Spindrift Theatre is an all female Nordic theatre company. We work physically as an innovative, experimental company centered around the performer's curiosity on life and human nature.
Spindrift Theatre is happy to announce Them will be visiting Helsinki at Teater Viirus 10 to 14 October.
Them is a documentary-based theatre performance about men, interpreted by four women. The performance is based on interviews gathered from men living mainly in different parts of Europe and United States. Through physical expression and in the form of monologues four actresses dive into the world of men, exploring images of a masculinity and its affects on the experience of a modern man in Western society. The approach is empathic in attempting to understand the joys, sorrows and pains of manhood.
Them will be performed by founding members of Spindrift, Anna Korolainen and Bergdis Julia Johannsdottir, as well as Tinna Thorsvalds Önnudottir and Marjo Lahti. Other members of the crew are dramaturge is Minerva Pietilä, art director Louis Crevier, set designer Eva Björg Hardardottir, light designer Markus Alanen, sounder designer Kristian Pernilä and producer Suvi Nousiainen.
The monologues are performed in three languages: Finnish, English and Swedish.
Them in Helsinki:
10-14 October 2017 at 18:00 (6 PM)
Teater Viirus, Välimerenkatu 14
Tickets 15 € / 10 €
The perfromance will be further developed into its final form until May 2018. After every performance at Teater Viirus the audience is welcome to take part in brief discussions where they can share their thoughts and experiences on the play and its themes.
We're looking for a Finland-based producer to join our team for our next production Them. After the production premier there will be a possibility to continue as a permanent producer for the company.
Them (http://www.spindrifttheatre.com/them/) is currently under development, and will premier with its research and development performances at the Reykjavik Fringe Festival in September and at Teater Viirus, Helsinki in October. After the autumn run the project will be further developed, and the final premier is planned for spring 2018 in Iceland/Finland.
The producer's main tasks are to work on funding applications together with the artistic directors of Spindrift Theatre, and take an active role in marketing and development of public relations in Finland, Iceland and the Nordic Countries. The producer should be familiar with the funding bodies of Finland and the Nordic countries. Fluent Finnish and English is required, and a fluency in another Nordic language is a definite plus.
We can offer a starting fee of 400 €, which should cover the part time work until the R&D performances in Autumn. We apologise for the small sum, but currently the company is working with a minimum budget. The producer will then apply for full project funding with the artistic directors, which will cover an official producer fee for her/his work on the performance.
If you're interested, please send us an email (email@example.com) telling about your background, expertise and why you are willing to work with Spindrift Theatre. Please attach your CV as well. Deadline 17th July.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Anna&Bergdis from Spindrift Theatre
Our residency at Tjarnarbio is coming to an end. It's been a wonderful two weeks and something for us in Iceland, exploring the themes of our show, reading interviews, impersonating characters, improvising from scratch and talking about our personal relationship to the topic of the piece: men.
It's also been exhilarating to hear other people's take on our topic - both from men and women - and to look for an angle to bring these stories on stage. We have to acknowledge that we are women, right? But we have to present the male experience as authentically as possible.
A big point of development was travelling to Mikró festival in Lón, and "coming out" for the first time with some of our raw material. The audience's reactions and feedback was extremely valuable both in realising that people are actually interested in hearing these stories, and in noticing the moments where we didn't quite reach a dialogue with our spectators. Nothing beats live audience as a way of self-evaluation!
After all, we are extremely happy about all the connections and plans for collaboration we've made here, working with the Nordic House and Tjarnarbio, and being in touch with our Finnish collaborators at Teater Viirus. We are also proud to welcome sound designer Kristian Pernilä and actress Marjo Lahti to our team!
Next step will be our residency at Sláturhusid in August, where we'll incorporate video artist Louis Crevier to the rehearsal process. We're also waiting impassionately for all the self tapes of our potential Icelandic actresses! Don't hesitate to apply!
We just wanna keep going!
We're looking for an Iceland-based actress to join our team for our current production Them (www.spindrifttheatre.com/them). The rehearsals will take place in Sláturhusid, Egilstadir from 14th to 18th August and in Reykjavik from 21st August to 2nd September (can be flexible). The performances will be at the Reykjavik Fringe Festival in Tjarnarbio, taking place between 21st and 24th September. The performance text will be performed both in Icelandic and English, so good level in English is required.
We can offer a fee of 400 € which covers both the rehearsal period and the performance. Them will continue to develop as a performance project until 2018, when a bigger premier is due in Iceland and Finland. We hope that the actress would follow the development through with us, for which further funding will be applied.
If you're interested, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) confirming your availability, and a maximum 5 minute video, where you introduce yourself and perform a monologue, poem or another dramatic text. Deadline 15th July.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Anna&Bergdis from Spindrift Theatre
It's day three of our rehearsals in Helsinki, and whilst the days have been filled with reading, writing and creative meetings, we've stayed strong in our "physical theatre practitioners' mindset" and decided to start each morning with physical work, namely active meditation.
What this type of meditation invites you to do, is to commit to your body's impulses and quite simply, do what feels good. The body aids the mind to let go, and whilst each thought that comes to your mind during the exercise is welcomed, it is also sent away. The body as a leader helps us to let go of any oppressive and restrictive thoughts or to plan our movements, and consequently block listening and spontaneity.
Listening to my body's moods these three mornings – and asking it what feels good – I've dived into the contemplation of pleasure. To do what feels pleasurable feels incredibly empowering; you listen to your instinct, and suddenly you're absolutely confident and careless in anything you do, whether it's jumping around the room and climbing on the walls or lying silently in the corner of the rehearsal room. And yet we are so often made feel guilty for acting upon what's pleasurable.
I remember "pleasuring" first time in a theatrical context, taking part to Yorgos Karamalegos' workshop in Lamda, London. He invited the whole group into a long improvisation, which consisted of submitting to pleasure, and pleasure only. Apparently he had borrowed the concept from Lorna Marshall, and later developed it into his own practice. I loved the idea, but couldn't help but constantly feel like I wasn't doing enough as a performer; that I was being lazy when not pushing myself into the uncomfortable areas. Yet, when minutes passed, suddenly the whole room was playing, testing their boundaries; bubbling with a huge amount of risk-taking.
So I think this is the key: as actors, we are constantly being encouraged to "go out of the comfort zone" and to "push our boundaries", yet as a plain instruction this can make us take risks out of fear, not will, and start judging ourselves based on daring, not commitment and artistic expressivity. An alternative way to really reach authentic and informed actions, is to listen to our bodies and their need for pleasure: when the body is ready, it will naturally jump into taking risks and sudden changes, following its pulsations. The body knows, and the mind pushing it to show off without its will, can easily lead into injuries, or simply "empty actions".
Reflecting further on the body's will, pleasure and the actor's agency, Hélène Cixous' concept of jouissance came to my mind. For Cixous, jouissance is an orgasmic feeling of pleasure, which works on physical, spiritual and political levels and is the source of woman's (or a person's) creativity. She describes it in the following words:
explosion, diffusion, effervescence, abundance...takes pleasure (jouit) in being limitless
Sounds familiar? The moment when you think you're flying. It's comforting to know that it has a name (multiple, I'm sure). Cixous' explanation gives somehow a confirmation for the value of pleasure. It lifts the idea from selfish enjoyment into a creative force, and an apparatus for reaching new hights in artistic expression.
Let's follow our bodies and keep pleasuring! We only need to listen.
Spindrift have arrived in Helsinki!
We are currently working on the research and development for our next project, MEN (working title) at Alppila Church.
As four female artists we are curious about gendered experiences that reach beyond our own, and so we ask: What does it mean to be a man in today's world?
After months of individual research in Europe and North America we are excited to get this time together for intensive two weeks of research and development in Helsinki through the support of Kulturkontakt Nord's Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme.
Then on Monday we start our residency at Villa Salin, managed by the Feminist Association Unioni. We will also hold a lecture-workshop on Equality in Physical Actor Training at Maikki Friberg Home, which is part of Feminist Association Unioni's programme at the Women's Open University.
Finally, our workshop The Performer and the Self will take place at Ilmaisukellari, organised by the Finnish Actor's Union.
Only couple of weeks left, until Spindrift will be reunited for our R&D residency and Performer and the Self Workshop in Helsinki, Finland!
Many thanks for invitations to Feminist Assiciation Unioni and The Finnish Actors' Union, and a special thanks for Kulturkontakt Nord, who's supporting our travels and work!
I sat down to write about my experience being out in the countryside directing an amateur theatre production. A great experience for a young and inexperienced director, as myself. Getting to work with people that share the same “hobby” of making theatre. A large group of people with complete different backgrounds, with very different experiences of doing theatre and a wide range of age. A fantastic way of sharing a little life together, something they cherish for the rest of their lives.
We did the classic Nordic children play by Thorbjörn Egner about the animals in Hakkebakkeskogen or Hálsaskógi as we call it in Iceland. A classic play about being good to one another, to NOT eat each other... "All the animals in the forest should be friends", is the first rule. A highly political play in my opinion. Filled with contradictions of how we should live our lives and what should be allowed and what not and characters you can well relate to in our daily life. But it has a main message that we want our children to understand and be influenced by....be good to one another. The small animals can help the bigger ones and the big ones can help the smaller ones... Right?
So I was there for 7 weeks. It was great. More than great, in fact. I learned a lot, gained new friends and got more experienced working as a director. Leading a group. Setting goals. Supporting each individual. Treating them equally. Asking them to show each other respect and support each other in their work. My first rule in this small town was no gossip within the group, mutual respect, support and honesty was our motto. Solving the problems by finding the root first, talking to each other as equals before shouting at each other, complaining, telling each other off or leaving in anger. And YES it was difficult at times. Of course, we are only human. But I believe I was able to create a good working atmosphere within the group so everyone felt important and felt they were listen to and felt they were able to create in a safe place, allowed to make mistakes. A working environment that I believe is what should always be everywhere. No hierarchy but cooperation with leadership.
As I´m writing this I keep thinking about our world today in relation to the elections in America and the latest election in Iceland, Colombia and Brexit. I have this urge of standing on a mountaintop shouting so everyone can hear:
Hey lets be good to one another and treat each other with respect regardless of our background, colour, shape, type, education, status, finance… Let´s not talk down to each other or talk badly about one another. Let´s talk about the root of the problem. Lets attack it. Let´s face it! Meet it! And treat it!
I don´t think we have much time actually. We need to begin today. Yes we need leaders but we need the right ones, that will treat us with respect and will support us no matter who we are. Because each human being on this earth has the right to live and has the same right as others.
My writing today isn´t about our next theatre piece or directly about our theatre work at the moment. I cannot help myself writing my thoughts as they come to me now, today on the 9th of November when I sit down to write...
Theatre is about sharing the world, sharing experiences, thoughts, ideology, discoveries and to make a change. Theatre should challenge our thoughts; it used to be a media that would uncover the truth when needed. Theatre is a tool to have an impact, to share information in a different way than writings and films can. Theatre is a powerful medium that serves a greater purpose than only entertaining the audiences. We shouldn´t be afraid to get our voices out there and sharing our vision and telling the truth as it is.
For our next project I personally have great hopes of sharing truth in a different way I´ve done before. Telling real stories. Getting more voices out there for others to hear them and be influenced by. We can make a change. We can have a great impact.
I have only positive energy to give to the year 2017 and I know we are a large group of positive people out there that are ready to fight for a better life on our beautiful planet. I want to end with a quote that I´m very fond of from Dr. Seuss: "I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights"
As four female artists we want to explore what our brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, male friends, male coworkers and male acquaintances experience that we may not be aware of as women. What does it mean to be a man?
We are preparing this research for our next physical theatre production which will continue development over the course of the next two years.
It stems from our curiosity on human nature and itch for storytelling experiences outside our own bodies, our viewpoints, and an interest in the audience's relationship to a body telling verbatim stories that are clearly not of its own experiences.
We are looking to interview men of all ages, professions and backgrounds. In 2016 we can conduct these interviews in English, Finnish and Icelandic.
If you are interested in sharing your experiences through a simple interview with us. You will be protected with anonymity and welcome to selectively answer questions you feel are relevant to you and comfortable.
Contact email@example.com to participate! We'd love to have you on board.
We are happy to announce we will be leading our workshop "The Performer and the Self" at the Finnish Actor's Union in January 2017!
Actors, dancers, directors, performers are welcome to sign up here.
The workshop will be taught in English although we have Finnish, Icelandic and Swedish speaking instructors on our team.
We look forward to working with you in Helsinki!
We continue to share our material from our most recent production: "Carroll: Berserkur" with this short fragment from actress Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir and filmmakers Louis Crevier and Marco Schott.
We are happy to have set up our Soundcloud account so we can share our music and soundscapes with you. We have collaborated with some wonderful musicians, composers and performers and will continue to add their work on our profile.
A shout out to our artists Margrét Arnardóttir, Jófríður Ákadóttir, Sigrún Harðardóttir and Pekka Koivisto.
A little Throwback Thursday to Eva's recent collaboration, which premiered at the Nordic Film Festival New York.
We are extremely happy and inspired after our workshop week at the Norsk Skuespillersenter in Oslo. Meeting new performers with new ideas, qualities and attitudes gives us a push to new directions, unknown before each experience.
We are excited to publish our new video about The Performer and the Self workshop, accompanied with our commentary and reflection on the workshop and the Spindrift Ethos.
– Anna Korolainen
As we are researching and preparing for our trip to Oslo, we thought we'd share this inspiration and reminder for the performer to dare to relax, trust, soften and explore the gentler parts of the his/her nature.
Have a great weekend!
Who are Spindrift?
We are an all female Nordic theatre company who work from the performer's curiosity about life and human behavior. We devise original performances from what we find strange, intriguing or questionable within society.
Recently we've been focusing on social taboos. We wonder why these seemingly natural sides of ourselves have been repressed, and whether we can release, observe and play with them within a theatrical context.
What is this workshop for?
1) NEW DISCOVERIES
We love working with performers from outside the company. There are always new findings when working in new locations, with new personalities, with different movement qualities, genders and nationalities.
2) DEVELOPING CARROLL: BERSERKUR
We are developing the technique we used for our performance Carroll: Berserkur, where characters from Alice's Wonderland were cast from exaggerated sides of our performers' personalities.
We viewed the scenic design as an extension of the character. We worked with questions about society and taboos, and invited the audience to play with us.
3) DEVELOPING OUR OWN STYLE
Through these workshops we are developing a performance technique which we've given the name: Stylized Truths in which the performer exaggerates and makes artistic choices from truthful findings of his-/herself.
The performer is encouraged to work from his/her own experiences, unique body and imagination. We encourage personality and artistic ownership within their theatrical expression, and we work with autobiographical storytelling.
For this way of working it is important to remember lightness and irony. When the performer finds something he/she needn't be traumatized with the idea that this finding sums up their whole being: It's just a playful exaggeration of ONE side for performance purposes. Trust us, there's plenty more to you!
What is the aim of your exercises?
To create a tool for performers to rediscover their ever-changing instrument throughout their careers, as well as being a way to devise characters, scenes and entire performances.
We want to empower the performer’s personality and help them work from their uniqueness.
We want to empower the performer's trust in their own artistic choices, and their sense of ownership.
How did you come to this practice?
We had all experienced, in one way or another, how the traditional structure of acting classes is hierarchical. Where the students compete with each other for praise or attention from their leader, often creating a preference for larger, more aggressive and louder qualities.
We felt that it was more difficult to captivate with tender, soft, quiet, gentle qualities as we’d rarely had the space to explore it properly in our own training, without feeling the pressure to change into something bigger or more tense. This had created bad habits out of fear of not being interesting enough.
We wanted to give ourselves the space we needed to practice them, to really learn how to make them work, and find out what else we might have missed.
We wanted to create a space where each performer could explore and share without having to feel the pressure of a competition.
Lastly, we simply are very intrigued by the human mind, personality and identity, with its depth, contradictions and constant development.
Tell us about the structure of the workshop:
We wanted the performers to experience different ways of creating a character from themselves, and then give them an opportunity to devise scenes from these new characteristics.
We worked with devising from:
- Own imagination
What is physical theatre?
All our experiences originate in the body. It is our vehicle through which we experience the world. As actors we want to explore all the different things that make us who we are and how we behave as individuals and groups, and taking it back to these very basics of exploring the performer's body is one way of doing that.
All theatre is physical. Sometimes it includes impressive stunts and acrobatics, but sometimes just the presence of a body that is being experienced (seen, felt, smelt and heard) by an audience member.
We at Spindrift describe ourselves as a physical theatre company because:
- We are analyzing and exploring movement and its meaning for storytelling.
- We explore the performer's inside-out and outside-in access to his/her emotions and character creation.
- We explore the relationship between the body, senses and the space.
- We explore the difference between the performer's inner experience and the audiences' external experience of the same thing.
- We are actively training as a company to broaden and understand our physical instrument, and sharing our findings through workshops.
- We are actively exploring innovative ways to include the audience in the physical space.
Tell us about the Physical and Vocal Preparation
Every performer recognises the importance of a good warm up. However, I have often felt like we as actors run through the warm ups blindly, aiming towards physical endurance and impressive vocal expression. With Spindrift we have tried to create warm up structures that enhance the performers' presence and respect of one another. Naturally we have also borrowed exercises from the practitioners that we have worked with, but tried to push them into a direction that serves our aims and ethics as a company. We ask our performers and workshop participants to have their focus both inside and outside of themselves, checking in with their bodies and minds whilst staying connected to and supportive towards their partners.
We are continuously shaping our Grotowski-based physical preparation towards a direction, where the performers don't only execute strenuous physical movements, but warm up the room and share their energy with their partners. Like in yoga, physical training is not about the concrete outcome or competition, but about presence and precision in each action.
In our vocal training, we often start from the places that we feel insecure of. Vocal training can be exposing and make one feel very vulnerable, and we like to embrace those "dark places". Actors are constantly bombarded by judgements of "not having the ear for music" or "not having a strong enough voice". With Spindrift we aim to free our performers from value judgement when speaking, voicing or singing, and bring the attention to communication and connection with the partners. In everyday life people communicate with one another regardless of one's range, diction or vocabulary when speaking in one's second language, and we are aiming to bring the same attitude to our vocal exercises. Each vocal quality is interesting, and the softer and more subtle ways of speaking can flourish side by side with the loud shouts and projected scales.
Tell us about the Illustrated Self-Perception
For us the stage is not bound to one specific art, we aim to build bridges across disciplines. By this we mean both in our performances and in the rehearsal and devising process. This exercise, in the beginning was aroused from Julia´s experience working with young children. In the kindergarten the children were asked to draw a self - portrait ones a month. The teachers would ask the children questions about the drawings and write them down. This was one way for the children to express themselves on their journey of self - discovery. This gave the tutors and parents a great opportunity to get to know their children and watch their communication development, their drawing development, language development and more.
What interested Julia the most was how the children described their drawings. The stories the children would tell, and all of them were about their personal experiences. Even though the drawing was the typical “potato head” without a nose and maybe few dots here and there, the children were able to tell a whole story about their drawing. Then Julia noticed the stories often had in common how the children described the environment, even though it wasn´t really visible in the drawings.
We started using this way to express ourselves whilst devising Me…Whilst being humane! and found it extremely useful as a source of material. For that project we were working with the concept self and identity from different angles and this way we found great moments and personas and got information about each other that we believe we wouldn’t have other wise.
For Carroll: Berserkur we use plants as subject for the drawings, asking that you imagine yourself being a plant. We focus on the environment because what is interesting is that plants are completely dependent on the environment, they are 100% product from their environment. Plants have great characteristics, which can easily be identified with and played with. These characteristics are very open to own interpretation and developments. The environment and the plants characteristics give information to devise from in relation to an individual within a society and the environment we thrive in and create around us. Here we find an opportunity to devise both characteristics and sources of material in the environment for the stage design, costume design and even sound design, which, like said before, we like to devise simultaneously. From the environment we receive great information about the character, as if it is extension of the character. This gives a chance of playing with opposites of the character and showing his or hers different sides through the environmental design.
Tell us about Projected Identity
In our every-day existence we are constantly receiving information about our social surroundings, and how we are perceived by our surroundings. Whether or not we are conscious about it we are always using information from the outside to define what is inside ourselves. In fact, we wouldn't be able to define ourselves at all without this external information. In other words, we are mirroring ourselves in other people, and what we believe other people see us as. Because other people's opinions of us (as true as it can be coming from our own interpretation) inform our choices and behaviour and affect us so greatly in our everyday life, we feel it is an enourmously fascinating area to explore both as performers and as human beings.
These so-called Projected Identities can make us learn a lot about ourselves, and is a fruitful gateway to interesting character explorations.
Tell us about the The Past Self
Because we are so passionate about identity and its creation and development, this exercise is one we are very fond of. We love the fact that our personality and identity is ever-evolving and can't be easily defined due to its complexity and ever-changing nature. We can define ourselves differently today from yesterday and that is completely natural. We are one thing today, as well as the million things we have left behind. We are completely made up by our past selves as well as our present self and our idea of our future self.
Looking back at our past identities in a safe and comfortable way can give us an insight into the complexity of a person, and be a useful tool in the process of learning about a character, or indeed creating a character.
We have all been the grumpy and selfish 5 year-old wanting the toy in the toy shop, but we are not necessarily this person at the age of 31, 45, or 62, but we can't discard the fact that this child is very much a part of our current being.
Tell us about the The Objective vs Subjective Body
The exercise The Objective vs. Subjective Body explores a subjective from-inside-body-out view on the physical reality surrounding the performer's body. The aim is to train the performer's sensitivity for increased receptiveness/creative inspiration from elements such as scenic design, costume, audience's presence and fellow actors. Like learning how to taste wine or coffee through acquiring the sensitivity and listening it requires.
In addition to tuning his/her instrument, the performer can use this exercise in two ways: Playing with no end goal to find new movement/vocal qualities that can become characteristics or a way of speaking a text, without imposing pre-existing ideas. Or, if the performer knows what he/she want to feel for a scene, it can be found through exploring the space and developed into a gesture that helps release the emotion.
Like most artists, I have had to train more confidence in my choices. A way to stop second guessing myself came through realizing that:
If something feels a certain way and I honestly interpret it as such, it's true, it's real. And so we started exploring sensations in the space, different ways of touching, different applications of weight, different tensions, movement qualities, and the very important difference of isolating when the performer's body was giving and when it was receiving.
The exercise also trains the performer to notice and take on another body's movement and sensations in order to perform them and make them his/her own. The aim is also to discover new movement and vocal qualities. We also enjoy finding characters from objects and architecture: what would this chair stand/sound like if it were a person, or an extension of my body? This nurtures a curiosity for the space, and when a character originates in the scenic design the performer has a useful tool to reaffirm his/her character if it ever starts slipping.
Here the performers devise with their characters, objects and soundscape.
We like creating the scenic design from characters, developing both simultaneously. We believe this helps the actor's inspiration and grounding while performing, and helps the audience's visual experience.
This journey began in January 2014, when we devised together as a company in Theatre Delicatessen, London.
From there we led a Research and Development workshop at Rose Bruford College's Symposium Week in 2014 and staged a small R&D production at Drayton Arms Theatre in London.
After that we received a grant from Evropa Unga Folksins and Reykjavik City, enabling us to devise a full length large scale production of Carroll: Berserkur at Tjarnarbio, Iceland in 2015.
From there we brought this workshop, The Performer and the Self, to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Gaiety School of Acting in Ireland.
Our next visit will be the Norwegian Actor's Centre in Oslo in February, which will conclude this R&D period.
We have a few ideas for our next full length performance, and we will discuss ways of developing our technique further based on our findings and feedback from The Performer and the Self.
We are also at the beginning stages of creating a workshop where we simply explore an audience's perception of different movement qualities, and developing a new workshop where we explore the relationship between the body and two-dimensional spaces as well as three-dimensional spaces, and its potential for theatre practice.