Alkantara Festival returns in November

13-28 November 2020


We’re writing today to share the dates of the 2020 Alkantara Festival, which will take place 13-28 November. Do save the date, and take note of our website, where we’ll share the full details of the festival in September. 

On this June day, we’re imagining a festival that may not be the festival we have in September (when we share our programme) or in November (when we hope to see you at the theatre). It includes, more than usual, work that does not yet exist, that we won’t see until opening night in Lisbon. You might be interested to know that the work was thought up — some partially researched and rehearsed — before the pandemic. We wonder, as you might, how much mention will be made of it; how it will colour the performances and our conversations about them. We are convinced, though, that the things the artists thought were important to explore and share at the beginning of 2020 are still important now. Covid-19 has not changed everything. 

It has changed, of course, our festival-making. We’re keeping our plans open for longer, aware of the artists in at-risk groups, or those who have to cross borders that may or may not be open, with visas that may or may not be issued. Every once in a while we remember that we’ve programmed a show in which a performer licks the floor. There’s a lot to consider, and not all of it will be in our control.

In the next months we will be working with artists and partners to keep as much live performance and lively conversation in the programme as possible. We look forward to sharing our progress with you, and seeing you in November. 

Carla Nobre Sousa and David Cabecinha
Artistic Directors

22 June 2020

The Alkantara Festival returns to Lisbon this November with an international programme of dance, theatre, performance, talks and debates, taking place both in theatres and online.

This year’s festival, directed for the first time by Carla Nobre Sousa and David Cabecinha, presents new work that takes on the environmental crisis, resists invisibilisation of marginalised groups, and investigates how meaning is made or remade on stage. “At a time when uncertainty about the present and future is high, this programme is a reminder that these questions are as urgent now as they were at the beginning of the year,” Carla Nobre Sousa highlights.

The 2020 Alkantara Festival will present 11 world premieres and three Lisbon premieres, more than usual. In addition to new work by Portuguese artists, the festival has made an extra effort to accommodate international projects that were unable to premiere earlier this year due to the pandemic. The main stage programme will be complemented by a cycle of performances, talks and debates involving academics, activists and artists.

2020 marks a new chapter for the Alkantara Festival, as it permanently moves to November and adopts an annual schedule. “Moving to an annual format will allow us to develop more lasting partnerships with artists and to keep conversations alive with audiences. In 2021, we hope to present new work as well as live projects by the artists from this year’s online programme, and to return to long-term projects that begin in 2020,” David Cabecinha explains.

Between festivals, Espaço Alkantara runs a regular programme of arts residencies, workshops and public events that extend the festival’s areas of exploration.

The 2020 Alkantara Festival is coproduced and copresented by Centro Cultural de Belém, Culturgest, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Teatro do Bairro Alto and São Luiz Teatro Municipal.