Newsletter #December 2019

We are very happy to announce that Västerås (Westeros for Game of Thrones fans!) will be the city for the next Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts in May 2021! It will be incredibly fun to invite everyone to Västmanland’s Theater, where Niklas Hjulström is the Executive and Artistic Leader. Västerås and Västmanland have a history of a rich and innovative cultural life, and many exciting cultural personalities. Västmanland’s Theater has over the years done a fantastic anchoring work and creates a lot of commitment in the region. In addition, Scensverige will celebrate 70 years as Swedish Center of International Theatre Institute, so this biennial will become extra festive in several ways. 

Contemporary Russia exchange plans
Scensverige has just returned from Moscow, where we met Russian partners for an exchange of contemporary drama between our countries. The project was initiated by the Cultural Councelor Stefan Ingvarsson at the Swedish Embassy in Moscow, and we have had planning meetings with the Meyerhold Center, which is a unique house with three stages that are open to independent performing arts. They work with a comprehensive residency program to encourage non-established creators to enter the industry. Now we would like to know which Swedish institutions, venues or performing arts presenters who are interested in being part of staged readings of a number of newly written Russian plays during 2021. 

While in Moscow we also took the opportunity to visit the Gogol Center and show our support to the director and artistic director Kirill Serebrennikov via his management staff. Serebrennikov has been released from a house arrest after 20 months, but still faces imprisonment on charges of financial crime, and his passport is seized. Most people agree that the crime is fabricated and that the detention is because his work is provocative. We also visited our Russian sister organization within the International Theater Institute, which has its office at the Rainkin School of Performing Arts, and had additional meetings with Elektroteatern and Theater Doc, who visited Proud Performing Arts during Stockholm Pride 2018 with the play Out of the closet. The director was earlier this year forced to police interrogation after saboteurs sent in a 15-year-old with false ID documents in the audience, thus stopping the performance under the gay propaganda law for minors. Despite troublesome gray zones, Russian performing arts is blooming, and young, modern creators are attracting lots of audiences to productions that address societal issues.

International festival in Fujairah
The International Monodrama Festival in Fujairah in February have requested suggestions for a Swedish production, we are now investigating who would suit the festival. The arranger is the United Arab Emirates ITI Center, who offer international productions to a local audience, as well as seminars and artistic talks to create understanding and ties across borders. 
European Council meeting
Since out last newsletter we’ve also been to a European Council meeting during the Maribor Theater Festival in Slovenia. Our European Council is one of all regional councils of the International Theater Institute, which is our main organization. We met colleagues from 19 countries and had many thoughtful and lively discussions about cultural policy, gender equality, diversity, LGBTQ +, the conflicts in Turkey, the threat to freedom of expression in Hungary, refugee projects in Switzerland, prison projects in Italy, the social significance of the theater in Belgium and Macedonia among many others. 

We have also this fall had creative days in Tbilisi, where we are working on a project with local partners and our colleagues at the Georgian ITI center. With funding from the Swedish Institute we are striving to strengthen our bonds with different Georgian communities. More info to come!

Come see us in New York, and join the Proud Performing Arts
In January we travel to New York to initiate collaborations between our members and US partners. We participate in APAP, ISPA and Under the Radar, and have good guidance in the conference jungle by Elin Norquist, who after work at the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Music Agency, is our consultant. On January 14 we will take our international LGBTQIA network Proud Performing Arts to a further level. We are hosting a long table talk at Scandinavia House, with both American and Swedish participants. The talk is ally inclusive and we direct our work both to organizations who want to take their LGBT+ work further and artists who identify as or work with LGBT+ perspectives. Please get in touch if you want more info on this. We wish you all the best for the holidays and the new year. And remember the best gifts are performing arts experiences!

Photo: From the production “Den sårade divan”, Folkteatern Gävleborg
Photographer: Tomas van der Kaaij

Newsletter #February

A lot going on at Scensverige- Swedish ITI right now!

First of all, we can finally reveal the locations for The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts 2019: Sundsvall and Härnösand! There we will arrange the biggest performing arts festival in Sweden, 14-19 of May, together with Scenkonst Västernorrland. We are so excited to get to these beautiful and creative cities, where all the possibilities for a grand biennial exist. The selection committee, consisting of Karin Helander, Mario Castro Sepulveda, Signe Landin, Joakim Rindå, Lis Hellström Sveningson, Jan Dzedins, Dritero Kasapi, Anneli Dufva and Nina Björby are currently watching and discussing.

The boards of Scensverige and Assitej have now appointed a selection group for Swedstage. It consists of Anna Berg, Cecilia Suhaid Gustavsson, Anna Håkansson and Bengt Andersson. If you want to propose a performance created in Sweden that is suitable and ready for an international market, do it here. Our fourth edition of Swedstage is taking place in Stockholm on 21-24 October 2018.

At the cultural politics convention Folk och Kultur in Eskilstuna we arranged a panel talk entitled “It’s here, it’s queer – how do we develop performing arts with LGBT+ perspective?” , in which I moderated a conversation focused on children and young people, with Gunilla Hedemo, Pelle Hanaeus and Ossi Niskala.

I will also be part of a panel talk on the cultural political situation in Europe at Örebro Länsteater on February 10, in connection with the performance of “Press Conference” by Harold Pinter. The performance is part of Folk och Kultur, and will be played simultaneously in 23 cities in Sweden, read more about the event here.

Reports from Unesco and Freemuse shows aggravated threats, violence and violations of artistic freedom against artists in the world in 2016. The international survey shows that Iran is the country where the situation is worst. In 2016 nineteen artists were detained and six of them was prosecuted. In addition, several cases of persecution and attacks were reported. After Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China and Russia follow. Unfortunately, we have received frequent reports of worsened situations in several places in 2017, which means that the numbers are likely to rise even more next year. In the beginning of 2018  we received the news of the recent extension of the Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov’s house arrest three months from 19th of January when he was supposed to be released. The strong Metoo movement will likely result in more women reporting sexual harassment, which will raise awareness, and reduce the amount of unrecorded cases. From our Eastern European colleagues, we also get reports of increased political governance of established institutions, leading to a high degree of self-censorship. It’s alarming and something we need to be observant of. Our colleagues also need to know that we see what is happening and that we support them. Read ITI’s Action Committee for Artists Rights newsletter. 

Recently, we send out announcements to all ITI centers around the world to actively join a global group for performing arts with LGBT+ perspectives. The group was initiated by Scensverige at the ITI World Congress this summer, and right now, our skilled project management trainees Katinka Richter and Maja Alasalmi work with these initiatives. At a conference in Brussels this autumn, we met representatives of ILGA Europe (International Lesbian Gay Association) who wants to be part of our network, and at the International APAP Conference in New York in January, we got in contact with a US Trans Gender Forum for performing artists. We’ll be back with more info!

As for the Swedish Pride Performing Arts Network, we are currently looking for ideas and suggestions on productions for this year’s Pride festivals. Read more here (Swedish).

Influence the distribution of EU funds! Scensverige is part of the European network On the Move, which now wants to know what touring artists and organizations need from a new European mobility fund. The survey takes 15 minutes to answer and is available in several languages. The last day of the survey is February 20th. Answer the survey here.

Ulricha Johnson
Managing Director Scensverige – Swedish ITI

Foto Peter Knutson

Global Call for Actors for Lesvos Island

Dear friends and colleagues,

This is an INVITATION to all actors globally, Oscar winning to struggling, to all performing artists, with any form and style of acting – traditional, classical, contemporary.

I invite you to take an action,
I invite you to make a statement with your action,
I invite you to volunteer,
I invite you for solidarity,
I invite you to stand for human dignity,
I invite you to protect love and kindness,
I invite you to protect values and humanity,
I invite you to protect the values of civilization,
I invite you to protect the values of culture,
I invite you to make action with acting,
I invite you to celebrate our art of acting.

From Sunday 17th (arrival) to Sunday 24th (departure) of April let’s all go to Lesvos island. We can go, on our own expenses, for any or as many of these days depending on our busy schedule. During the daytime we could volunteer and assist the NGO’s which are based now on the island, we could welcome the refugees when they arrive at the shore, we could give them any kind of help. During the evening we could rehearse a piece of monologue, dialogue or any scene of any size, on our own or with others or with refugee actors and directors. Each scene could be from any form of performing arts, style, aesthetics, artistic and speaking language.

All of the scenes will be from only one play: The Tempest by Shakespeare thus celebrating his 400 years anniversary – 23rd April (the presentation of The Tempest will be Saturday 23rd April). A play which has a very relevant theme of who are Prospero and his daughter and who is Caliban? What’s the meaning of a sinking boat, getting stuck on an island etc.? A play which at the end has hope, where good and right prevails.

I invite you to give warm hugs in the day and warm acting in the evening,
I invite you to a performance with no contracts,
I invite you to a performance in which at the end there will be no applause,
I invite you to a global performance,
I invite you quoting the late artist David Bowie “to be heroes for just one day”,
I invite you to change the world!

No money, products, objects are accepted. There will be no scenography, costumes or technical equipment. Just us, giving ourselves, sharing our values and acting with our (he)art.

For registration and information (accommodation, flights, NGO’s, etc.):

Thank you for taking your time to consider this invitation and thank you for sharing it with your colleagues.

Hope to see you at Lesvos island, helping and acting together.

Warm regards
Apostolos Apostolides
Actor / Director

Happy holidays!



Teaterunionen/Swedish ITI wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Biennial Year!

Demand for visa policy

6789560f-3ea0-419b-abe5-b128e7f31d1bDEMAND FOR FAIR VISA POLICY TOWARDS ARTISTS

We, the General Assembly of the International Theatre Institute, gathered in Yerevan/Armenia from 17 to 22 November 2014, are demanding a special and fair visa policy for artists.

As a global theatre organisation the ITI experiences very directly the obstacles for transnational mobility. For the 34th World Congress of the ITI in Yerevan, Armenia, the visa for the delegates from Congo, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have been denied.

The ITI expresses it’s protest to the Armenian authorities. We also protest against the ongoing exclusion by governmental agencies for artists to conferences, festivals or other events they are invited to.

To ensure a fair and appropriate visa application for traveling and touring artists the ITI demands to the European Commission, and to the decision making political bodies worldwide to create a special visa application for artists which respects their social and economic status.

Submitted by ACAR, the Swedish centre, the German centre, supported by the US centre and the Algerian centre.

Report from the ITI World Congress

bild bild 1During the recent ITI World Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, delegates from nearly 60 nations participated. The congress contained meetings with the general assembly as well as seminars, committee meetings and performances. The congress also presented the publication ”The World of Theatre” where every nation that is a ITI member presents its current situation for the stage performing arts.

The Swedish delegation took the initiative to a declaration about an international visa policy for artists. Read the declaration in its whole here