A theatre company formed by students on the College’s BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts programme has recently returned from a successful trip to Sweden where they performed their debut production The Crossing Place at the prestigious Västmanlands Teater in Västerås.
Romantika Theatre’s journey began in Tallinn, where students Johan Bark, Michael Blundell-Lithco, Chris Mawson and Ciaran Hammond were studying as part of their placement. Inspired by the poem collection The Truth-Barrier by Swedish Nobel Literature Prize Winner Tomas Tranströmer, they developed The Crossing Place, a fast-paced, visual and highly physical theatre piece where the performers explore the notion of anonymity, and the sensations of Loneliness, Anxiety and Desire.
Following early concept shows at the College’s Symposium in 2016, The Crossing Place was developed into an hour long performance. This attracted the attention of The Västmanlands Teater’s new Artistic Director Niklas Hjulström, who arranged to meet Romantika’s Theatre Director Johan Bark and agreed to schedule performances in February 2017.
For Bark, the project is particularly close to home;
“Tomas Tranströmer lived in my home city for over 35 years and is an inspiration to me. We decided to create the first ever english-speaking production of his work and were delighted with the audience response.”
As well as attracting media coverage on TV and in the press, Bark also wanted to use his return to his hometown to inspire the next generation of Swedish performers;
“After the performance, we had a question and answer session with young people from local theatre schools, where we explained the devising process further and the contribution the skills that we have acquired studying on the European Theatre Arts course had on the performance.”
Romantika are already scheduled to perform The Crossing Place at the Dreams Before Dawn Festival in Paris and are also planning to take the performance to the Edinburgh Fringe, Flare Festival in Manchester and Nordic Fringe Network festivals.
Photographs by Michael O'Reilly