Merlijn and the participating artists have chosen small, secret places, in order to be able to focus on and tell their very personal stories. In this way they avoid political, religious or national symbolism. One of the themes of the Secret Festival was the intimate exchange of direct contact between people of different cultural backgrounds. The aim was to make the voice of ordinary inhabitants of Jerusalem heard in stead of the the hubbub of politicians, journalists, ideologists and fanatics. The Dutch theatre makers Adelheid Roosen and Laura van Dolron were amongst the Secret Festival’s participants.
Often, the story of Jerusalem is contextualized by superhuman expectations and exalted dreams. By stressing the personal, the subtle and the ‘small’, inhabitants and artists get the opportunity to reshape their personal relationship with the city. The message is not conflict and segregation, but contact, encounter, curiosity and finally exchange.
Through art, stories, films and video portraits, the festival intended to create the opportunity for outsiders to become acquainted with a city that normally remains hidden behind walls and doors.
Where and when the performances take place was kept secret to avoid problems. Through personal networks a local audience was invited that went to each performance in small groups. The audience got the chance to make real contact with the city and the people who live there. Behind every door there was a hidden, unexpected treasure.
Read more about the project HERE.