Tryater (NL), phōnēs leading organisation, hosted the playwrights meeting from November 26 – 30, 2022, to which all partners sent their commissioned writers. Two women and six men, extremely different in experience, age and artistic direction, met to get to know each other and to exchange views on their forthcoming projects in detailed discussions. Everyone gave an insight into his/her own work and the situation of their respective minority languages and addition to the situation initial thoughts on their individual projects. This quickly gave rise to intensive debates, which once again testified to the urgency of a project like phōnē.
In order to intensify the creative exchange and to find a partner for the artistic exchange, residencies that are possible within phōnē, the authors were asked to brainstorm in two groups on the project-subject “humans and nature”. Wonderfully different, grandiose and absurd, political and futuristic piece ideas were presented.
The whole meeting and the talks were moderated by Elisa Braun, project manager, and Odette Bereska, experienced EU project dramaturge.
In addition to the direct exchange, invited guest speakers provided exciting input. The Dutch playwright Tjeerd Bischoff introduced his working method, which is heavily research based and exemplary as a great starting point for the projects within phōnē.
In her lecture, Judith van der Elst, archeologist, creative entrepreneur and part of the research center Image in Context (Hanze University Groningen) presented the connection between language and environment using the example of North American indigenous languages and referred to the importance of linguistic diversity as a dynamic archive of ecological knowledge.
In a third Zoom-Keynote, the British author Richard Hurford introduced his project “OurTopia”. This original arts activism project provides an innovative creative space for communities to explore, how to change the world with art and is exemplary for the phōnē community projects.
There was also the opportunity to get to know Tryater with a performance. Tatiana Pratley, Artistic Director, informed the European guests about the special nature of Dutch Saint Nicholas, the main character of the production “Sintgelok”, and the current debates on this tradition.
Referring to the writers’ theme of their play, “humans and nature”, we spent one afternoon in the Frisian countryside to explore the specialities of Frisian Wadden Sea as Unesco world heritage. We did a mudflat hike accompanied by an experienced guide and a Frisian poet. Finally, we visited a local museum about ancient Frisian culture at the sea.
Throughout the meeting, Nathalie Beekmann, researcher from the Hanze University of Groningen, conducted one-hour, very complex interviews with the individual authors, which will form the basis for the extensive evaluation of phōnē.