The Autonomous Actor#2

Workshop series in five parts | Program for the second cycle – Autumn 2016 – Spring 2017

LUST – långsiktig utveckling av svenskspråkig teater
Curated and Produced by Haiko Pfost and Jonas Welander (LUST)

The workshop series The Autonomous Actor provides the participating actors with practical and theoretical tools to strengthen their competence as independent artists, both in their own practice as performers and as a part of a collective. The starting point for this work is examination of the participants’ own practices in an exploratory meeting on general practices within contemporary continental theater, which is meant to provide a deeper understanding of differing artistic processes in order to support their development as independent artists. This year’s program will focus more on the political aspect of acting and producing.

Participants who are present for a full cycle have the opportunity to take part in a concluding final project aimed at enabling the participants to test their newly acquired skills as an ensemble before an audience. The participants of the demo-production will receive payment for the work. The size on the payment is determined by the size of the production that will be determined during the year. In parallel with this series, participants may ask for studio meetings and/or mentoring on their artistic work as well as for advice on financing and production.

The participants will mostly be gathered from theatre professionals connected with the Swedish-speaking acting program at the Theatre Academy of Helsinki (LUST members) but also performing arts professionals with other backgrounds (Finnish-speaking actors’ program, directors, dramaturgs, designers, etc.) are welcome to apply. There will be a total of 10-12 participants in the cycle.

How to apply?

Send an e-mail with “DAS #2 rekrytering” in the subject header to lustrf (at) Application deadline 30th of June. Add the following information:

  • Which of the workshops you are available to participate in. Also mention if you only can participate certain days or hours. We prioritize participants who can commit to the program and participate in all workshops.
  • A letter of motivation (200 words max.) about why you want to participate in this workshop series.
  • A brief CV and contact information.
    For more information please contact lust [at]

What it expected of me as a participant?

  • A genuine intresse of the thematics of the project
  • A commitment to study the thematics of the project outside of the specific workshops. You can ask for recommendations of material from the project staff.
  • To commit to the frames of the project and take responsibility to develop as an independent artist as well as to commit to the goals set by the group.

Program Overview

Autumn 2016
#0 EXCURSION (KammerCampus #7): All inclusive? How Münchner Kammerspiele went about opening itself to new modes of production and political content.
Munich, 13–16 October 2016, Münchner Kammerspiele

This year’s program begins with a stock-taking of sorts. One year ago, the theater Münchner Kammerspiele opened itself up even further to production companies and aesthetics from the independent scene. And it has now made a commitment to promoting both theater’s internationalization and a strong focus on the reality of urban society in terms of content.

How does one manage this tightrope act of differing formats and topics? What do independent production and/or coproduction with and at an established institution mean? What opportunities and risks are involved? And what does this mean for the rest of the independent scene in Munich?

These questions are to be discussed in meetings with a range of artists, dramaturges, and curators/producers. The Greatest Show on Earth represents an opportunity to get to know several of the international independent scene’s most exciting artists in a new form of collaboration. So just how, then, is political theater to be produced in the independent scene and at a city-run theater?

Helsinki, 7–10 December 2016 with Florian Malzacher and Trine Falch
2 public lectures + 3-day workshop session

#1.1 Consequence Strikes Back – a lecture/performance by Trine Falch
In her lecture, Trine Falch asks what moves the world – bacteria? Politics? Or theatre? And: What happens with (political) theatre when we learn that gut bacteria might have a greater impact on us than politics?

It is also the beginning of a reflection on how causality might once again be relevant as a narrative tool after a long period of absence in a performance based context. Falch attempts to play with both language and seriousness in her critical approach to “political theatre” as a label.

#1.2 Not Just a Mirror – a lecture by Florian Malzacher
Whom to represent, in which way, and with what right? The recent crisis of representation in democracy has also hit the representation machine of theatre at its core. Theatre, long considered to be the political art form, now struggles with how to relate adequately to society. This lecture looks at a theatre that seeks to engage with society in both its content and its form, creating a contemporary community in which social and political actions can be deployed and in which societies in their existing or possible varieties can be performed, expanded, tested, or even invented to begin with.

#1.3.The Political Actor – Workshop
This workshop, which follows the lecture “Not Just a Mirror,” takes a deeper look at how concrete theatre tackles questions of representation and participation in complex ways – from Lotte van den Berg’s Building Conversation to Jonas Staal’s New World Summit and on to Milo Rau’s theatrical trials. Other examples include works by the St. Petersburg collective Chto Delat, the Israeli group Public Movement, and many more. Theoretical inspiration comes from Brecht, Chantal Mouffe, and Claire Bishop.

Using existing works by the participants themselves, we will discuss the specific ways in which the theatre medium can be political – in its content as well as in its very forms.

This workshop consists of a lecture by Trine Flach plus a lecture and a 3-day workshop session led by Florian Malzacher.

Spring 2017

Helsinki, 6–10 February 2017, with God’s Entertainment
5-day workshop session including 1 day of presentations

God’s Entertainment seeks to deliberately (mis)place the wares of art and culture and thus plug them into the city, giving rise to an overarching space for art, experimentation, exchange, and freedom. To this end, WRONG DELIVERY forms mobile spaces of implementation and transport, in the process calling for status reversal, practical re-casting, and the breaking of rules. We produce, on- and off-load, and make deliveries. We’re also quite happy to make wrong deliveries. But we do them right. The objective here will be to fill WRONG DELIVERY with ideas, theses, offerings, and disturbing elements, and to subsequently place these in the areas of the city for which they are meant. We believe that the future and complexity of the city is to be found not at its center, but rather in the diversity of its outskirts. “Outskirts” or “periphery” is meant here not necessarily as a geographical location, but should also make a theme of aspects of societal, social, or artistic exclusion and/or ghettoization.

God’s Entertainment is known for its provocative and direct actions and for preferring to try things out before they end up simply being conceptual art. In this 5-day workshop, participants are called on to test out the limits of their own artistic work.

Helsinki, 11–15 May 2017, with Yael Ronen
1 public lecture + 4-day workshop session

In this workshop, the point will be to place personal stories in a larger political context. The participants will be asked to draw on their own material – not in order to talk about themselves, but to use them in formulating a position on stage as a playful way of dealing with history and stories. The focus here will not be on facts, but on personal experiences and subjective perception. Yael Ronen, who has already been a guest of Berliner Festspiele’s Theatertreffen many times and won numerous awards for her work, is known for tackling politically sensitive themes from which most figures keep their distance. She does so in a way that refrains from moralizing and instead makes use of a different weapon: humor.

Helsinki, 1–4 June and Hanko, 6–10 June 2017, with Haiko Pfost
4+4-day workshop session + 2 days of presentation and feedback

The participants form a temporary ensemble and/or work on solo projects. In their activities as a group, they work according to a non-hierarchical collective process in which all members of the ensemble may make their own theatrical choices but at the same time do affect the show’s dramaturgy within the performance situation. The idea is to try out their newly acquired knowledge in actual performing formats. The group/artists work(s) independently and receive guidance from Haiko Pfost.