In 2013 Othernessproject was launched in order to transform cultural and social differences into dialogues through the tools of theatre.
This project was initiated in 2013 by a group of theatre professionals, researchers and philosophers. Its aim is to establish a multi- layered platform for cross- cultural co-operation, research and debate within the field of theatre and performance. The project is also keen to engage with a large spectrum of social groups, enhancing social engagement and output through creating a forum for theatrical innovation and development. This project focuses on the theatrical language conceived in the widest possible way (use of language, body and space) in the performances of communities with hybrid identities. In recent years, due to economic, social and political changes across Europe, the cultural landscapes are being re-drawn as well. Within this large- scale alteration driven by globalisation, the co-existence of different cultural and ethnic groups that engage in dialogues and inspire each other become ever more important. The theatrical expressions and representation of minorities and migrant communities is a susceptible phenomenon that fosters cross-cultural communication and helps in research and theory formation in newly shaped, multifaceted and complex societies. Members and partners of Othernessproject represent the following countries: Denmark, Finnland, Sweden, Romania, Hungary, Malta, Bulgaria, and beyond the EU: Uganda, the UK, Canada, and the US.
The three main areas of expertise and activity are interconnected: inspire and cross-fertilize each other by the methodology of action research (learing by doing: a practice based artistic research with cycles of: diagnosis, planning, action, theory formation)
- Workshops: theatre and drama as a tool for social transformation, personal storytelling, common narratives, temporary communities, participatory practices, co-creation. Inspired and further developed from The Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal and his followers. From 2014, within 4 countries, with most diverse layers of society, we offer a profound and playful method to foster mutual understanding, communication and raise empathy in most heterogenous groups of people. We takled so far with gender issues, motherness, national minorities, refugee issues, language differences, academic and informal learning, science and art, participants coming from different social layers.
- Performative events: cross-over genre events that wave together performance art, participatory art, relational art, action and installation, gamification, experience design, and lately IT and ICT with performing arts. With our socially sensitive, artistically highly acknowledged performances we participated at international festivals in DK and the UK in the last year.
- Theory formation: academic and non-formal research are both in focus. Otherness Reader is an academic reader edited and offered by the project members, Otherness and the Performing Arts was issued by the Centre for Otherness Studies, Aarhus University, DK, members regularly publish fiction and non-fiction on different kinds of othernesses across EU and beyond.
Artistic director: Dr. Rita Sebestyén – university lecturer, artist and writer. Portfolio: http://sebestyenrita.com
© Lars Johannessen