Newsletter #August

What a wonderful and important summer!
Thank you everyone who enlightened our summer with performing arts around the world. You are creating so many different experiences while defying bad weather and in some cases uncertain financing is so valuable. Not least you attract many first-time visitors to shows and make them curious about the enchanted world of performing arts. Right now there are plenty of rehearsals in all kinds of venues in preparation of the fall season.

Scensverige is the Swedish Center of ITI (International Theater Institute), which was founded by Unesco in 1948. In July, the 35th World Congress was held in the Unesco World Heritage City of Segovia, Spain. This was my first congress as new Managing Director. The theme was Act! Performing Arts Transforming the World, and present were representatives from over 62 countries attending general meetings, committee meetings, regional annual meetings, workshops, talks and performances. It was a thrilling experience to sit in the old abbey, now university auditorium, and listen to colleagues from countries with completely different conditions and realities, both better and worse than ours.

Scensverige’s former, now retired, head of operations/secretary general Ann Mari Engel (picture), who has worked with ITI since 1976, was honoured for her work in the Executive Council, and now bears the title Honorary Member. In her new role, she will, among other things, continue to be active in the Action Commitee for Artist’s Rights.

A new board was elected, consisting of members from the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Italy, China, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Germany, India, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Vietnam. More about the board members here.

A troubling development in many places around the world right now is that politicians are engaging in detail management of art. Several countries in Europe, Africa and South America gave fresh testimonies on the subject. Our colleague from Israel wanted support from ITI regarding worrying restrictions that hamper the Israeli artists. This year, the well-established theater festival in Acco was cancelled because of performances that were not accepted by the authorities.

New global network of performing arts with a LGBTQ perspective
Our American colleague Jorge Ortoll, responsible for the Network for Heritage, Indigenous Cultures & Migration, raised the question as to why there is no spotlight on LGBTQ issues in ITI. Scensverige decided to form a working group on a global network of performing arts with a LGBTQ perspective. The interest is great from many countries to be active in this group, which will cooperate with some of the committees.

“Proud Performing Arts” is getting bigger
We are thrilled to see the Scensverige investment in Proud Performing Arts spreading and generating curiosity and enthusiasm. Last year we tested the concept during Stockholm Pride, and this year we already have a national network that currently consists of Scensverige, Folkteatern Gävleborg, Regionteatern Blekinge Kronoberg, Dansstationen i Malmö, Riksteatern, Stockholms Stadsteater Skärholmen, Unga Klara, Norrlandsoperan and West Pride. During Stockholm Pride we had guest performances from DonnaDonna from Malmö (The shall find us together), Teater Martin Mutter from Örebro (Article 3), Folkteatern Gävleborg (Transaction, upper right picture) and Riksteatern / Folkteatern Gävleborg (The Land Within). We had many worthwhile collaborations over these five days; The Stadsteatern Skärholmen organized an evening of readings, panel talks and an excerpt from the upcoming performance “Getting rid of Eddy”, Unstraight Museum and Lesbisk Makt arranged an daytime party with music, poetry slam, readings and dancing, together with Lesbisk Makt we also organized “Lesbian Brunch & Queer Drama”, including readings of excerpts from five newly written, upcoming works, Nilleteatern organized the panel talk “Trans on stage”, Riksteatern “It’s here it’s queer”, RFSL/RFSU held after talks and the Norm Critical Workgroup of the Theatre Union held a dragking workshop. We also arranged a celebrated stand-up evening with, among others, British comedian Bethany Black.

Thanks to all the organizations and members involved, thank you Fri Scen and Unga Klara for letting us use your premises, and thanks to the Arts Council and Stockholm City and Malmö City for the foundation.

The following week Proud Stage Art in Malmö Pride was held, with Dansstationen as the host and Chris Schenlaer as project manager. Among the performances were “The Land Within”, as well as July Appons “Life is Hard and Then You Die – Part 3” and “Everything remains”. The performance “Gender Fuck(er)”, vogue ball with House of Ninja and a conversation with Saga Becker and Yolanda Bohm, as well as workshop with RFSL, Drag Queen Story Hour and the launch ceremony at the Blå Båten was included in this three-day program.
Now we go on to Stolt Scenkonst on Gävle Pride, here you can see the program.

Enjoy the last sun before we finally meet in the dark theaters again!

Kind regards,
Ulricha Johnson, Managing Director Scensverige