Seventy people from Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and England, met from the 2nd to the 6th of October 2023 in Folignano (AP) in the Marche region in Italy.

Four days of exchanges, learning, cultural visits, discovering each other's culture, not forgetting a first approach to "rural touring", which will then be developed during the first series of webinars between November 2023 to February 2024 by the Swedish partner, Riksteatern Värmland.

On the first morning, in order to get to know each other better, all participants were asked to bring items that best represented their country to play the "Table Country Game". This moment of exchange opened the afternoon with more formal presentations of the project by Daniele Sepe from AMAT, Ralph Lister from Take Art and Anna Skoglund from Riksteatern Värmland. In the evening, local promoters and partners had the pleasure to see a cello performance by Maestro Alessandro Culiani.

On the second day, the group took part to a World Café. Divided into five groups, local promoters had the opportunity to exchange with artists, promoters, and partners from SPARSE 1 through five thematic tables: "What kind of artist are we looking for? How do we find the audience? What do we expect from the artist and what the artist expects from local promoters? Planning the event – how to work backwards from the show day? How do we use the media to reach the audience?".

The group then headed to one of the local villages involved in SPARSE Plus, Montalto delle Marche. After a cultural visit, a presentation of the project Metroborgo Montalto Lab with national funding to support and develop Italian rural areas by the Mayor Daniel Matricardi, the group assisted to a performance by La Macina!

During the following day, the Collective 7-8 Chili created a medidation workshop for all the participants, ending with the planting of the SPARSE PLUS tree at the Aula Verde of Castel Trosino. After this workshop, the group made pizzas which is part of Italy's cultural heritage.

"Everything always starts with a burning fire. Then the embers calm down and become ashes, to nourish the earth and make it fertile. Only a suitable location and prepared soil can accommodate a tree and allow it to grow. To enjoy its fruits, it needs consistency, care, water, and light. Let's never lose sight of the fact that what will be fruit tomorrow is a fire burning today". (extract from the workshop with 7-8 Chili).

Here are some quotes from the "SPARSE PLUS Guest book":

A precious gift the meeting and sharing of ideas and emotions. Thank you” – Monica from Italy

I am so happy to see that so many people love music, dance, theatre and to have fun. Long live Sparse 2” – Angelica from Sweden

What a gift to be among such wonderful passionate people in such an incredibly beautiful place! So excited to embark on this journey together.” – Dori from Hungary

These moments of sharing have been beautiful and so precious, thank you for making them possible! See you soon!” – Chiara from Italy

The feedbacks are positive, as the photos and survey prove it! It is a great start to the SPARSE Plus project, which will be completed in early 2027.

To know more about the project, local promoters, villages, events, and rural touring, follow us on our social medias: Instagram and Facebook.

© Raido Bergstein (featured image)

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