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NEW NORDIC NETWORK 
a platform for diversity in performing arts

 

Is a network of performing arts organizations, groups and collectives, freelance artists and art
producers working with the themes of cultural/lingual diversity and inclusion and based
in the Nordics or with a strong connection to the Nordic countries.

 

WHY?


The Nordic societies are changing rapidly and are increasingly culturally and
linguistically diverse. Nevertheless, the existing arts and culture institutions – theatres
especially – do not yet reflect these changes or the diverse reality that already exists in
the Nordics.
We need new ways of working and new forms of collaboration in order to create a more
inclusive and equal performing arts field; to ensure inclusivity and diversity on, around
and in front of the stage; to widen the spectrum of whose stories are told, how, and to
whom these stories reach as a result. We need to normalize inclusivity and diversity in
the arts institutions.

GOALS

1. COLLEGIAL HOME


To map the different groups and individuals working in the field, and inviting
them to be part of the network.
To form a collegial home in which; to exchange experiences (challenges,
successes); to share knowledge on how to create artistic formats that practice
decolonization; to find successful strategies in e.g. accessing existing art
institutions; and to imagine the whole concept of institutions anew. This leads to
competence development and capacity building – professional growth
individually and together.

2. POOL OF EXPERTISE


To form a pool of experts, making our expertise available for the different
gatekeepers (funders, decision makers, representatives of art institutions).
To promote inclusivity and diversity in performing arts to the gatekeepers; to
invite the gatekeepers to make strategic, structural changes with our help and
support. This forms the core of the political activism of our work.

 

3. CREATOR OF VISIBILITY


To create more visibility for the network, for us as artists and for our message; we
need a more inclusive and diverse performing arts field in the Nordics!
To find the most suitable, already existing venues/platforms/partnerships/events
that can help us to gain more visibility.

HOW?


The network has a board that consists of 1–2 representatives from each network
country. The board forms the ‘decision making body’ of the network.

RESEARCH

 On 18th May 2021 in the frame of #StopHatredNow week and the official program of Finland’s presidency year in the Nordic Council of Ministers the network participated to the Reshaping
horizons of hope – Theatre of the future - discussion 

READ THE FULL REPORT: Reshaping horizons of hope – Theatre of the future

In December 2021 New Theatre Helsinki with the network board has developed a small survey to
evaluate how the Nordic Ministry's strategies of sustainable development of equality and
inclusion in Nordic cultural life are implemented in each Nordic country.
The survey aimed at foreign-born performing art professionals, artists with foreign-born parent(s)
and producers working with the themes of cultural/lingual diversity in the Nordics.
The results of the survey suggest that the situation of foreign-born art and culture professionals
living and working in the Nordics requires particular attention. As the findings show, 31.5% of
the participants have stated that they do not have a sense of belonging to the cultural life in their
respective country.
Other findings show that almost 74% of the respondents are disagreeing with statements that
inclusivity and diversity are normalised in the arts institutions and 72.7% experience that they do
not have equal opportunities compared to art professional artists with Nordic/European/native
background.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT:  Cultural and Linguistic Diversity of the Performing Arts Field in the Nordic Countries

GET INVOLVED!

If you have questions about the network activities, or you want to join and get the information about the upcoming events and activities, please be in touch with us!

newtheatrehelsinki@gmail.com

NETWORK MEMBERS​

SWEDEN

 

Teater InterAkt

Teater InterAkt in Malmö is a platform for cultural exchanges between artists with various  backgrounds. Since 2010, Teater InterAkt work with community theatre with persons having  personal experience of migration. Teater InterAkt is today among the leading theatres in  southern Sweden running community activities and has since 2010 worked in close relation to  issues related to migration and the Swedish refugee reception. Through a series of  performances, Teater InterAkt has explored how life stories and experience of being newly  arrived can be given artistic form and shared with others. Together with newcomers, the  theater has developed unique approaches in the documentary theatre in relation to  language, interactivity, and how equal meetings between people can be designed. In his  latest project, Brofästet, Malmö was explored as a city of arrival over a period of 70 years. In  three different performances (Malmö 45, Malmö 70 and No one asks so I pretend I  understand), both new and old experiences of arriving in Malmö were presented by actors  who themselves have recently experienced arriving in Malmö.  

info@teaterinterakt.se  

www.teaterinterakt.se 

Södra Communityteatern

Södra Communityteatern is a small free theatre group in Malmö, Sweden. The first play was  prformed 2011 and was called Tango & Torture. It was based on interviews with migrants  form Latin America. Old women that came to Sweden as refugees in the 70's, due to the  time of the junta in Chile and Argentina. The old ladies were supposed to play themselves  on stage. Learning their own lines from the Interviews. The last week of rehearsal the  leading lady abandoned the project. It was too painful. 

A young woman, aged 20 raised her hand during the last rehearsal and said: "Grandma... I'ts  ok... you don't need to do this. I can play your part." 

The play reached it's opening night and it's audience. But the cast was suddenly changed.  All the old ladies we interviewed handed over their parts to their grand daughters. And  suddenly one community of refugees were played by swedish born actresses, their grand  daughters. Since then it's hard to work with boring, traditional art. This was something else :) 

 

TeaterPi 

Teater Pi (www.teaterpi.com) is a non-profit association that plays theater in Italian and aims  to contribute to Swedish and international performing arts through a multimedia and trans cultural theater form. 

Theater Pi stands for the development of performing arts as the symbol π (and its  mathematical meaning) stands for a circle. Impossible to treat in itself, but impossible to  ignore it if you want to understand relationships that can not be reduced to simple logic.  Theater Pi and its production stands for:  

1. Multimedia and Meta-Theatrical Performing Arts 

2. multi-language and transcultural as base for ”rootless" performance 3. New neorealism Performance: Professional as amateur or beginners are mixed  

 

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk_Jfn1VK-yG5K7EWiiireg 

www.teaterpi.com

Teater AROS

Teater Aros is a non-profit association founded in Uppsala in 2009 with the vision to change and improve society through theater. We have grown since 2019 and are now also in Malmö, Hörnefors, Ludvika and Borås. Teater Aros fights for the rights of unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers and new arrivals. We believe in an equal society where children, young people and adults have the right to exist and work regardless of ethnic background, gender, religious beliefs or sexuality. In addition to educational activities, we also run a theater in Uppsala, Sprakateatern.

Our main target group is people who have Swedish as a second language. We work in primary school, SVA classes, in adult education, in SFI, in labor market measures and we have independent groups in leisure time for children and young people and adults. We collaborate with universities, municipalities, regions, county administrative boards, study associations, folk high schools and organizations in civil society. We are run by public funds and project support from the General Heritage Fund and the Swedish Arts Council.

We have developed the Language Method, which aims to develop language through theater and drama pedagogy. At www.sprakmetoden.se you can take part in free continuing education in the method. We also offer workshops in the Language Method. In collaboration with a researcher at Lund University, we have produced a report on how the Language Method and aesthetic learning processes can be used in second language learning. Our ambition is to do a larger study in the coming years.

https://teateraros.se/

 

Teater Theatron

Teater Theatron is a non-profit theatre company and community-oriented organisation. We create plays and performances around themes that strongly affect people, with the explicit aim of engaging the audience in conversations. The association was founded in 2001, in Lund and Malmö in the south of Sweden and is run by actor couple Suzanna and Zeljko Santrac. 

We are the small theatre that addresses the big and difficult issues. In our productions, we  work with themes such as upheaval, migration, identity, belonging, rootlessness, civil  courage and heroism. 

We do not have our own stage but we see ourselves as a migrating theatre group, based in  Malmö and Lund, south of Sweden. To date, we have produced twelve performances, three  international tours and workshops focusing on young adults in the Western Balkans region.  

Our big breakthrough came in 2012 with the performance “Livet i två bitar /Life in two  pieces", where the actors' own life stories as migrants are in focus. The show has been  played 160 times in southern Sweden and 10 times in the western Balkans. 

www.teatertheatron.se 

info@teatertheatron.se 

Vanja Hamidi Isacson

Vanja Hamidi Isacson is a Swedish playwright and doctoral candidate in Performing Arts  at Stockholm University of the Arts (https://www.uniarts.se/english/research-and development-work/doctoral-research-project/emotions-and-multilingualism-in-two work-pieces). 

Her doctoral research project studies the relation between multilingualism  and communicative, dramaturgical, political and emotional functions through a  number of dramatic works. Identity, power and ideology are some of the core themes  in her research. The overall goal of the research project is to challenge and resist  languages ideologies as the monolingual norm and nationalist and racist ideologies  that strive for linguistic and cultural homogeneity. She has so far done two PHD seminars,and are planned two do her dissertation 2022.  

(https://www.uniarts.se/english/news/events/events-autumn-2018/vanja-hamidi isacson-30-seminar 

https://www.uniarts.se/english/news/events/events-autumn-2019/vanja-hamidi-iscason-50- seminar). 

The multilingual play “ASIA/ÄRENDE: Kaarle Vihtori Turunen” is part of her  PHD-project and it includes Finnish, Swedish and Russian. The play will be read at Uniarts  Helsinki (Teaterakademin) in September with a following panel discussion around  multilingual performing arts. This seminar is just one of the seminars around multilingualism  within performing arts that Hamidi Isacson has organized since 2017. She also gives  workshops and courses in the topic at Uniarts Helsinki and Uniarts Stockholm.  

She recently published an article around her research in the anthology  “Antologi för en flerspråkig scenkonst” (2020) (https://www.koreografin.se/method/ Hamidi Isacson has worked as tutor and script coach in projects for youth in Malmö, one of them was directed towards young people with Somali background in Malmö,  Sweden and was a collaboration between Malmö Opera and Malmö Stadsteater. 2013 Hamidi Isacson co-founded the multilingual theatre Teater JaLaDa, a  professional theatre group for children in Malmö. She was part of the artistic direction 2013-2015 and wrote a number of plays, some of them still touring in Sweden  

 

https://www.jalada.se/tyst.

Ylva Hanson,

An actor and director graduated from The Kogan Academy of  Dramatic Arts in London in 2014. Ylva has worked as a freelancer in the UK, Gothenburg and  now in Stockholm. 

Currently studying my Master’s degree in International Performing Arts at Stockholm  University of the Arts and working on a multilingual production of A Doll’s House, called A  Doll’s World. 

 

ylvahanson@gmail.com 

Anisur Rahman

Anisur Rahman, Bengali-Swedish poet and playwright Anisur Rahman’s authorship based in  Bangladesh and Scandinavia. He is developing Ori-Oxi Theatre. He is one of the board  members of the Swedish Writers’ Union and member at the Swedish Playwrights’ Union. His  diverse literary works include prose, poetry, novels, short stories and books for children. His  plays have been presented on the Swedish Radio Theatre, the NRK Norwegian Radio  Theatre, and at various universities and theatres in Africa, Asia and Europe. Educated from  Dhaka University and Stockholm University, Rahman works for the Uppsala Centre for  Literature, where he also leads creative writing programmes. He is heavily involved in literary  cultural debates in media houses like bdnews24.com, unt.se and anisur.net, etc.  

anisur.rahman@studieframjandet.se / lalmati@gmail.com  

www.litteraturcentrum.se / www.anisur.net

ICELAND

Reykjavík Ensemble

Reykjavík Ensemble is the first and the only independent world theater in Iceland. Its innovative and pioneering work creates an active professional theater platform for multinational theater artists, whose work is celebrated regardless of origin, gender or mother tongue. The company develops and produces original and creative performances, all of which are based on research on cultural diversity, that appeal to a diverse and multinational audience. By empowering artists and audiences regardless of origin, language and gender, the theater company supports inclusion and cultural diversity in Iceland. A key part of the project is to unite people from different cultures and backgrounds and create professional work in accordance with the artist's education, experience and artistic creativity. The entrepreneurial effort of Reykjavik Ensemble has managed to create multiple jobs and participatory opportunities for talented performing artists who, before joining the company, experienced bigotry, isolation and marginalization as newcomers to the Icelandic performing arts field. The company has earned respect and support of the international and local community in Iceland and received awards and accolades for their work. The productions are praised by theater critics and audiences for their appeal and message to the Icelandic society and for strong artistic and intellectual characteristics, presented with sensitivity and understanding of the complex situation of immigrants in Iceland. 

 

www.reykjavikensemble.com

www.fb.com/ReykjavikEnsemble

www.instagram.com/reykjavikensemble

NORWAY

TekstLab

TekstLab was established in 2008 by Shanti Brahmachari and is an interdisciplinary development arena and a competence environment for creative art processes. We work for a more diverse art and cultural life by giving as many children, young people and artists as possible a real opportunity to express themselves on their own terms in art and society. 

TekstLab has artistic goal to make art and cultural life more diverse. We do this by working systematically to engage new groups to participate in creative processes, expand the framework for which stories are told and motivate for great breadth and variety in artistic form and expression. A democratic goal that as many people as possible should have a real opportunity and tool to express themselves on their own terms in art and society. We do this by giving more people the opportunity to create their own stories and contribute to them being seen and heard in art and society. A goal that art and culture should be a part of everyday life in the local community. We contribute to this by both creative processes and displays of art taking place locally, in public spaces and at meeting places in the local community.

https://www.tekstlab.com/

FINLAND

New Theatre Helsinki

New Theatre Helsinki (NTH) is a performing arts initiative promoting diversity and  inclusiveness in the field of performing arts. New Theatre Helsinki aims to bring worth the  cultural and linguistic diversity of the Finnish performing arts field and to work as a bridge  and meeting point between the audience members and arts professionals of different  backgrounds. The project is running between the years 2020–2023. 

The initiative’s long-term goal is to create a new performance venue in Helsinki that makes  the culturally and linguistically diverse performing arts a visible part of Helsinki city’s 

performing arts scene. The project will also create new networks and forms of co-working  within all Finland and the other Nordic countries. 

Teatteri Metamorfoosi

Teatteri Metamorfoosi borrows its name from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, “Nothing keeps its own appearance, and Nature, the renewer of all things, continually changes every form into some other shape. Nothing dies, but everything varies.” 

The work of the company can be perceived as a journey that metamorphosed itself relentlessly.

When the Metamorfoosi started, commedia dell’arte and full masks were strong denominators of the company (2006-2012). After that, the work of the company was strongly marked by puppetry and object theatre (2009-2015). It followed intense research on the clown (2013-2017) which lead to a multitude of clown shows. The clown period was followed by the bouffon (2015-2019). At the moment, the company initiated a new journey that examines social issues.  

https://www.metamorfoosi.com/

Post Theatre Collective

Post Theatre Collective is a Helsinki-based platform for collective producing and learning of various art practices in relation to performing arts.

We are a group of performing arts professionals with international backgrounds. We produce multidisciplinary performances, installations, events and organize workshops for different audiences. We organize READ, a yearly festival for reading drama and host New Theatre Helsinki, a platform for communities that are not represented on the Finnish institutional stage.

The collective was founded in 2007 and worked with the name European Theatre Collective until 2020.

www.theatrecollective.com

Meimi Taipale

Meimi Taipale is a freelance Stage director, dramaturg and theatremaker in Finland and Sweden. She has completed her master studies in International Performing Arts at Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2019. She also holds a bachelor in social sciences from University of Helsinki (2015). 

 

Meimi represents a Sweden Finn minority in Sweden and her theatre work is strongly dealing with themes concerning minorities, identity and multilingualism. She mainly works with contemporary drama and has a strong interest in audiovisual and post dramatic perspectives. Her stage work “Invasion!” from 2016, written by an award winning Swedish playwright Jonas Hassen Khemiri, has won awards, been touring in theatre festivals in Finland, Estonia, Germany and Belgium and represented Europe as the opening show in an international theatre festival, Theaterwelten, in Germany 2019.

 

Besides theatre work, Meimi is also a radio presenter, dramaturg and producer in a Sweden Finn program called Popula in Swedish Radio P4 & Sveriges Radio Finska. In her free time she likes to take snapshots of her surrounding world. One of her photos has been shown in a gallery called “Phoneography” at The Finnish Museum of Photography (2014).


www.meimitaipale.com

DENMARK

 

NextDoor Project

NextDoor Project creates  choreographic performing arts based on documentary and relational work formats.
We create movement in people. And between people. Our artistic work is based on nomadic work strategies and meets the citizens through relational and co-creative work formats and art interventions, where the creative potential of the relationship is at the center.
Since 2012, NextDoor Project has developed new formats for citizen involvement, focusing on equal, reciprocal meetings between citizens, artists and works.

We produce in both local, national, Nordic and global collaborations and focus on meeting the citizens where they are;
in asylum centers, nursing homes, theaters, flooded basements, streets, schools, day care centers, parks, museums, galleries, town halls, libraries and town halls.
NextDoor Project's artistic profile is led by choreographer, stage director and dancer Ingrid Tranum Velásquez.

https://www.nextdoorproject.dk/da/

Wanjiku Victoria Seest

Wanjiku Victoria Seest I am an Actor and Freelance Performing Artist born and raised in Kenya,  via the USA (2000-2005) and now living in Copenhagen since 2007. Active since 1996. 

Performance works include ACT Denmark Produced" For Colored Girls"(2019), "Enemy of the  People"(2017) and "Merchant of Copenhagen" (2016). 

ACT Denmark was founded in 2014/2015 by Michael Omoke, whose mission is Multiple Cultures  sharing one stage. Other previous theatre productions include 

Pulling Down Babel (1997), An African Julius Caesar (1998), Three African Sisters (1999) and  Michezo ya Wafalme - a Swahili rendition of The Kings Pleasure (2005) 

I was the Lead Role in the 2017 Robert Pris nominated Film "Mukwano" directed by Cecilie Mcnair  and written by Morten Mortensen, as a performing artist 

in "Kali Ma" by Emery Lauten Meadows (2003), "Belonging Vexillum" by Michelle Eistrup  (2019)  "We´re Magic, We´re Real by Jeannette Ehlers(2021) among others. 

https://www.instagram.com/wanjiku_victoria_seest/

Email : vqeestar@gmail.com 

ACT and Michael Omoke

Michael Omoke Founder & Artistic Director of ACT/New Nordic Voices  Between Mar 2014 – Mar 2015 I conceived and founded ACT Theatre Company (March  2014 – March 2015). The founding members included 30 different artists cutting across  20 different nationalities living in Denmark. ACT’s Vision is to have ‘Multiple Cultures  Share A Stage’ 

Between 2016 – 2019 I produced William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant Of Venice”  (2016), Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy Of The People” (2017), Ntozake Shange’s“ (New  Nordic Voices ) for colored girls…”( 2019). In total the number of Artists involved have  been over 40 in total cutting across 20 different nationalities.  

www.thespians.dk

Out of Balanz

Out of Balanz is an award-winning, international ensemble based in Copenhagen, recognized for their highly collaborative creative process and for producing original work and adaptations that are rich in spectacle and adventurous in form. The company’s approach is rooted in devising and ensemble practice. With an emphasis on rigorous experimentation, playful exploration and exchange, they seek to further the creation and understanding of artistic expression.

 

Over the course of a more than a decade long lifespan, Out of Balanz has created over a dozen new works and has toured to festivals and theatres in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Greece, Romania, France, Portugal, Spain, Kosovo, Canada and The United States. The body of Out of Balanz’s work is eclectic and adventurous; ranging from the intimate and semibiographical Posthumous Works (2010 Best Male Performer Award, BE Festival, UK) to the funny and kinetic I’m So Close... (2008 Summerworks Festival Spotlight Award for Best Ensemble, Toronto).

 

Currently, Out of Balanz is composed of two artistic directors and numerous associated artists. The company made Copenhagen their home in 2010, however, individual pieces are often developed in collaboration with international artists and companies, and through residencies at theatres, cultural institutions or universities abroad. 

https://www.outofbalanz.com/

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Julienne Doko

Julienne Doko is a dance performer, teacher and choreographer with roots in France and Central African Republic, and based in Denmark. She practises multiple styles and as a choreographer, Julienne creates her dance vocabulary by drawing from a wide array of dance styles, such as contemporary (African-contemporary movement) and traditional (West African dances, Afro-Brazilian) in addition to ballet, jazz and hip hop. Julienne has performed internationally with a number of companies, at festivals, on TV shows and in musicals. She has also produced several dance videos that were selected for international dance film festivals.

https://www.facebook.com/JulienneDokoDancer

NETWORKS AND COLLABORATORS