Failure Lab


The Failure Lab will take place in Belgium from 13 – 22 September 2019 and will investigate on a more philosophical level how failure is related to success as a positive norm in society. What is failure compared to success, who decides on that, what does failure mean on a personal and social level? What if failure turns out to be as positive as success? Then we might need real Institutes of Failures as an antidote to our society imposed fear for failures. After all, Stephen Frears is (maybe) right: ‘To be successful at anything, you need the right to fail, not just occasionally.’

The Lab will equally investigate how that applies to and effects children, parents and artists: how many failures are they allowed to make in the arts industry? And how do we, presenters and festival directors, deal with that? Do we keep supporting those failing artists or do we also turn our back in search of more successful productions? In that sense, this Lab will be partly a self-reflective dialogue (even and definitely between presenters and artists).

On an artistic level, the Lab will research the creative possibilities of failure in repertoire and on stage. What role models are in our performances for young audiences?

Krokusfestival will open up questions and research around failure in different ways: as a value in itself, as a start for something new (American author Zig Ziglar:  ‘Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.’) and as a space of freedom for creativity. The Lab will work with an experienced Lead Artist and will introduce participating artists from different Belgian companies, have input from several non-arts experts from different social fields (e.g. psychology, sociology, private sector, politicians), will spend time with children/educators/parents/presenters, will visit so-called places of failure in society (e.g. assistance homes for addicts, jail, homeless, youth assistance homes), and dive into dramaturgical input through films, books, games.

Failure Residency

The Ark residency will host 4 artists who, following the Failure Lab in Belgium, wish to develop their Lab ideas towards a future production in a more intimate and intense context. The residency will take place in The Ark’s award-winning building in the heart of Dublin and off-site in Annamakerrig, an artists’ retreat in rural County Monaghan. This dual location will allow the artists to focus on the development of the work in a residential setting in the first week where they will be hosted and catered for. This week will facilitate both solitary and group work practices. The second week in Dublin will make available all of the technical resources of the theatre, gallery and workshop space at The Ark. Artists will be supported by The Ark production team to try out performance ideas in a safe space. The Ark Children’s Council, an advisory group of 30 children who participate in all Ark programmes, will engage with the artists as their work evolves, ensuring that children are at the heart of the artistic process. The Ark will use its large network to connect the visiting artists with local artists and collaborators (through meetings and show attendances) to enhance their investigation of the topic of failure.

Over frederikvandemoortel

Composer/Sound Designer at Sakuran

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