The Storytelling Cycle: From Community Work Back to the Stage

Workshop series in five parts | Program for the third cycle – Autumn 2017 – Spring 2018

LUST – långsiktig utveckling av svenskspråkig teater
Program: Haiko Pfost
Production: LUST / Jonas Welander

Mentors: Haiko Pfost & Thomas Kasebacher/notfoundyet
With: Sarah Vanhee, Thomas Kasebacher, Nina Tecklenburg & Till Müller-Klug, Nadia Ross, Thomas Frank
Supported by: Svenska kulturfonden, Goethe-Institut Finnland, Canada Council of the Arts, Austrian Embassy Helsinki


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.

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. 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 around 10 participants in the cycle.

How to apply?
Send an e-mail with “Den autonoma skådespelaren #3  rekrytering” in the subject header to lustrf (at) Application deadline 26th 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
  • NB! For the field trip to Nuuk all participants will be asked to apply for a personal travel grant. You will receive more information about this during the process.

Program overview

#0 Field trip (with Haiko Pfost): Letting go? Greenlandic images and the post-colonial *
#0 Field trip (with Haiko Pfost): Meteor festival Bergen (the field trip to Nuuk was cancelled but a trip to Bergen and the Meteor festival was arranged instead)

#1 Sarah Vanhee: 1 public lecture + 4-day workshop (27 Nov. – 1 Dec.) +  lecture with Thomas Kasebacher 

#2 Nina Tecklenburg & Till Müller-Klug: 5-day workshop, theory & practice, +1 public lecture (19–23 Feb.) 

#3 Nadia Ross: 4-day workshop + 1 day lecture + 1-day presentation (9–14 Apr. 2018) (Mentor: Haiko, 2 days)

#4 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER with Thomas Kasebacher: 30 May – 9 Jun.  Lecture with Thomas Frank (Hanko, 8 Jun. 2018)


The final cycle of our three-part program THE AUTONOMOUS ACTOR focuses on new strategies of storytelling in theater along with the question of how one can use storytelling to create identities. Following a search for new collaborative forms of work (Cycle #1) and the examination of strategies of political theater (Cycle #2), we set out this time to explore possibilities of putting personal histories and stories—and, above all, experiences with various communities—back onstage. This year’s session begins with a field trip to Nuuk, Greenland, and is intended to demonstrate how the special features of a given place affect the production of art. Special attention will be paid here to oral tradition. Following an opening lecture by Thomas Kasebacher, who will be this year’s program mentor alongside Haiko Pfost, Sarah Vanhee will introduce various approaches to working within and outside the theater space. In the second workshop, which is also conceived as a combination of theory and practice, Nina Tecklenburg and Till Müller-Klug will concentrate on new forms of storytelling in non-dramatic theater, after which Canadian theater producer Nadia Ross will show what it means to mount a simultaneously local and global production. And in conclusion, the dramaturge and producer Thomas Frank will hold a lecture along with the participants’ presentation of the workshop’s results in Hanko.


0# Nuuk 17–23 Oct. 2017
Field trip (with Haiko Pfost to Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival)

NB! The Field trip to Nuuk was canceled and replaced by a visit to the Meteor festival in Bergen, where the group i.e. had a workshop with Terry O’Connor of Forced Entertainment.

Letting go? Greenlandic images and the post-colonial *

Nuuk Nordic is a festival of contemporary culture that focuses on developing and producing new trans-disciplinary creations while involving the “glocal” communities of which it is part.

The festival is anchored in a post-colonial context that features latent tension between indigenous traditions of thought and the Nordic welfare model. Accordingly, the festival is a site for renegotiating modernization, proposing alternative ways of organizing society, and investigating new modes of living in a complex, interconnected landscape.

As an artist or curator, how does one approach this particular landscape? How does one define the premises of art production and festival-making in this context? And by addressing indigenous and post-colonial issues, does one run the risk of exoticizing the context?

How does one deal with the past that is so present in everyday life—by acknowledging it, or by letting it go? What problems and potentials lie in taking indigenous heritage as a starting point for art production? These are some of the artistic and curatorial considerations associated with context of Nuuk, Greenland. This field trip focuses on new creations. We will meet with artists, local curators, theoreticians, and invited guests from different disciplines who will discuss their strategies of art production with us in this specific context.

*This field trip will only take place given the availability of sufficient funding, for which the participants partly must apply themselves. As an alternative, there will be another field trip in October. Instructions for the personal applications will be received during the application process.

#1 Helsinki 27 Nov. – 1 Dec. 2017
Thomas Kasebacher
Public Lecture 27. Nov 2017
Sarah Vanhee
Public Lecture and Workshop 27 Nov. – 1 Dec. 2017

Fragile Imperfections

How can stories be told in the performative space, nowadays? Where do they start, where do they end? How do they transfer to an audience? And how can a space be transformed and redefined through storytelling?

Thomas Kasebacher’s lecture Fragile Imperfections revolves around these questions and will explore the field of performative storytelling, examining its ins and outs, its boundaries, and its possibilities. Ideas of failure, of the real versus the fictional and imagined, and of possible impossibilities lie at center of his investigation.

This opening lecture of the present cycle will introduce possibilities of storytelling in contemporary performative arts, treating the story-format as a broad field of investigation.

Thomas Kasebacher’s work travels between performance, video, choreography and visual arts. He studied comparative literature in Innsbruck and London and performing Arts in Liverpool. Currently he lives and works in Vienna, where together with Laia Fabre creates works under the label of notfoundyet. LINGER, was premiered at brut Wien in 2013. In 2014 he received commissions from Szene Salzburg Festival – THE GREEN PARK PICNIC – and Impulstanz/Weltmuseum Wien – THE SHAPING OF HOOKS – a performative installation piece in the frame of an ethnographic museum. He collaboratively created LEGENDS & RUMOURS together with Phil Hayes and Maria Jerez, which is currently touring internationally.

He has been working with Kate McIntosh, Oleg Soulimenko, Matsune & Subal, Cuqui Jerez, Sarah Vanhee and FORCED ENTERTAINMENT. The new age Folkdance piece THIS IS SO F***DANCE premiered in brut Vienna in November 2014. His last works THE BOLANO PROJEKT – Part 1 -An Introduction and Part 2 – The Retrospective premiered 2015 and 2016 at EURO SZENE Festival and at the Schauspielhaus Leipzig. Kasebacher has been teaching at Yale University, Connecticut USA and Impulstanz Vienna and is currently engaged in the MA program New Performative Practices at the arts academy DOCH in Stockholm.

27 Nov. – 1 Dec. 2017 Helsinki
Sarah Vanhee
Public Lecture and Workshop

Friendly Intrusions and Big Beings in Darkness

Sarah Vanhee creates temporary and porous yet clearly defined spaces in which she analyzes existing realities and confronts them with an absurd, utopian, or poetic proposal. Out of the resulting friction, different narratives, landscapes, practices, and fictions emerge. In an opening lecture followed by a workshop, Sarah Vanhee will speak about recent projects realized both outside and inside the art space. She will elaborate on the conceptual, symbolic, political, and production-specific layers of her work, which are all intertwined, as well as show how she uses art and fiction as tools to shed light on the unseen or to amplify previously unheard voices, as a means to no precise end, and as a place for unlikely encounters.

In the practical part of this workshop, Sarah Vanhee will join together with the participants to explore the theater space as one of questions and darkness, and as one in which everything is still possible.

Sarah Vanhee (°1980, Oostende, BE)

Sarah Vanhee’s artistic practice is linked to performance, visual arts and literature, and unfolds in various environments. “I create temporary, porous yet clearly defined spaces in which I analyze existing realities and confront those with an absurd, utopic or poetic proposal. From this friction different narratives, landscapes, practices and fictions emerge. Recent works include The Making of Justice (film), Oblivion (performance), I Screamed and I Screamed and I Screamed (video-installation & performance), Untitled (series of meetings) , Lecture For Every One (series of intrusions), Turning Turning (performance). Her work has been presented in diverse contexts such as Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Art Centre De Appel (Amsterdam), La Ferme du Buisson (Parijs) , Centre Pompidou (Metz), Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), iDans (Istanbul), Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse), Impulstanzfestival (Vienna), Kiasma (Helsinki), HAU (Berlin) etc. She co-published Untranslatables and wrote The Miraculous Life of Claire C and TT, as well as different texts for performance. She regularly works with CAMPO (Ghent) and is founding member of Manyone vzw. Vanhee lives and works in Brussels.

#2 Helsinki 19–23 Feb. 2018

Nina Tecklenburg and Till Müller-Klug (Interrobang)
Public lecture, Workshop, Presentation

New Narratives. How and Why to Tell Stories in Theater Today

Collecting objects, reading traces, retelling performances, tailoring identities, game narratives: artists in contemporary performance and theater have developed a whole range of new narrative techniques such as interdisciplinary theater installations, autobiographical storytelling performances, participatory role-playing games, or audio walks.

This lecture and workshop series takes a close look at various theatrical narrative practices and their purposes, functions, effects and impacts: How does theater tell stories today? What does it mean to tell stories in non-literary theater? Why (still) tell stories in the 21st century? The workshop is conceived as a dialogue between practical performance work, critical self-reflection, discussion, and feedback. Using techniques of creative response, the workshop will draw on recent theater works by Forced Entertainment, Lone Twin, She She Pop, Janet Cardiff, Gob Squad, SIGNA, plan b, and Nina Tecklenburg’s and Till Müller-Klug’s company Interrobang.

Nina Tecklenburg is a performance maker, theatre theorist and a current guest professor at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since 2002, as a performer, co-director and dramaturge, she has realized a host of projects with very diverse artists and performance groups: Interrobang (of which she is a founding member), She She Pop, Gob Squad, Lone Twin Theatre, Baktruppen, Rabih Mroué, Reckless Sleepers amongst others. She writes on theatre and performance (The Drama Review, Theatre Research International, Performance Research), and teaches at Bard College Berlin, University of Hildesheim, Bern University of the Arts and Free University Berlin. Her book on new narrative practices in contemporary theatre and performance “Performing Stories” was published by transcript and is forthcoming in 2017 in an English translation edited by Richard Schechner and published by Seagull Books.

Till Müller-Klug is founding member of Interrobang. He studied Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen with Professor Andrzej Wirth and published his study “Nietzsches Theaterprojektionen” (“Nietzsche’s Theatre Projections”). From the middle of the nineties to the turn of the millennium, he was active in the Spoken Word scene. Since 2002 he has written and realized many theatre pieces, projects and audio plays. “Europa, ein Plagiate-Saga” (WDR 2012) and “Ich als Großprojekt” (WDR 2015) were both chosen as radio play of the month by the German Academy of Dramatic Arts. “Sprachlabor Babylon” won the Kurd-Laßwitz-Award 2012 and was nominated for the German Hörbuchpreis 2014. His new play “Der Minusmensch” premiered in autumn 2016 at Schauspiel Leipzig.

#3 Helsinki 9–14 Apr. 2018
Nadia Ross
Public lecture, Workshop, Presentation

Lecture: “Between Solitudes” & Workshop: “SHOW”

Nadia Ross’ company STO Union exists in the gap between Canada’s Two Solitudes: the Québecois cultural landscape and Canada’s cultural scene. STO Union’s presence in the region has shaped the way projects are created for the company. The inability to identify with either side of the border has resulted in an active creative practice of holding tensions that are influenced by opposition and difference. This tension has become a point of creation for Nadia’s work and has helped evolve the relationship of difference into a creative practice.

In this workshop, Nadia Ross will lead the group through an intensive creative and psychological process that concludes in a public presentation. This method is based in collaboration, improvisation, meditation, and research. Working with what is available and ready in the mind and body will allow participants to focus on creating work that aims to support a natural and authentic presence onstage.

This workshop asks participants to cultivate and grow their self-awareness by consciously assessing what their relationship is to the material they are exploring and to each other. Underlying the final product of the workshop’s public presentation is the notion that despite the consistency of the final script, nothing is static.

Nadia Ross is the founder and artistic director of STO Union. In 2016, Nadia was named the winner of the Siminovitch Prize (Canada’s largest theater award). Nadia’s working practice is defined by multiple sources of inspiration shaped by politics, language, psychology and other art forms outside of the theater medium. She and her company STO Union work out of a small village in West Quebec on the frontier between the francophone Québecois culture and the ‘rest of Canada’. Her work is informed by a method that goes against the traditional framework of theater production. The method is focused on cultivating and developing projects through an open process that respects and values the subtleties and nuances of experience, tradition and culture.

#4 Helsinki 30 May – 3 Jun. 2018 and Hanko 5-9 Jun. 2018
Thomas Kasebacher
Workshop, Demo Performance
Thomas Frank


 With Thomas Kasebacher
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 Thomas Kasebacher.

8 Jun. 2018, Hanko
Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank: Telling Time – Storytelling in Performative Theater

In this public lecture, he will provide insight into historical developments starting from Thies Lehmann’s theory of post-dramatic theater, which postulated that the difference from dramatic theater was not predominately based on literary narrations. Over the past two decades, numerous contemporary performance-makers have developed highly innovative artistic strategies for telling stories in theater that are based not on drama but rooted entirely in unique performance practices. Frank’s lecture will include various practical examples and reflect on the aesthetics of performing stories and new narrations in contemporary theater.

Thomas Frank is artistic director for the Residenz program at Schauspiel Leipzig and international guest curator at VabaLava Tallinn. He developed a range of programs about storytelling in contemporary theater such as “Telling Time” at Sophiensaele, which reintroduced the power of storytelling into performative theater. Together with Haiko Pfost he was artistic and managing director at brut Vienna from 2007 to 2015. Before he worked as programmer, producer and dramaturge at Sophiensaele Berlin and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt. He graduated with a M.A. degree in theatre, communication and media studies at Leipzig University in 2000.