Be Festival

Directors’ statement


The significant changes brought to everyone’s lives everywhere over the last weeks have propelled us to consider the role we all play in our community. For us at BE FESTIVAL, that’s you: our audiences, our artists, our team, our partners, and the culture sector more broadly. We truly hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

Whilst we navigate this evolving situation, rather than rushing our response, we have taken the time to thoroughly discuss the position we want to take as an organisation. Our priorities are clear: first, to keep everyone safe; then, in line with Arts Council England guidelines, to protect freelancers and artists – the most vulnerable individuals in the cultural sector; and finally, in dialogue with the artists, to provide our audiences with an artistic response that is coherent with our ethos and with these unprecedented circumstances.

We have looked at the feasibility of our plans taking into consideration the precariousness of the cultural sector and the resilience of our organisation. After consulting with our board, funders, and the artists involved in the programmed 2020 festival, we have made several decisions.

First, in order to keep everyone safe, we believe that the right thing to do is to postpone the planned festival. We will provide the dates of our live BE FESTIVAL 2021 soon. And we’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the continued support of our UK and Spanish Best of BE tour venue partners, and in particular the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Secondly, we remain committed to bringing you a programme of innovative and high-quality art featuring practitioners from across Europe this year. Paradoxically, while in lock-down online platforms present exciting opportunities to engage with the European network of audiences and artists which we have built over the last ten years. We are eager to embrace this new territory, so we are going digital and launching #BE@Home Festival 2020. We have agreed with the artists to only present work that feels relevant to their practice, to the context of confinement and to the specific tools available to creators and audiences. Stay tuned on our social media channels for further announcements.


Looking at the situation in the rest of Europe, we feel privileged to have Arts Council England, whose guidelines we are proud to adhere to. Their unwavering support allows us to continue to pay all our staff, which is made up of part-time freelancers who are working remotely, and all the artists we had confirmed for this year’s programme, despite contracts not having been issued.

We are determined to honour our commitments, whilst ensuring the organisation remains in a safe, economically viable position to guarantee its future. As a result, we will pay programmed artists the full fee agreed for their performance, even if they are unable to present their piece in 2021. If they can present it next year, we will pay them a fee and a half, or two full fees if they also present work at this year’s online festival #BE@Home.

We hope that these measures will help mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic for the people we are working with this year. 


BE FESTIVAL is run by a small team of people who are committed to supporting and presenting European art and artists to the communities of Birmingham and beyond. We’re ambitious and always aim to accomplish a lot on very little. So, if you would like to help us continue delivering our vision, you can make a donation, no matter how small, by clicking here. Thank you.

We’ll be issuing another update soon. In the meantime, catch BestOfBE@Home – a triple bill of our UK tour performances featuring three incredible female theatre-makers, whose powerful performances will have you riveted. Available to watch, free of charge, online until April 19th 2020 by following this link.

Isla Aguilar & Miguel Oyarzun
BE FESTIVAL Co-Directors

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