The Queer Exchange Project is an international exchange project connecting South West Sweden with South West England. It was an opportunity to reflect on previous work, further develop queer practice, and create a strong queer network in Devon, UK. The project allowed us to commission a new monologue, Sketches Invented and Drawn, and present reflexive spoken word fragments as part of a touring culture salon.
A one-man play with a postmodern twist, Sketches Invented and Drawn delves into how queer history is lived, documented, and re-imagined over and over. Johan assumes the role of Matthew as he narrates a journey of a life lived in the liminal spaces of history. From Devon to Gothenburg, Naples to London, gay men populate history in ways they haven't before. Reality appears to warp, the threads that pull Matthew together slowly become undone, and Johan is left trying to piece it all together. In the midst of rehearsing for their production of Den Andre,Johan, or Matthew, must reconcile with the past to understand what it is that their present truly holds.
The Devon/Halland exchange was supported by Konstnärnämnden, and the whole project was delivered through restart support from the Swedish Arts Council. Operations were supported by Varberg Council.
Den Andre is a queer adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, which had not been seen in Sweden since 2008. Our most ambitious project to date, this is an Elizabethan play that explores the responsibility of being a King and its impact on the queer self-expression whilst unrest and civil war bubbles across the land.
The production was supported by the Swedish Arts Council, Region Halland, Region Skåne, Varberg City, With thanks to our collaborators, Varberg’s National Theatre Association, and ABF Halland.
As part of our relational and phenomenological method, we work with how our queer bodies relate to the canon. We use an "embodied queer reading" method to meet texts and their original contexts through the lived-experiences of our own bodies. From this, we discover the lives between the lines and bring to light new and fresh perspectives to traditional plays. Edward II was originally a queer play with explicit homosexuality/eroticism. However, our adaptation went further to explore themes of queer masculinity, women's roles in male-dominated courts, and what power looks like when aestheticised through the queer lens.
THE ONE YOU ARE (Den du är) - 2022
The One You Are is an original work by Johan Svensson. It is a poetic performance about being prisoners in circumstances beyond our control. We are born, we meet, we wander, and we die. Against a background of these inevitably shared conditions of existence, Teater Dictat sketches the portraits of two men forced together in the shadow of an ongoing existential catastrophe.
This production was supported by Konstnärsnämnden, Region Halland, Varberg City, and Sodalitium majus lundense. With thanks to our collaborators; Varberg’s National Theatre Association.
Johan takes a relational and existential approach in the rehearsal room leading us to discover new modes of being on stage with other actors. By relating the body to the space, the other, and the self, our productions bring fresh experiences into the room which guide us in developing stories of alterity. In developing new work, this process enables deep ways of knowing and being within the story-world that we portray which then helps us to connect and engage with audiences.