5 theater companies - 2 years - 1 project

Five theater groups from Sweden, France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia asked a question everyone at some point of life asks: “Should I stay or should I go?”, and looked out for many different answers from people all over Europe. But how do personal, financial or geographical surroundings, how does the environment in general influence someone's decision to go away or to stay in the same place. Why do we leave or don't?

To answer this very common question, all groups looked deeper into one particular community in their home country: like a very rural area in the north of Sweden, companies that have to economize in France or what about the topic of transgender in Germany? The artists went right there to interview people about their reasons to live their life the way they do. But is this the way they want to live? Who or what else but the individual person has an impact on the decision to be made?

After this phase of researching, all findings were brought together through improvisational theater on stage. Keeping in mind that all groups have different cultural backgrounds while belonging to a globalized Europe that is based on political and commercial partnership, it was interesting to see how our central question was answered and worked with when transforming all those single stories into one big story that will be more than just a sum of its parts.

The artists, too, went beyond their abilities of improvisation and established a new method of international communication and cooperation. Based on the interviews there were many personal insights available that are connected to the special cultural background of the different countries. The way toward one collective story will be carried out in single steps:
Improv shows in every country bring together the local communities with artist and theirs topics from all other countries. Additionally the new method of collective storytelling will be rehearsed and practiced in workshops that were open to anyone who is interested in working internationally. After theater performances and workshops we stepped further and produced a feature film that was shot with one actor per theater group in all five countries. The film includes all five topics and once again brought all single stories together.

Finally a workbook was compiled, containing articles of our experts on the development of collective storytelling. A filmmaker accompanied the artists and single steps with his camera to also produce a documentary that gives pictorial impressions on the development and execution of the whole project. Eventually “Should I stay or should I go” provides material of the most different kind on collective storytelling that could be used in various fields of international communication and cooperation, like politics, economy, education or arts. Thus, the project stimulates European integration and intercultural dialogue.