoeuvres
- weighing a wooden anchor!

Then she holds a Jolly Press Conference on Board as an open invitation to the public and press
and an extravagant Parade of Fools to the city centre.

The Fools pay a Theatrical Visit to High Dignitaries, mostly to the Town Hall, for an exceptional and ceremonial reception in which small gifts and jolly sermons are exchanged – and sometimes a calligraphic ‘Welcome Letter’. This gives lieu to a Toast of Honour and in the best of cases, to a Solemn Banquet.

The crew pays a Theatrical Visit to Institutions for a meeting and a simple, shared meal
in a psychiatrical or penitentiary centre, a hospital, home for the elderly, school, factory or other such.

The public is received on board for a Theatrical Visit of the Ship, a sequence of sketches on seven different locations: the Garden, Pent House, Wheel House, Engine Room, Dressing Room, Clandestine’s Cabin and the Big Artist’s Hull.

The funfair finishes with the Sad Departure of the Ship, dramatic,
because nobody knows if the ship will ever return!

A Travel to … Laughter
Heraklein, Crete, Greece. Nea Kriti, 23-08-2007



The basic discipline of the Festival of Fools is comic theatre. The main theatrical events of the festival are:

A continuous theatrical program from arrival till departure.

A theatre show about the shared history of the Transatlantic trade.

Workshops for adults and children resulting in a final performance.


Smiling Like Kids
Eckenförde, Germany, 30-05-1995



The Festival of Fools is an artistic collaboration in which four partners participate:

The crew
The neighbourhood, the local community,
Local artists,
Specially invited guest artists from abroad.


The Pilgrims of Art
Vigo, Spain. Faro de Vigo, 20-07-1999



The artists in residence is one of the core activities of the festival.

About five guest artists are invited to stay on board during each festival.
Jointly with local artists they dispose of a unique laboratory and platform
for shared projects of an artistic and/or educational nature.


Casting Down The Mighty

Design Gieslijn Escher

Thousand years ago, the Feast of Fools (Festum stultorum) was an exuberant celebration
that briefly put the church hierarchy with debauched rituals on its head.

The highlight was a subversive verse of the Magnificat repeated endlessly by an enthusiastic crowd:
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble".

In the seventies, the Festival of Fools became a legendary Amsterdam street theatre festival, impulsed by Jango Edwards that for the first time in modern history claimed the public space as an artistic meeting place.

This festival gave the immediate impetus for the Oerol and Belfast Festival
and later to the Dutch festival culture that would grow into a major Dutch export product.

Now the Festival of Fools sets sail on a world tour as a small arts festival along the ancient trade routes
for an intensive community project.

"The Elevation of the Humble" remains the motto of the Festival of Fools.