“think about a new world”

Imaginarius – International Street Theatre Festival of Santa Maria da Feira is reaching its 17th edition, focusing on society, contemporary artistic creation and creative empowerment. During a unique year for Santa Maria da Feira’s international assertion as the City of Street Arts and of Portugal as an emerging country at the centre of the sector’s European circulation dynamics, Imaginarius is co-organizing and hosting FRESH STREET#2, the largest international seminar for street arts professionals.

The sector’s assertion in Portugal is thus coinciding with the evolution and positioning of the Imaginarius Festival on an international scale, which opens the door to a unique edition in terms of opportunities for the sector’s professionals and the development of new creative approaches for the aesthetic and sensory exploration of public space.

From 25 to 27 May, the historical centre of Santa Maria da Feira will once again turn into a unique stage for experiences targeting all ages. With an artistic programme which conceptually combines the opposing concepts of blindness and light, in 2017 Imaginarius will be presenting a number of artistic proposals from all over the world which will make us think about society and our way of being in the planet. A journey through social reflection and today’s modus vivendi will set the tone of this edition of a festival which explores urban space in its multiple layers, while providing the public with differentiated experiences, through various artistic approaches and reflections.

Contemporary artistic creation remains the central axis of Imaginarius’ creative thinking, providing both emerging and established artists with the opportunity to work and express their aesthetic language in a city open to experimentation and the innovation of artistic concepts and techniques.
Once again, the historical centre of Santa Maria da Feira will be breathing, for 3 days, a unique  and international atmosphere, with the presence of more than 400 artists from 13 countries, in an expanded professional dynamics which will contemplate the more than 30 nationalities that have already registered for the FRESH STREET#2 seminar, which will take place in parallel will the festival. A strong investment in the development of opportunities for artistic creation and the exploration of contemporary aesthetics in for public space is reflected in 11 world premières and 23 Portuguese premières among the 41 performances and interventions that make up the programme. The intense line-up is materialized in 140 presentations and 8 ephemeral installations.

Empowerment and involvement are also fundamental axes. We would like to highlight the urban intervention workshop by Brazil’s Desvio Coletivo, which will culminate in two performances during the festival with the participation of its trainees. On the other hand, Swedish festival Lights in Alingsås will be promoting a workshop on light design for public space, which will result in light installations that will punctuate the nights of the festival in various spots of the city. In anticipation, these projects will trace the antagonistic journey of this edition’s central elements, which will lead us inside each of us, exploring memories, wounds and feelings that can be turned into contemporary artistic projects for the public space.

Santa Maria da Feira’s senior community once again gathers around Joana Vasconcelos for the celebration of the 10th birthday of “Donzela”, a unique and symbolic piece that united them for an artistic project that was designed for the city’s ex-libris: its Castle. The school community will also have the opportunity to express itself artistically, through two distinct projects (MANIFESTO and REFLEXO), which embrace various age groups and conquer a new space for Imaginarius Infantil, while bringing artists and schools closer together and, at the same time, promoting critical thinking and new artistic languages.


Co-production, the ultimate axis for artistic and economic development, as it allows local artists to get in direct touch with their foreign counterparts, while developing oportunities for international participation and circulation, has been a hallmark of these last few years, and in 2017 it materializes in a unique opportunity for experimentation. As a result of a partnership between Imaginarius and FiraTàrrega (Catalonia, Spain), a group of young Portuguese and Catalonian creators worked on the wounds of their memory, under the direction of Julieta Aurora Santos. It is an artistic and conceptual adventure, which will mark both festivals and place Portugal under the spotlight in Spain’s largest street festival.

Imaginarius will also give room to internationally established creators, thus providing the Portuguese public with the opportunity to get in touch with some of the most significant artistic creators for public space and their most recent productions. Hence, in a journey to the metaphoric dream of the perfect society,  Theater TOL will be presenting at Imaginarius its large format performance Pedaleando Hacia el Cielo, which plays with our emotions and sensations as we are guided across the obstacles and obscure elements of today’s society, conquering the sky like angels that pedal in the clouds and lead us to our goals.

In an approach to social climbing and the block of concrete as the central structural element of today’s cities, NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse are bringing their BLOCK performance to Portugal for the first time. It is an adventure, where circus and dance fight for the spotlight, as we are carried on a journey around goals, obstacles and conquests. After all, what happens once we have reached a goal?

Mais Imaginarius strengthened its size and international importance, as it received 190 applications from 38 countries for its 2017 edition. There will be 20 proposals on display at the international competition of creations by emerging artists for public space, whose winner will be picked by an international jury and return in 2018 with a creation in residency to be premiered at Imaginarius. Conseqüències, thus, results from the return to Santa Maria da Feira of Catalonia’s Moveo – the winners of Mais Imaginarius 2016, and is based on the consequences of the new everyday life in order to reflect on the current social state. It is an intense and physical performance that was born in Santa Maria da Feira, the fruit of consequences…
Light as an element of union and difusion of social emotions, contrasts with black and the darkness of competition and the rise to power, and materializes a more open and creative social side, which is more apt for other manifestations. In 2017, Imaginarius is also exploring light as a link for social connetion, focusing on installation and public art as elements of provocation and critical reflection on today’s cities.

FAHR 021.3 have reflected on the city’s historical centre and its surrrounding heritage, in order to design an original piece, which will take over the city for several weeks. CANOPY is a geometrical structure, light and tenuous, which will mark prisms and points of view, while altering our daytime and nightime vision and forcing us to observe from new angles.

Imaginarius is also a festival of experiences like the one provided by Architects of Air with their sculpture from the LUMINARIUM collection. Kaleidoscopic tunnels of light accomodate the public inside for an intimistic and introspective journey to our own interior.

This is an open, accessible, introspective and provocative festival. A space for social and cultural oportunity. A world of aesthetic and artistic choices. A metaphor of the moral principles of contemporary society. Imaginarius opens the door to new worlds!

400 artisTS
49 companiEs oR artIstic PROJECTS
2 Workshops
9 instalLATIONS
5 artistic residencies
10 imaginarius creations
11 world premières
23 portuguese premières
140 artistic presentations or interventions
3 days