Theatre can happen anywhere with Foreign Affairs
Formed 10 years ago and based in De Beauvoir Town, Foreign Affairs Theatre Company is the brainchild of actors Camila França, who is Brazilian/Portuguese, and Trine Garrett, who is Danish. Along with a multinational ensemble of theatre professionals, they bring award-winning world drama to English-speaking audiences, with an eye to exploring topical social and political issues.
The organisation came about when, after completing drama school, it soon became apparent that their ethnicity meant they were quite often excluded from roles they would have relished. As Camila puts it, “I will always be seen as ‘the Spanish maid.’”
Refusing to accept defeat, they decided to create their own opportunities and brought together a group of like-minded contemporaries to put on a production at The Lord Napier in Hackney Wick, which, at the time, was nothing more than a derelict squat. That performance expanded to more productions and soon people were asking when their next show was.
Theatre beyond borders
Camila and Trine are passionate about what they do and, for them, it’s about inclusion, building a sense of community and connecting people, in addition to being able to produce and perform. They are all about crossing boundaries and breaking down barriers – of culture, of language and of the performance space itself.
Their productions won’t be found in traditional theatres, instead they choose a DIY approach by inhabiting unconventional spaces and, to-date, they have put on plays in galleries, cafes and various other locations, including a shopfront window. By bringing in various elements to transform the space as well as being responsive to the space itself, they create something unique and often intimate. As Trine says, “Give us a cardboard box and a scarf and we can do something with it.”
Having seen their recent production of the acclaimed Danish play The Warmhouse, I can attest to the fact that their strategy makes for interesting theatre that engages the audience. In fact, there were points at which I felt as though I were a voyeur rather than an audience member – it was that effective.
In addition to making theatre, Foreign Affairs offer a Professional Development programme whereby language translators have the opportunity to learn and experience what it means to translate for the stage. They also run youth programmes for young and emerging theatre makers, delivering a series of workshops in the community.
The company operates on a ‘Pay what you can’ model for their performances, with a range starting at £9.00. You can become a member for £36/year, which includes free access to all in-house productions and events and serves to support their Pay What You Can scheme.
FIND OUT MORE:
Foreign Affairs Theatre Company
Rose Lipman Building,
43 De Beauvoir Road