Four members of Quarantine’s ensemble – co-founders and co-artistic directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea, and artist and producers Kate Daley and Sarah Hunter – are travelling to Brazil to be artists-in-residence at the International Theatre Festival of São Paulo, MITsp. Our residency will take place from 13th February until 8th March 2020 during the seventh edition of this exciting festival.
During the residency, titled ‘Eye to eye: who gets to be seen in São Paulo today?’, we’ll collaborate with 12 local artists to attempt to explore the social complexity of São Paulo, a megalopolis of more than 20 million people. We’re interested in creating the circumstances for people who might not usually meet to come together and giving space to divergent voices that aren’t normally heard. The residency will culminate with an installation-exhibition, created with around 20 residents of the city – people from less visible social groups; people who might have different, contradictory experiences and ideologies….
Through the residency, we’re interested in approaching what the political theorist Chantal Mouffe calls a situation of ‘agonistic pluralism’ – creating the circumstances for conversation and engagement with dissenting voices without the expectation or aim of consensus. We’ll work with local artists to develop strategies for research, dialogue and engagement, and explore methodologies for dissent that emphasise the potentially positive aspects of certain forms of political conflict. We’ll make a space that performers, spectators, bystanders can temporarily occupy to confront these questions:
- How do we act? (theatre)
- How can we act? (politics)
- How should we act? (ethics)
- Who gets to act? (representation)
The residency builds on Quarantine’s 21-year history of making work out of the reality of people’s lives and working with them to present their own ideas and experiences for themselves. It engages with the ethics and politics of presence and representation that are at the core of theatre – as the medium of representation. Who speaks for whom, who stands in place of whom, who’s made or making decisions and is or isn’t seen, who is accountable, who is there to witness/take part/respond….
We’re grateful to MITsp for this opportunity, and for the support of the British Council, the Pontes Program, promoted by the British Council Brazil and Oi Futuro, in partnership with the Centro Cultural São Paulo, the Municipal Secretary of Culture and the City of São Paulo.