The International Community Arts Festival (ICAF) began in 2001, when Rotterdam was European Capital of Culture. The organizers of this high-profile event had offered some funds to the Rotterdams Wijktheater [‘Rotterdam Neighborhood Theatre’, RWT for short] to organize an international community theatre festival. It was a time when, in the Netherlands, terms like cultural diversity and participation in the arts had begun to appear in arts policy papers and in cultural debates.
The first festival in 2001 introduced the English term ‘community theatre’ to the Netherlands. It also provided a relatively broad audience the opportunity to become familiar with what that possibly could be through debates, lectures and live performances on the stages of Zuidplein Theatre.
The second festival in 2003 focused on methodologies of how to create and how to produce community theatre. This time, the event was a mix of discussions, workshops in which guests demonstrated (or talked about) their methods, followed by performances in the evenings. These included shows by companies from Lima, Soweto, the Bronx, and Europe. The third festival in 2005 was the last to focus exclusively on theatre.
Charnwood Arts have been either participants, contributing practitioners or partners with ICAF since 2008. There has been a continued presence of community arts organisations from the UK East Midlands at the festival since then. In 2017 Charnwood Arts were invited to photographically document the 7th festival and work with ICAF to produce a book and a team from Northern Ireland were invited to film it. Follow the links below to see the book on ISSUU, the ICAF film and visit ICAF's website.