Born in 2011, OFFestival is a group of people who gravitate around each other, especially around an old garage that doubles as a home, kitchen and dance studio. Dancers, circus performers, musicians, videographers, technicians, cooks, architects and photographers all take up the challenge of fetching technical equipment from Naninne and setting up a festival. What follows is a mix of skills, a loss of reference points, sleepless nights on top of a ladder to hang lights and an original way of running a home-made performing arts festival.
In its early years, OFFestival becomes the mouthpiece for a growing Brussels artistic community’s desire for visibility and sharing. Its program of shows, creative workshops, culinary performances, interactive exhibitions and other oddities plays with the conditions, criteria and standards of the theater as a gathering place and social ritual. On the stage, previews and premieres often take place, in a mix of dance, circus, performance, theater and concert proposals. Throughout the festival, workshops are held at the Ultima Vez/Wim Vandekeybus studio. Each year, OFFestival also invites various Brussels studios, where artists or scenic collectives work, to take part in the event with public openings. Studio Grez / Fatou Traoré, Studio Belgica / Juliana Neves, Volksroom / Ivo Dimchev were among them.
OFFestival’s first life came to an end in 2017, the fateful year in which the couple who live and run the venue went their separate ways. Between 2018 and 2023, OFFestival will focus on the experiments of the newly-born G.INcubator, a program of experimental residencies for emerging choreographers that synthesizes all the oddities the venue has experienced in its youthful years.