"The 2018 edition of Music Theatre NOW competition saw 436 applications by artists from all continents and representing a multitude of strategies within the music theatre field. This cultural and aesthetic diversity is reflected as well in the composition of the jury panel. The plurality of expertise and life-paths that are present among the jury members allowed us to approach and discuss the diversity of the submitted works.
In the diversity of our aesthetic preferences, we see need for productions that take risk. Artists must realise and understand what are the existing expectations in their immediate context and be ready to challenge these expectations. Innovation should be related to the context of the creation. Artistry needs to trust the audience and go beyond the fear-based-programming practice. Therefore, in our evaluation process we privileged artists that trust their communities and audiences, and are not afraid to challenge their perception. We privileged projects that embrace complexity from one or the other perspective, might it be on the political, dramaturgical or production level. We favoured new creations and original material, or original approach to existing forms. We gave our priority to the works that explore themes related to the social challenges of our times.
We didn’t apply a narrow definition of the music theatre genre. Therefore, we allowed the artists’ applications to guide us. We revisited all the works in their national and regional context. Our selection process privileged the projects that pushed the genre beyond where it currently exists in the local context. Many of the submitted projects are pan-national, involving artists from different cultural and aesthetic backgrounds. We focused on the works’ artistic and political manifestation, not on how well-known or established the makers are in the field.
We trust that the artists will re-define and evolve the genre of music theatre through the process of their experimentation. We came to the conclusion to surrender to the variety of forms of music theatre as represented by all works that were submitted to this edition of MusicTheatreNOW competition. We are aware that music theatre comes from the history of clearly defined terms. We searched for new paths of creativity and engagement with the audience. We were looking into how artists link their local context with the international trends and developments.
While we may not come up with a tightly articulated definition of music theatre, through the process of judging we explored the complexity of the field. We feel that the definition of the music theatre as a genre shouldn’t align to one direction only. Moreover, music theatre today has been fed by the creative tensions present in the field. Intersectionality and heterogeneity is what we would propose as the characteristics at the core of the music theatre practice today."
Jury of the 2018 edition of Music Theatre NOW competition