Vordingborgs Internationale
Egnsteater

Cantabile 2

Experimental theatre in constant development

Cantabile 2 wishes to approach and be close to each and every individual audience member.
We create performances that are emotionally moving for the audience. Our performances send the audiences on  sensual, poetic, and challenging journeys in physical and mental spaces, where transformative encounters between people take place.

The performers do not act or play any roles but – they are simply themselves and serve as gentle guides who introduce the challenges to the audience and lead them through carefully designed situations. This invites presence and exchange between the audience members, and between the audience and performers. By means of our unique theatre practise of audience participation – human specific performance – we wish that every audience member is seen and spoken to. Therefore, there is usually a maximum of 30-40 audience members – or rather participants – per performance.

Cantabile 2 rarely creates performances for the traditional theatre space. We often move into the surrounding world and develop performances for places where you least expect to find theatre.

Our Reumert – winning performance, Hidden Number, takes place in many different locations in a city, any city in which it is performed. The audience travel in groups of four  in large American cars to unexpected places where a performer awaits them and invites them into a sensuous universe. Each venue unfolds a different scene which is both, a stage of the journey and a distinct experience on its own each time with active participation of the audience. The richness of this performance universe and the participation of audience ensure that there can never be two participants who have identical experience nor can there be two groups that go on the same journey.

Our performances are based on the active involvement of each participant, therefore the name: human specific performance.

International Regional Theatre
Cantabile 2 has been the regional theatre in Vordingborg Municipality since 1990. Visionary people from the municipality’s cultural committee and the city’s theatre association were looking for a potential regional theatre at the time because the city had a large beautiful theatre hall. They spot Cantabile 2, who at the time resides in Copenhagen, with the very physical and experimental performances, two of which have passed Vordingborg on tour: The Castle of Passion and the Women of War.
In 1990, the first regional theatre agreement will be signed, and in 2020, when Cantabile 2 will celebrate its 30th anniversary as regional theatre, the new contract for 2021-2024 has just been signed. In it, one reads: “Cantabile 2 creates new encounters between performing arts and people. The Regional Theatre works at a high international level with performing arts that have human proximity and local anchorage in Vordingborg Municipality and the rest of the world. Cantabile 2 contributes to the development of the performing arts in the local area with activities that are directly related to the main task of the regional theatre: to produce two professional performing arts performances annually. In addition to its own theatre production, Cantabile 2’s activities include festivals, presentation of guest performances by other companies, touring, children’s and youth activities, teaching and development activities”.

In addition to Denmark, the touring company has included Germany, Italy, Russia, Scotland and the Middle East. And efforts in the area of children and young people’s activities have been strengthened in recent years, including with a four-year education project in the municipality’s schools, supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education: World Class. In 2017, Cantabile 2 established  Sensory Works – for children and young people who produce and tour with performances for children of different age groups and families.

WAVES Festival – International Performing Arts
Since 1991, Cantabile 2 has every second year organized the extensive festival that presents international performing arts in Vordingborg: WAVES Festival.

The intention of the festival has from the beginning been to bring performing arts of the highest quality into the city’s public spaces and bring the big world to Vordingborg.

WAVES Festival presents around 60 performances in a six-day programme with the latest in comedy, acrobatics, dance, new circus and performance, both indoors and outdoors and at schools in the region.
In addition, the festival includes a special program WAVES Xtra for Danish and international theatre professionals with artist talks, workshops, seminars and debates on performing arts, which gives the many participants ample opportunity to create and develop professional networks.

The latest WAVES Festival (2019) was visited by more than 23,000 spectators from both near and far. The next WAVES Festival, which is the 16th in a row, will take place from 22-28 August 2021.

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What is human specific performance?

At the heart of our performances is the intimate meeting between performer and spectator in a universe of immersion, trust and presence.

Cantabile 2’s theatrical work, and the techniques we have developed continuously since 2003, provide fertile ground for extraordinary encounters between people.

The ambition of our methods is to enable performers and spectators to be receptive and responsive to each other in a common exchange of openness and vulnerability that arises during our performances.

We offer the audience personal and intense experiences in the authentic meetings. This is why we often only have room for a limited number of spectators per performance.
A particular quality of Cantabile 2’s humane specific performances is the basic principle of non-fiction, i.e. the elimination of the role understood as the production of a different character than the person the performer is in his personal life outside the theatre.
Our performances can be understood as a form of multi-level gaming, filled with transformative encounters and interactions that take participants to new levels.
Participants go into our human specific performances individually, in one group or in several smaller groups. Each participant makes individual choices and gives completely personal answers that shape the performance uniquely for each participant. The set design is usually simple and creates an aesthetic sensory universe that reinforces a sense of presence and being in the present.

Each participant is seen, touched and spoken to in a series of interactions with the performers, and often the participants are deeply affected. Nullo Facchini, head of Cantabile 2: “As long as you dare to enter into intimacy, you always discover that there is no better place to be in this world. Intimacy is where you feel connected, where you experience that we should never feel alone, where you are part of something larger, part of the world, part of the universe, part of humanity.”

 

Sanseværk for children and youth

Sanseværk is the label which consolidates Cantabile 2's activities for children, youth and families.

Sanseværk was established in 2017 with a wish to offer the unique experience of participatory theatre to young audiences.

The artistic work of Sanseværk starts with the premise that creating a shared space of multi-sensory experiences and in-depth reflection enables the participants to better sense themselves, witness each other and experience being a part of a community. Inside this space, we wish to invite young audiences to venture into the areas of human existence which are not always easy to access or talk about. The performers’ role in the experience is to be gentle and carrying guides and companions that the audience can rely on and relate to. The performances of Sanseværk often bring the audience members truly close the their emotions. This experience can be a starting point for meaningful conversations in the classroom and at home.

Children assist in the creative proces of developing the performances
Audience is actively involved in all performances by Sanseværk. Therefore, it is important for the creative team to learn directly about children’s experience and to hear them evaluate the participation aspect.

During each creative process Sanseværk invites local school children to take part in the rehearsals. After each shared rehearsal, the children give feedback on all the artistic components, from sound, light and set design to the actors’ performance and all the activities they were participating in. The children are given plenty of time to describe their feelings and thoughts. The artistic team uses these rounds of feedback to adjust and improve the final work.

The team behind Sanseværk:
Siri Facchini Haff, who has been employed as an actress at Cantabile 2 since 2007, is the initiator and director of Sanseværk.

Siri runs Sanseværk with Karolina Pietrzykowska, another performer who has been associated with the theatre since 2008.
The two are behind the artistic work, ideas and concepts and production while Nullo Facchini, the leader of Cantabile 2, is the consultant director in their process.

In addition, various external professionals in directing, sound, light, scenography and construction design are affiliated with Sanseværk. Over the years, Sanseværk has built close relations with many external parties and the network continues to expand.

See more about Sansværk’s performances:
Embraced by Silence
At the Bottom of Darkness 
Trace of Animals

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History

Cantabile 2 – from Italy to Denmark – from site specific to human specific

1960: Nullo Facchini, born 5 October 1960 in Bologna.

1980: Travels to Denmark to visit Eugenio Barba and sign up to work in his experimental Odin Theatre in Holstebro. But they were on tour in South America, so Facchini went back to Italy.

1981: Instructs an amateur group from which he continues to work with five of the members and form teatro Cantabile.

1982: Teatro Cantabile ends and Nullo Facchini is hired as an instructor assistant with the professional company Teatro Nucleo.

1983: Invited by Nucleo’s leader to travel to Germany and Denmark to teach, and here he mocks seven talented performers, and together with them he founders Cantabile 2, and they move back to Italy for a while.

1984: Cantabile 2 settles in Denmark and performs with strong physical expressions in Copenhagen.

1985: School of Stage Arts – SOSA – is established as a course to train actors who will work at Cantabile 2. SOSA is a physically oriented acting education, started against the background of Cantabile 2’s and the Danish theatre world’s growing need for performers who master the art of both the movement and the voice as well as the ability to relate creatively and creatively to the space around them.

1987: Nullo Facchini organises a festival of international performing arts in Copenhagen: WAVES Festival.

1990: Vordingborg Municipality is looking for a regional theatre and mocks the skilled company with the very physical and experimental performances. Before the end of the year, Cantabile 2 has a regional theatre contract that ensures an economic basis four years ahead.

1991: School of Stage Arts is established in Bakkebølle near Vordingborg, as a three-year performance education. Cantabile 2’s artistic director, Nullo Facchini, is the principal of the school, and the school’s teaching is largely based on guest instruction provided by professional performing arts professionals, whom Facchini selects from the international performing arts environment, in order to keep the education alive and up-to-date. The training is based more on the development of the individual characteristics of each student than on a defined curriculum. The school closes in 1991 as a result of financial cuts, but Cantabile 2 continues with teaching activities in the form of longer workshops and masterclasses for Danish and international professional performers. These courses always end with open views of the participants’ work for the public.

1991: Nullo Facchini establishes the performing arts festival WAVES Festival in Vordingborg, and it has been held every two years ever since with Facchini as curator. International festival with performing artists from all over the world, who over the course of six days fill the whole of Vordingborg with performances both outdoors and indoors. August 2021 is the 16th time Cantabile 2 presents Waves Festival.

1990-2020: Nullo Facchini produces and directs more than 45 performances, several of which tour Denmark and abroad. Several of them are set to and receive awards. See Performances 1990 to 2000: Cantabile 2 produces a number of site-specific performances on a large scale, which are produced for widely different locations in Denmark and abroad, especially Germany.

Hell from 1992 is the first site specific show that really strikes at both audiences and reviewers. It is inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, and it is shown both in Vordingborg, Copenhagen, on Lolland and at Kronborg in Elsinore. This performance, together with the comedy Brevet from 1992, triggers the Danish Theatre Critics’ Initiative Prize for Cantabile 2 in 1993.

In 2000, the last of the major site-specific performances Loreley – Ein Mythos in Bildern – is displayed at the World’s Fair in Hanover. At the sight of the enormous set design far out in the exhibition area’s lake during the premiere, Nullo Facchini suddenly felt that his performing arts had come too far from the audience, and this is where the idea for humane performance was conceived, to be realized three years later in the Venus Labyrinth.

2003-2020: Nullo Facchini develops a new way of thinking about theatre: human specific performance. In 2003, he and Cantabile 2 premiered the show Venus Labyrinth, which led this relationship to the extreme, because here the actor and performer met each other 1 to 1 in a room alone, and the performer were part of the performance as himself. No roles were played, rather a piece of framework reality, in which both parties gave something of themselves in each of the interactive situations that the show consisted of. It was built up like a journey through the female brain. Nullo Facchini gave his new theatrical form the term human specific performance, because it was the approach to the individual specifically that was the whole focal point of the staging. After the Venus Labyrinth, a large number of humane performances – including Life Live!, The Paradox of Happiness, Word Between Spaces – followed, all of which were shown in unconventional places, while the Venus Labyrinth continued to tour.

In 2016, it was set up at the Gatchina Palace in St. Petersburg with local Russian performers under great and very positive attention from Russian media.

In 2018, Cantabile 2 achieved the highest honor in Danish theatre with the performance Hidden Number, which received Reumert of the Year 2018 for Best Performance. Hidden Number is built up as a journey to unknown places in the city, where the audience is led around in large American cars in groups of four. The grand jury wrote, among other things, in his motivation: “… sensibilities were brought to light in optimal contact between the cast and the audience. Theatre with logistical profits and flapping love. Here, a space was created to let the emotions run freely. A challenge – and a gift.”

2017: Cantabile 2 – Sensory Work for Children and Adolescents is established under the direction of Siri Facchini Haff. Sensory Work is the unifying term for Cantabile 2’s activities for children, young people and families, and with this effort the theater wants to create deep, thoughtful and sensuous spaces where participants feel themselves. Sensory Work receives the support of the Ministry of Culture and Education for a four-year project, World-Class Project, which is a major collaboration with municipal schools in Vordingborg, which are offered courses with professional performing artists.
Sensory Work is behind three audience-involving performances that have been shown for school classes in Vordingborg and have since toured the country: Traces of Animals (age 6-10 years), On the Bottom of Darkness (ages 10-14) and In the Embrace of Silence (7-13 years).

2017: Cantabile 2 establishes a 9-day workshop for professional performers and others interested in performing arts and human interaction: Creating Transformative Encounters. International Intensive Workshop in Participatory and Human Specific Performance. The workshop is then held once a year in Vordingborg with up to 10 participants receiving a diploma at the end of the course.

2019: The Danish Arts Foundation’s Project Support Committee evaluation report is published. It emphasises: “The theatre has a dedicated and strong management, a competent and committed staff, a very high level of activity, very relevant side activities that complement the theatre’s artistic activities. Unique regional theatre profile with artistic high level and ambition, distinctive and clear artistic vision. The theatre is development-oriented and represents a contemporary relevant content. Large international network, collaboration, tours, co-productions and artistic exchange.”

2020: January: premiere of The Lamb of God, everything we love, everything we fear – created freely after Milo Raus Lam Gods (NTGent 2918). Cantabile 2 was given permission by Belgian theatre director Milo Rau to create a Danish version of this citizen-involved performance, which recreates Ghent’s world-famous altarpiece with living citizens who are part of the show as himself with personal narratives that are a contemporary version of the altarpiece’s motifs. In Cantabile 2′ setup, it was citizens from Vordingborg and the surrounding area – and a flock of sheep – who went on stage three consecutive evenings and shared touching tales of their own lives in a framework that encompasses the entire history of mankind.

2020: Cantabile 2 has its 30th anniversary as regional theatre in Vordingborg Municipality, and it is also the year when another four-year regional theatre contract with the municipality is signed, thus securing the financial basis for the theatre’s continued artistic activities up to and including 2024.

In August 2020, Cantabile 2 will be recognized outside Europe for its special theatrical methods, as Nullo Facchini is honored by the 27th edition of CIFET – Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre. With the honor came among others: “We would love to celebrate your work and your journey and spread the word throughout the Arab region about your specific style and approach.”

The story behind the name Nullo Facchini:
“In 1981 I formed a small theatre group in my hometown of Ferrara, Italy. I was just 20. We were invited by the professional theatre Teatro Nucleo to attend the annual carnival in Venice with our first performance. While we were in the queue for sign-ups, we saw that one had to fill in the name of the Company, and we hadn’t speculated for a second, so we didn’t have a name. We had to get that in a hurry. Our performance was feature with singing, which we performed in different places in the city. Suddenly we were there, and then we were gone again, to show up somewhere new. A dynamic performance that met new audiences all the time. “Cantabile!” exclaimed one of the group with the Italian word for ‘songable’. And that’s how it turned out. Our name was Teatro Cantabile. Later, the group was disbanded, and in 1983 I formed a new company. When Teatro Cantabile had received good reviews – and we in the new group wanted to re-enact some of the first performances – the new group became Cantabile 2.”

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Documentation

From this page can be downloaded Cantabile 2's annual accounts, annual reports and reports from WAVES Festival. As well as the Danish Arts Foundation's Regional Theatre Evaluation Report 2019 – all in Danish.

Who are we?

The team behind Cantabile 2

Board

  • Henrik Holmer, (Chairman) former Mayor of Vordingborg
  • Jens Frimann Hansen, (Vice-President) Head of Theatre for Helsingør Teater, Artistic Director of Passage Festival and SO-Festival, England
  • Mille Colbjørn Holst, journalist at South Zealand Journal
  • Thorbjørn Kolbo, (Committee Chairman of the Committee on Culture, Sport and Leisure, Vordingborg Municipality), Head of Property and Exhibition at The Danish Borgcenter
  • Trevor Davies, Director of Copenhagen International Theatre
  • Lisbeth Klixbüll, theatre director Aaben Dans, Roskilde