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Free-for-all festival opens in Lausanne

Swiss singer Michael von der Heide will be one of the biggest names at this year’s festival Keystone Archive

The streets of Lausanne are being taken over by a series of outdoor performances of theatre, dance and music. The occasion is the annual City Festival which runs until July 14.

The festival, now in its 31st year, brings together more than 700 actors and musicians who bring their own brand of street performance to 12 different locations scattered around the city.

Nearly 240 different events, all of which are free, are included in this year’s eight-day festival.

Highlights of the 2001 event include the first-ever performance in French-speaking Switzerland of singer Michael von der Heide’s “Hildegard”, and a performance of Brecht’s “Mann ist Mann”, which was critically acclaimed at the Avignon Festival in 1999.

Every year festival organisers also seek to give the event an international flavour, sending out invitations to theatre troupes and orchestras from around the world to perform in Lausanne.

The Chocolate Yaoundé Theatre from Cameroon has been booked this year to perform several outdoor plays, which it is hoped will attract an audience of young people.

One of the most unusual events is likely to be the staging of “Puppets Under the Water of Vietnam”, during which puppet masters will dive underwater in a specially erected 40-square metre tank to narrate “a series of myths and popular folk tales”.

The cathedral in Lausanne is also playing host to a variety of classical music concerts, while contemporary dance acts and comedy sketches will provide the fringe entertainment at the festival.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR