Workshops for the performing arts

Click on the blue links below, for presentations of workshops!

Gender, Equality and full potential

Genus, jämställdhet och full potential – info

Gender aware acting

Since 2003 I have given workshops on Gender aware acting. These are some of my partners:

Sweden: Teaterhögskolan i Malmö, Teaterhögskolan i Stockholm, Teaterhögskolan i Luleå, Högskolan för Scen och Musik, Operahögskolan, Dalateatern, Scenkonst Sörmland, Friteatern, Trappan, ATR, 2Lång.

Norway: Den Nationale Scene, Teater Innlandet and Høgskolen i Nord-Trøndelag (HiNT)

Finland: Teater Viirus

Georgia: Royal District Theatre

Turkey: Anadolu University and Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş

Rwanda revisited

As one can see if scrolling down to a post from March 2011, I visited Rwanda with Clowns without Borders and masters students, six years ago.

This time, I’m here representing Assitej, an international children’s theatre organisation. (I’m on the Swedish board.) We’re here to do research and make plans for a future project, about Gender Based Violence (GBV). We enjoy lectures from representatives of The Ministry of Family and Gender, The Police and a men’s organisation. I contribute with a workshop on gender and social norms. The participants come from our partner organisation, Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, and friends. And a journalist from the government run daily newspaper, The New Times. (There is no free press in Rwanda, which is a shame!)

We sit and plan with Hope and Sam from Mashirika, and draw up plans for an educational theatre project for 2018. My college, Niclas Malmcrona, will start working on the application when we return home. We hope for funding from the Swedish Institute, who funded our planning visit here.

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After one day of excursions, and visiting the Genocide Museum, I’m alone in Kigali for three days. Fortunately, I have reconnected with my acrobat friends from my last visit, and hang out with them. Such a joyous bunch, and great acrobats, jugglers, etc! We decide on making a theatre workshop for them, and Mashirika lends us their roof-top rehearsal space. We work on relaxation, on being here and now, on doing “as if”, rather than showing. They guys are so eager to learn, to develope, and they are great students.

I return to a colder Sweden, with renewed friendships and a hope to come back, again!

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Dumma jävla mås och En dramatikers dagbok

Fällandet av Blekinges största blodbok

Fällandet av Blekinges största blodbok

Jag arbetar nu med en pjäs, en monolog, som är inspirerad av Lars Noréns dagböcker och därför läser jag dem. Nyss fattade jag att den blodbok som finns i pjäsen på riktigt står i Stureparken i Stockholm, där Lars Norén gått förbi och sen skrivit om det i sin dagbok. Monologen är skriven av Kristian Hallberg, som också skriver pjäsen jag regisserar i Köpenhamn i höst, samt skrivit pjäser som nyss haft premiär på Malmö Stadsteater, Unga Klara och en som snart har premiär på Folkteatern i Göteborg. Frida Röhl är konstnärlig ledare på Folkteatern i Göteborg, liksom tidigare Lars Norén. Hon har även regisserat pjäsen “Dumma jävla mås”, som är en modern variant av pjäsen “Måsen”, och jag såg den förstnämnda på Stockholms Stadsteater igår kväll. Jättebra.

”Dumma jävla mås” innehåller flera fiktionslager, t.ex. att karaktärerna kritiserar moderna versioner av ”Måsen”. Roligt. De tilltalar även publiken och ställer frågor till oss. Meta-teater kallas det väl och är något som just Stockholms Stadsteater excellerat i de senaste åren, med flera pjäser där rollerna fått skådespelarnas namn, etc.

Lars Norén skriver i dagboken att han är förälskad i en mycket yngre kvinna, Kirsti, en norsk skådespelare som har en man som heter Eirik. Eirik är nu chef på Dramaten, efter att ha flyttat till Stockholm för att vara chef på Stockholms Stadsteater (vilket han var i några månader bara). Snart har Lars premiär på en ny pjäs på Dramaten. Kirsti arbetar nu på Stockholms Stadsteater och spelar i pjäsen ”Dumma jävla mås”.

Lars Norén regisserade ”Måsen” för flera år sen, på Riksteatern. Lars Norén ville då att Kirsti skulle spela rollen Nina. Istället blev det en annan jättebra skådespelare som spelade den rollen, med sin f.d. pojkvän i rollen som pojkvännen.

Igår spelades rollen Trigorin av en skådespelare som liksom sin roll lämnat en relation med en skådespelande kvinna för en lite yngre dito. Den som spelade rollen Konstantin är konstnärlig ledare för en fri teatergrupp. På en stor branchtillställning blev han måltavla för kritik av sin konst. Jobbigt.

Jag ville tipsa rollen Konstantin, när den bad publiken om råd om hur den skulle få rollen Nina att älska honom igen, att läsa Lars Noréns dagböcker, för där framgår det att livet går vidare och att man kan bli ihop med en annan skådespelare istället, som också är underbar; att livet erbjuder så många lustiga möjligheter och att det är hemskt dumt att avsluta det på egen hand. (Istället var jag tyst och hörde en äldre kvinna i publiken tipsa Konstantin om att ge Nina ett noga utvalt äpple, för det hade hennes man, som nu satt bredvid henne, gjort på deras andra dejt och de hade nu varit tillsammans i 36 år.)

Sammanfattningsvis noterar jag att vi lever i ett litet, litet teaterland, att det kan vara både spännande, jobbigt och elakt att hänga ut privatsaker i offentligheten, att den som spelar metateater öppnar dörren för gränslösheter och att det finns mycket smärta som teaterfolk gräver i, och nu även jag i.o.m. denna text, och jag är inte så säker på att det är bra för hälsan. Men i slutänden verkar alla inblandade ändå ha det ganska bra, vara vänner, eller åtminstone samverka fredligt och göra bra scenkonst och liksom ånga på, på ett härligt och livfullt sätt. Precis som 11-åringen Lars i monologen som jag hoppas kunna spela för glatta livet, snart.

Inspiration in Sigtuna

I was asked to do a talk about my training and career in the field of performing arts, for the theatre- and film students at Sigtuna Folkhögskola (community college), just north of Stockholm.

First of all, we established that all of the aproxiamtely 40 people in the room, except one, had seen me on TV as the character “Henrik” in the Vintergatan series. So I had to talk about that. (And pose for pics afterwards…)

I also touched on my route to theatre, from high-school, to getting a role in a TV drama as an 18 year old, which paid for my six months in Vancouver where I auditioned for the acting programme at SFU, etc, etc… As a teenager, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Teaterhögskolan, or that there were theatre programmes at community colleges. Young people do need insights into the various ways to a career on stage or behind it, to better know what is possible and right for them.

I spoke about my years doing expeditions to areas of crisis, with Clowns without Borders, and I spoke about the important “Gender on stage” project I was part of, at the four theatre academies in Sweden.

Inspiration went both ways, I hope!

Directing Forced Entertainment at Riksteatern

September 2016

I co-directed Forced Entertainment‘s “De omöjliga möjligheternas hus” for the Swedish National Touring Company, Riksteatern, with the smart, very funny and talented actors Ana Stanisiç and Linn Grøder Bjørnvik.

Fridge poster

Forced Entertainment is a Brittish performance group, founded some 30 years ago by a group of friends from university, relocating to the industrial city of Sheffield. The group is and has been hyped in continental Europe for several years, and has meant a lot for the development of performing arts, with it’s own take on performance, anti-theatre, and comments on the theatre tradition. They have their own style.

The big challenge for us at Riksteatern was to translate that style, developed by a specific group of individuals over a period of 30 years, to something our actors could perform, in a way that kept the attention of our 6-9 year olds in the audience. With great guidance from FE’s Terry O’Connor and their collaborator, the lovely director and clown Pascale Petralia from Belgium, we found our own version, not too different from the original.

It was such a joy to be allowed into an already existing artistic universe, with a magic room, projections and a music score already in place. And it was beautiful to see how the young audiences were pulled into the fiction, the fairy tale; how they responded to our suggestions of imagination; how they wanted to play.

Teaching acting in Malmö

March-April 2016

Edward Bond’s play “The Bundle” has not been performed in Sweden since the late 70’s. As an acting student in Vancouver in 1991, I worked on a monologue from the play (“Ha! Tiger!”), and then happened to see a production of it Off-off-Broadway in the mid 90’s. When I, a decade later, stumbled upon a copy of the play in a book store in London, I realized it would be a great text to work on with a group of acting students. When I was teaching at The Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, I asked some students to do a reading of the play with me. We agreed it was exciting, and I later contacted my Alma Mater in Malmö, to do a Brecht-inspired project with them, using the play.

In the spring of 2016, 25 years after my first encounter with “The Bundle” I taught and directed a lovely group of students, at the Theatre Academy in Malmö, with great help from the regular teachers at the acting programme. A seven week process led to performing most of the scenes, with it’s 20-something characters, involved in fighting the land-owner, the emperor and the flooding river; doing revolution.

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Rehearsals with Färjkarlen, Basho and Wang.

Malmö Bond reading

Reading and analyzing for one week

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Semi-arena stage is a great challenge!

 

Vacation and Musicals

Jan-Feb 2016

Between jobs, I decided to go to London-New York-Panama-Costa Rica-Mexico-New York. The first part of the journey was partly focused on seeing performing arts and creating connections with fellow artists. (It was partly focused on enjoying the gay scene…)

In London, I saw the musicals “Kinky boots” (soon in Sweden) and “Wicked”, which both had a nice feminist touch, and a “queer-light” content. I saw the play “The curious incident of the dog in the night”, about a highly functioning boy with autism (like my uncle, Carl Brunskog), and the queer cabaret at Old Vauxhall Tavern, featuring my friend Lasana Shabaz, in black-face, commenting on the lack of awareness around racism in the queer community. I had the pleasure of hanging out with radio producer/director Tove Jonstoij and Ingo of the Wotever Universe.

In New York City I saw the musicals “Fun Home”, based on Alison Bechdel’s (of the Bechdel test you know?) graphic novel, and it brought me to tears and gave me shivers of pride and joy. I also Loved “The color purple”, a Broadway hit and African-American lesbian epic, with astonishing performances by not least Cynthia Erivo as Celie, upstaging Jennifer Hudson (the star of Dreamgirls, the movie). At Joe’s Pub, at The Public Theatre, I witnessed an historical event, as I saw an astounding line-up of hero-performers, in “Punk Kabarett International”. You gotta check the link. Stew & Heidi performed a song I since carry with me, Saluting both the recently passed David Bowie, and James Baldwin (JB), who’s collected poems I had bought as a gift to Lasana, the week before. Hear Stew sing it here, filmed by me. I also had the immense pleasure of hanging out with singer Electra E. Weston, queer arts specialist Kalle Westerling (PhD), play-write Greta Sundberg, opera director Mårten Forslund, dancer William Briscoe and performance artist Myles Johnson, and others! Oh, and Kalle and I visited the marvellous NGO The Door, where we shared our experiences of Kunq with their Arts supervisor, the lovely Jadrian Ellison. The Door runs a lgbtq youth theatre group, as part of their program, and got some humble advice from a couple of veterans.

Then, I went to Panamá, from where I write this post.

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The natural force of Electra.

 

 

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Kalle W., all grown up.

 

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This is where I stayed on a sweltering hot summer in the 90’s. Just subtract some gentrification and snow. 2nd Ave.

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Stew. performing at Joe’s Pub.

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T-boy

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Moving on

In December 2015, my job as Artistic Director of Regionteater Väst, is done. My original contract was for two years. Including the soft start in the spring of 2013, and the prolonged contract to December, I will have worked for RTV for almost three years, responsible for taking 15 productions to premiere during a three year period.

As a child, living in Stockholm, has entered into my life since I moved west, it is important to go back east.