Stage performances to connect: make taboos debatable

Stage performances to connect: make taboos debatable!

It may already be known that, in addition to our social storytelling work, we also develop theatre performances that contribute to breaking taboos in our society. In contrast to traditional storytelling, we look at theatricalization of the work, where authenticity remains paramount. More about that in this blog.

The traditional storytelling

Storytelling is an interactive form of performing arts. This is often based on one storyteller, whether or not accompanied by a musician. We define storytelling as follows, as does the University of Applied Sciences of Oslo and Akershus:

"Storytelling is an art and communication form that creates internal images in the listener's imagination, rather than showing or dramatising visible images. Traditional storytelling takes place as an open and direct two-way communication between the narrator and the audience and it makes interaction possible between those present."

Not only myths and folklore

In the UK and Germany, for example, there are strong story traditions (folk tales, fairy tales, etc.). As a result, there is often little room for the personal story. In the Netherlands we have a much less strong storytelling tradition. This gives us the opportunity to intertwine folk stories with personal stories. The result is a new form of theatrical storytelling, which has since gained a foothold abroad.

Performance in which storytelling is used to make taboos discussable: what is it like to live with a disability?
An example: in the performance I see I see what you can’t see, we make a taboo debatable namely: What is it like to live with a handicap?

Personal background versus global approach

e mainly look for performances in which the makers somehow involve their own background. This can be done quite literally, as Soufiane Moussouli did in Moroc(c)ans don’t cry. This is a performance he made based on personal stories and memories. But it can also be a little less straightforward, as in performances in which, for example, the story of a family or a (group of) friend(s) is told. The last example also makes it clear that we do not only produce solo performances – we have a very broad perspective.

Next to Normal tells the story of four Palestinian youngsters
Next to Normal tells the story of four Palestinian youngsters

Wanted: stories with a social urgency

We look for performances with expressiveness, that is, performances with a necessity of the makers and a (social) urgency, such as The Man who danced Alone, a performance with the only professional male belly dancer in Morocco. In addition, we look for performances that involve the viewer (literally or figuratively). We are concerned with exposing social processes, pointing out the sensitive area and leaving it to the public to take a position on that, or not.

Curious as to how we apply our storytelling method in conflict areas or to promote social cohesion in conflict areas? Take a look at our showcases or contact us.


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