Birmingham Rep to stage European collaboration.
The UK premiere of Europa, a savage and satirical snapshot of European life, will open at Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s new Studio from October 16th–19th. The play is the result of a unique two-year collaboration between four leading European theatres, including the Rep, which has seen acclaimed UK playwright Steve Waters researching and co-writing the play with fellow writers from Germany, Croatia and Poland.
From a confused arts funding panel in Brussels to a young couple suspected of being terrorists, a multi-cultural mix of 21st Century issues are explored in Europa which intertwines post 9/11 paranoia, neo-fascism and a crumbling currency. Differing viewpoints and four languages combine to create an explosive exploration of a continent in crisis.
Europa is the result of a collaboration between four leading European playwrights, Steve Waters (UK), Lutz Hubner (Germany), Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk (Poland) and Tena Stivicic (Croatia).
Amazingly, the play was written the without the writers understanding one another’s languages. Instead they visited each country and worked with local community groups to generate material.
In Poland they talked to older residents, who gave them a Zumba demonstration which ended with a lively debate on Polish national identity. In Birmingham, with its thriving Asian community, there was a workshop with a women’s group and an after-school group to find out when the word ‘Europe’ first comes into the vocabulary and what relevance it has.
In Dresden the writers visited an established community project, the Bürgerbühne – with participants who range in age from 18-80, who share stories from the 1930s to the present day – looking at what it means to create a new Europe. And in Croatia young people from the Zagreb Youth Theatre took part in workshops to help shape the play.
The end result is a multi-lingual play that challenges, clashes and connects with European citizens as they struggle to make sense of their ever-changing countries.
Steve Waters is one of the UK’s leading contemporary playwrights whose plays have been staged at key national theatres including The Crucible Sheffield, Hampstead Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Bush Theatre. His recent critically-acclaimed production The Contingency Plan at the Bush Theatre is being developed into a film for Channel 4.
Lutz Hübner is by far the most successful contemporary playwright working in Germany today. He is the third most performed writer in the German-speaking world (after Shakespeare and Goethe).
Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk is an award winning playwright and one of the most reputable writers in contemporary Polish theatre. Her play The Death Of The Squirrel Man in 2006 won awards from Teatr Rozmaitości (TR Warszawa), Usta Usta Theatre and the Competition for Contemporary Polish Plays by the Ministry of Culture. The play was produced and read internationally in Germany, Sweden, Bucharest and the USA.
Tena Štivičić writes plays both in Croatian and English and has had plays produced in at least ten European countries. Her play Fragile! has won several awards at festivals in Croatia and Slovenia. Her plays have also been published in a number of European countries and translated into several languages.
The cast features eight actors – two from each country: Mathias Bleier, Annett Krause (Germany),Jadranka Đokić, Krešimir Mikić (Croatia), Jerzy Pożarowski, Małgorzata Trofimiuk (Poland), John Flitcroft and Elexi Walker (UK).
Europa is directed by Janusz Kica who has worked extensively in Europe and speaks all four languages in the play. It will receive its first UK performance on 16 October 2013 in the Studio at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, following performances at Teatr Polski Bydgoszcz in Poland, Staatsschauspiel Dresden in Germany and Zagreb Youth Theatre in Croatia. It was funded with support from the European Commission.
Tickets: £15 with concessions available. Box Office: 0121 236 4455 Book online: Birmingham-rep.co.uk