Pafos School of Spectacle

Pafos2017 and Walk the Plank have successfully completed the first EU School of Spectacle. From the 6-9th of October, artists and creative practitioners from five European countries, including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ireland, UK and Cyprus came together for training in Pafos.

Sixteen trainees – including designers, arts managers, visual artists and theatre makers – worked with five trainers to explore techniques including the use of light, fire and choreography in outdoor theatre, and aspects of event management. In addition, teachers from twenty eight schools around Pafos took part in training to learn how to make lanterns from willow and tissue paper. They will take this technique back into their schools, and work with children who will then carry the lanterns they make as part of the Opening ceremony for Pafos2017 in January.

For the final element of the training school, everyone came together to make a small procession and a celebration in Geroskipou Square on Sunday evening. This was a chance for the team to try out their ideas for animating the public realm: the Square was  illuminated by lanterns and fire sculpture created by the participants.

The event attracted attention from local families and young people, was supported by the Mayor of Geroskipou, and teachers that came to carry lanterns with their own families. Drummers from the Pafos Municipality Band provided a rhythmic accompaniment to the procession into the Square, to the delight of those gathered in the coffee shops and restaurants nearby.

Events like this can bring communities together in shared celebrations of place and local identity” said Liz Pugh, Walk the Plank’s Creative Producer. “We are working towards the Opening Ceremony, and the teachers of Pafos are a vital piece of the jigsaw, which will see a team of Cypriot artists collaborating with international artists”.

“Working together, we will make a spectacular free outdoor event that will provide a fitting opening to our city’s year of culture” added Georgia Doetzer, Pafos2017 Artistic Programme Director. “This training has given the participants new skills and confidence, as well as starting a new network of cities linked to the European Capitals of Culture, like Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Kaunas (Lithuania).”

The next School of Spectacle, in Ireland, will take place in 2017, when several artists from Pafos will travel to Limerick to be part of the next international training programme, designed to develop new audiences for cultural activity as well as transEuropean employment opportunities. The two year investment from Europe was secured through the Creative Europe fund, and is supported by Pafos2017.

Photo by foto LARKO, Pafos