A collaborative village play - Part I: Watermelon Republic
Szeged and Nagykamarás, Hungary
June 2021

A performative long-term project with villages in Hungary, Belarus, Germany and Spain


Myvillages initiator is Antje Schiffers, in collaboration with the curator and dramaturg Katalin Erdödi.

Melons are thrown from hand to hand during harvest, in a long chain to the edges of the field.

We develop a cooperative village play with people in villages in different European countries. In each place, the play will focus on locally relevant issues defined by everybody participating - be it social and economic inequality, land ownership and land use, a wish for community life and the right to speak up and take part in shaping the narrative. The play is performed locally, but is also made for travelling and being adapted to urban or faraway places. It is passed on from hand to hand like melon on a field, and the decision making of what to show where forms part of the collective process.

In 2021, the main focus is Nagykamarás, a melon growing region in the Southeast of Hungary - that´s why this part of the play has the title Watermelon Republic. Melon farmers and day workers, local politicians and hairdressers, old school teachers, an angry pensioneer and a car-racing 13 year old girl shape the narrative and performance.

Public events:
August 2021 Premiere Watermelon Republic (performance), Thealter International Theatre Festival, Szeged (HU)
November 2021 Village Assembly On The Future, Nagykamarás (HU)
July 2022 Screening Watermelon Republic (film), Ceau, Cinema! Festival, Timişoara (RO)

Artistic collaborators: Máté Kőrösi, Orsolya Török-Illyés
In cooperation with: István Fehér (former school principal, history teacher), Zsuzsa Nagy (hairdresser, melon trader, local politician), Anita Nagy (hairdresser, religion teacher), János Sallai, Tünde Sallai, Gábor Tóth (watermelon farmers), Viktória Tóth (student, amateur autocross racer), Aranyszál / Golden Thread embroidery group, Tímea Frank (actress), Aladár Gulyás (poet, book and LP collector), Edit Győri and family (seasonal workers), Piroska Szakál (embroiderer)
Project assistant: Zsófia Varjasi-Kispéter
Technical support: Attila Varga-Bogdanov
Special thanks: Mercédesz Csordás/ Nagykamarás Cultural Centre, Katalin Kiss and Attila Rácz / Szeged Market, Zoltán Lengyel, Zsuzsanna Simon, Thomas Sprenger, Irén Vámos


Working title of our 3-year project is Ländliche Produktivkräfte / Rural Productive Forces. Antje initiated it with the curator Katalin Erdödi, and it is supported by the Allianz Kulturstiftung and, for the Hungarian part, Goethe Institut - International Coproduction Fund.