Myself, Martin and Elly from 'Citizens Learning and TAG' , have just returned from Sweden. I'm lucky as this is my third visit and have established an affinity with the area. We went to build on the partnership between the Citizens Theatre, Länsteatern (translated to city theatre) and 14* (their community company, named after the bus service that connects the outer suburb of Vivalla to Orebro, the city centre).
One important element of this exchange is that some members of our Community Company will visit Sweden in early May 2009 and perform there, this is thrilling and will make a fantastic contribution to the Community Company's 10th anniversay celebrations. A group from there, will visit us in June, we'll work together and create a piece of theatre to be shown at the end of our week together. We are calling this connection the "Braw Partnership" as "braw" is a Swedish word that translates to "good" and that's just braw!
The conference was very interesting, attended by theatre practitioners from all over the country, quite amazing how the seminar on our work, including the showing of the documentary, Shooting Horses was appreciated. Community drama is apparently a new concept in Sweden and our practice is now revered and will be talked of throughout many theatres in the country. Which gave us renewed confidence and pride in our work.
Also speaking at the conference was Eugene van Erven, from Utrecht, who has researched community theatre around the world, a very well informed man and someone I hope to meet again, maybe in his home town, to witness their work.
Socially we also had a good time with our new friends but the drink is expensive and still no sign of an IKEA...Now it's back to work with the Community Company and Wicked Christmas 3...can't wait...we'll be singing the Jingle Bells before we know it!