Dance Dialogue: Focus on Anikó Rácz

Venue Manager & Co-Programmer of the
Theatre & Dance Venue at Sziget Festival


Sziget Festival was established in 1993 as one of the large-scale cultural festivals inCentral Europe. The festival takes place in a green park on an island on the River Danube running through Budapest. In the last 27 years the festival has gone through a major evolution – some venues disappeared, new ones emerged – however, the Dance and Theatre Venue has always been one of the main venues on the island. I have been involved with the preparation and management of the venue for 16 years now. I took the position of the venue manager and co-programmer six years ago.

Sziget Festival is now the second largest festival in Europe after Glastonbury, with more than 500,000 thousand guests following the programmes of more than 50 venues within a week. It welcomes guests and performers from all over the world under the slogan adopted two years ago: Love Revolution.

The Theatre and Dance Venue offers a programme in its tent of a medium-sized stage, first class theatre equipment and 500 seats, its two outdoor stages of 200 seats each, and the grass area around the tent that gives way for some site-specific, more experimental work.

_88A6579The programming is an intricate process, as we present contemporary dance to an audience who is predominantly not at all familiar with the genre. It is our mission to ‘open a window’ to this world; we hope that upon returning to their home towns the festival guests go and see a dance show. In the past years we have had an intensive international programme with some established European and overseas names, such as Sharon Eyal, Bruno Beltrao, Company Thor, and Hiroaki Umeda, as well as some up-and-coming artists from Europe and also Hungary. Our aim is to present a large variety of productions and artists with regards to nationality and maturity, within the language of contemporary dance and physical theatre.

We programme about 12-18 months ahead and accept proposals with video links via email to (include programme proposal in subject line), however we try and see all works live before selection. Besides quality, our primary consideration in the selection is if the show is suitable for such a festival audience and if the artists are ready to take the challenge to present the work in an environment like this.

The atmosphere of a large-scale summer festival offers the artists the opportunity to present work in an easy-going manner, when the reaction from the audience is more intensive, more direct than what they are used to in their normal touring routine. The busy days of the festival also gives the chance to the artists to share space and time with the other performers – we welcome 60-80 new performers each day at our venue in our eight different programmes a day – to see shows at other venues, like the Circus Tent or the Giant Street Theatre, or go to concerts, like Ed Sheeran or Pink.

Learn more:

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