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MIR Caravan documentary project 2014





In 2014 it will be twenty-five years since the result of President Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika which led to the dismantling of the Communist block and the highly symbolic dismantling of the Berlin Wall. MIR CARAVAN was an ARTISTIC PRECURSER of the movement that led to the dismantling of the wall.

The film is not one of nostalgia, but to shed a light on the development of the European Continent through the eyes of the cultural operators of the MIR Caravan 1989-2014.

Whenever there has been a review to mark the anniversaries, 5th, 10th, 20th of the fall of communism, there is a glaring omission concerning the cultural initiatives that were occurring simultaneously; notably the MIR Caravan, a travelling festival of theatre with groups from Eastern and Western Europe sharing a five month long tour from Moscow to Paris, but also other similar smaller initiatives.
MIR Caravan consisted of a permanent entourage of 187 people, actors, directors, technicians and administrators of 26 Nationalities, over 500 performances from Moscow to Leningrad to Prague to Warsaw to Berlin to Copenhagen to Basel to Lausanne to Blois finishing with a collective creation “The Odyssey” in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris as part of the bi-centennial celebrations of the French Revolution.

The idea is to use existing U-Matic and TV extracts and interviews from Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Russia and France from 1989 MIR Caravan. And then to move forward 25 years to follow those same inter-viewies, describing the development, of the groups and of individuals along with their reflections of the MIR Caravan 1989 and showing extracts of the company’s new repertoires.

There would also be interviews with the people who hosted the MIR Caravan and the politicians who paved the way for this extraordinary cultural event to take place.

The MIR Caravan was filmed (over 200 hours of archive footage) by the director Andre Karpov of the Russian media group Novosti, as well as other television reportages throughout the tour.


Using archive material from 1989 including interviews with personalities involved in the tour, the directors of the groups and the presenters of the different stages of the tour, including artistic and political personalities such as Vaclav Havel, who would later become President of the Czech Republic, Jack Lang then the French Minister of Culture, Edouard Shevardnadze the Soviet Minister of Foreign affairs…

The MIR Caravan was a watershed in the lives of many people involved with the tour, there is a wealth of potential interviewees, also people who were just spectators and who were touched and changed by the tour.

Add to these contemporary interviews with those personalities who are still active today in their artistic and political fields and of course the main groups who are practicing their Art today. The film will reflect the experience of the time and how it was influential to the intervening 25 years.

Central to the documentary and the tour, and in some way the cement that held the tour together, both artistically and humanly was the collective creation “The Odyssey” which involved rehearsals ‘on the road’ from Leningrad through to the first performance in West Berlin, with everyone involved in the tour participating.

In 2010 a second tour coinciding with the 2Oth anniversary of the reunification of Europe took place under the title MIR Caravan, this tour involved many of the original members of the tour in 1989. The 2nd MIR Caravan ended up at the Kolomskoe Park in Moscow where it became the first free (from entrance tickets and sponsorship) festival in Moscow. The tour was supported by the European Union. There was a collective show created and performed in Namur, Belgium titled “Dreaming of Europe” Footage of this tour is also available.

One idea we have is to recreate the performance« Dreaming of Europe » in 2014, a performance to be staged in Berlin, either in the summer or during the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November. This performance would involve 150 actors and would take the form of a large scale street event. In 1989, MIR Caravan actors created another large scale outdoor theatre event based on Homer’s “The Odyssey”

There are several groups existing in Europe today that were started by the participants in MIR Caravan who would be happy to collaborate on a new initiative.

Manifesto of the 1989 MIR Caravan

“We actors from different European Countries, speaking different languages and professing different theatres, have decided to devote all our efforts, possibilities, and talents to hold the MIR Caravan trans-European theatrical tour. MIR Caravan is a theatrical city on wheels and a caravan of independent theatres that are united by a common idea: to bring together Eastern and Western theatres to organize an unprecedented event that will mark a milestone in the history of theatre thanks, amongst others, to the power and originality of forms and ideas and hopes that we embody…Europe is on the move. Culture is crossing boundaries. What was unthinkable yesterday is becoming a reality today. Eight theatre Companies from Eastern and Western Europe and leading street theatre companies, will travel as a theatre caravan from Moscow to Paris”

Blois 1987

Documentary Proposal for printing


Slava Polunin and (Licedei, Saint Petersburg) (1989 +2010) Organiser
Tamara Sidarova (Svoya Igra) (1989)
Mikhael Gorbachev (1989)
Eduard Schevardnadze (1989)
Sergei Lavrov (2010)
Timur Bekmambetov (Film director) (1989)
Dimity Yurkov (Film director) (1989)

Czech Republic

Divadlo Husa na Provasku (Brno) (1989 + 2010)
Petr Oslzly (1989 + 2010) Artistic Councilor of President Vaclav Havel
And other representatives of Charter 77 (1989)


Teatr Osmego Dnia (Poznan) (1989 + 2010)
Akademia Rucho (Warsaw) (1989) Organiser - Wojciech Krukowski


Ton und Kirschen Wandertheater (Potsdam) (1989 + 2010)
Rudolf Brunger (UFA Fabrik) (1989) Organiser
Antagon Theatre (Frankfurt) (2010)
The Berlin mayor at the time (1989)


Compagnie du Hasard (Blois) (1989 + 2010) Organiser
Footsbarn Travelling Theatre (Herisson) (1989) Organiser
Buchinger’s Boot Marionettes (2010)
L’Artmada (France)
Jack Lang (1989)
Bernard Kouchner (2010)


Teatro Nucleo di Ferrara (1989 + 2010) Organiser


Circ Perillos (Barcelona) (1989)


Trevor Davies (Kopenhagen International Festival) (1989) Organiser
Eugenio Barba (Odin Theatet) (1989)


Jacques Gardel (Lausanne) (1989) Organiser

Burkina Faso

Koko – music group from Burkina Faso (1989)


Les Baladins de Miroir (2010) Organiser 2010
Les Arts Nomades (B) (2010)

There were these other groups present during the MIR Caravan 1989 but not implicated in the whole tour.

Royale de Luxe (France)
Cosmos Kolej (France)
Jango Edwards (USA)
Derevo (Russia/Germany)
Nola Rae (UK)
Justin Case (UK)
Dogtroep (NL)
Akademia Rucho (Poland)
Ufa Circus (Germany)
Bolek Polivka (CZ)
Shusaku Takeuchi (Jp/Nl)


Moscow – May 11th to June 2nd
Park of the Red Army – Slava Polunin and Licedei .
Street performances
Half time entertainment – Olympic Stadium USSR v Iceland
Parades - Arbat

Leningrad – June 4th to 21st
The Island - Kirov Central Park, Slava Polunin and Licedei
Parades and performances Nevsky Prospekt

Warsaw – June 26th to July 3rd
Teatr Akademia Rucho - Wojciech Krukowski

Prague – July 5th to 10th
Exhibition Park – Divadlo Husa na Provasku
1st International Theatre Festival for 25 years
(Vaclav Havel) Charter 77,

Berlin – July 11th to 30th
Strasse des 17 juni - UFA Fabrik
The road from Grosse Stern to the Brandenburg Gate was closed exclusively for MIR Caravan

Copenhagen 4th-13th August
Gimli Medborgerhus – Kobenhavens International Theatre (KIT)
9-10/08 The Odyssey preformances Docklands

Basel – August 18th to 30th
Kaserne Basel

Lausanne – September 1st to 4th
The Odyssey – l’Arsenic, Jacques Gardel

Blois – September 6th to 20th
Parc des Expositions - Compagnie du Hasard

Paris – September 22rd, 23rd
Jardin de Tuileries –two days performances of ”The Odyssey”
Bi-centenary of the French Revolution (1789 – 1989)
Jack Lang reception for the MIR Caravan, Ministry of Culture
The last party, Madou Koné anthem “Viva Mir Caravan”

Concerns of the Eastern partners of returning to the East, and possible prison

7 weeks later November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall falls and the start of European reunification

The Permanent Groups

Tetar Licedei (Slava Polunin) - USSR
Svoya Igra (Tamara Sidorova) – USSR – no longer exists
Osmego Dnia - Poland
Divadlo Husa na Provasku - Czechoslovakia
Footsbarn Travelling Theatre – France/Europe / Ton und Kirschen - Germany
Circ Perillos – Spain/Catalunia – no longer exists
Compagnie du Hasard – France/Burkina Faso
Teatro Nucleo di Ferrara – Italy

Other participating groups

UFA Fabrik (Berlin)
Teatr Akademia Ruchu (Warsaw)
Jango Edwards (Amsterdam)
Justin Case (London)
Nola Rae (London)

Royale de Luxe (Nantes)
Cosmos Kolej (France)
Dogtroep (Amsterdam)
Jango Edwards (US/Amsterdam)
Justin Case (London)
Nola Rae (London)
Derevo (Moscow)

Bolek Polivka (Brno)

The Association ICE Colectivo
(International Cultural Exchange)
was formed in 2008 to pilot the project of MIR Caravan 2010.

President: Horacio Czertok (Teatro Nucleo)
Vice President: Pierre Laulanné
Treasurer: Danièle Marty (Compagnie du Hasard)



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This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of ICE Colectivo and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.