Showcase of creative works of “Shift Key” project at the 59th MESS Festival

Creative works of “Shift Key” project initiated as part of the Creative Europe programme will be shown this year at the International Theatre Festival MESS. Five innovative European theatre festivals are included in this project, experienced in working on artistic talent development, and MESS Festival has the leading role therein as the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is implemented in partnership with festivals from the United Kingdom (BE Festival CIC), Spain (Teatrako Teatro Elkartea), Italy (Associazione Culturale Area06) and Holland (Stichting Its Festival).

12 artists and/or artistic troupes were selected through SHIFT KEY project, based on their current status, work and subject matter, which will be supported by collaborating together during 2019 and 2020. The project will assist their artistic development and establishment, strengthen their capacities and represent them within artistic communities and the cultural industry. Over a line of activities – from having mentoring, support with festival performances, and promotion of artists – the festivals too will gain further promotion of their work and strengthen their presence on the European cultural stage.

Mokhallad Rasem, an Iraqi actor and director based in Belgium, will present his work at the 59th edition of MESS Festival. Rasem’s work is powerful, universal and stubbornly optimistic. Through his projects he shows sensibility for subjects such as leaving home due to violence, which he himself had gone through as a consequence of war in Iraq. With performances “Revolution of the Body” and “Waiting”, Rasem and the Belgian troupe Toneelhuis portray the roles of origin in the sense of the world’s outlook upon us, especially focusing on his own origin and its effect on his life after emigrating.

“Revolution of the Body” explores the subject of Arab Spring and the effect of images coming from Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq and Syria on people who originate from these countries. How do they react when they hear news about family members who stayed in those countries? Through guerilla dancing, three artists are questioning how the body reacts to fear and violence. “Waiting” explores the ways in which and the circumstances under which people wait, and situations in the world which make people wait. Letters, papers, death cases, God, better times… (Monday, September 30th at 9 PM, Youth Theatre Sarajevo).

Thomas Steyaert, a Sarajevo-based Belgian artist will hold a presentation today at the History Museum of BiH titled “SHUFFLE #1” as part of the “Shift Key” project, which is the result of a 5-day workshop wherein people with different disabilities participated. The workshop was based on exploring various abstract ideas in the context of politics in BiH in order to create a compilation of performative actions or landscapes with the potentiality for multiple readings. This presentation, among other things, has the goal of showing the character of inclusiveness of MESS Festival (Shift Key presentation: SHUFFLE #1, Sunday, September 29th at 6 PM, History Museum of BiH).

Providing assistance to applicants from BiH wishing to apply to project calls of Creative Europe is the Creative Europe Desk in BiH which operates through the support of the European Commision and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of BiH in two separate offices – in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Ongoing calls for application of the Creative Europe programme and all other information in regard to this programme can be found on the Creative Europe Desk in BiH website: and the Desk Facebook page:

Creative Europe is a programme of the European Commision providing support and co-financing to projects from the culture and audiovisual sectors lasting from 2014 until 2020. Eligible to apply for Creative Europe calls for projects are all public or private organizations (NGO and business sector) which operate in the culture or audiovisual sectors, and that are registered as legal entities based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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