In 2001, 2003 and 2005, Rotterdam Community Theatre (RWT) organised successful, multi-day events we called the Rotterdams Internationaal Wijktheater Festival, which focused primarily on theatre. The fourth edition of the festival, in 2008, featured a wider range of arts, so we adopted a new name: the International Community Arts Festival, Rotterdam (ICAF).
The first edition of the festival in 2001 came about as part of Rotterdam's activities as European cultural capital. The theme of the festival was WHAT? (what is community theatre). In 2003, it was HOW? (How is community theatre made?). And in 2005 we shifted our focus to WHO? (Who is the audience?).
The theme of the 2008 festival was QUALITY. We organised performances, workshops and debates in which we looked at the tensions between artistic and social quality and between the quality of community art and the ‘conventional' arts. Since 2008, countless symposiums and expert meetings focusing on this matter have been organised all over the country, demonstrating that this still remains a hot issue. Our festival and the accompanying report in book form have played an important role in deepening understanding of this subject and giving it an international impulse.
The fifth edition of ICAF took place from 30 March to 3 April 2011. This time we placed even more emphasis on all the different kinds of art being made in the increasingly broad-based community art world. And finally, at our most recent festival in 2014 we took 'space' as our festival theme, which made us open up more space for different kinds of conversation and becoming more visible on the streets of Rotterdam.
Click on the year to read about every edition and its attending artists seperately.