Different Bodies Lab

Photo of Women Dancing by Geraldine Heaney

The Different bodies Lab will bring together fifteen artists based in five different countries in Europe to explore ideas around different bodies in theatre and dance for young audiences. Facilitated by Lead Artist Tone Pernille Østern artists will work together from Tuesday 8 September to Friday 18 September 2020. Over 8 days, we will be looking at ideas around the topic of ‘different bodies’, incorporating ideas from artist applications as well as the following questions:

  • What is a body and how do our bodies connect with our sense of self?
  • What is the connection between body, society and performing arts?
  • What kind of bodies do we see on stages - and whose bodies are missing?
  • What is the impact of how we treat our bodies and how we talk about (or not talk about) bodies?
  • How does the lack of diversity of bodies on stages impact on young audiences?
  • How can we open up for new perspectives, and perceptions, where ideas and practices about different bodies are being stretched and challenged?
  • How can an artistic space be given for different bodies to move and communicate, and at the same time move our perceptions and minds?
  • How can a broad variety of bodily expressions help us reflect through a psychical approach? 

In addition to sharing and working with each other, we will introduce the participating artists to other local and international artists, working alongside them during the lab.

The lab aims to explore an open and varying interpretation of different bodies, opening up discussion around bodies missing from our sector. The lab will visualize how many different bodies and expressions exist and work to create better representation in performing arts for a young audience.

We are also interested in experimentation with form as well as content so will explore these three ‘formats’ over the duration of PUSH+ - Participatory, Site-specific and Intergenerational. Through these formats we will play with the ways in which we create and present material, who performs it and how we engage with the audience. You can choose to think about one or more of them in your ideas around different bodies or to select other forms of performance that interest you.  Information about these formats can be found here.


We will arrange the lab in the small fishing village of Stamsund in the north of Norway, and work with the local institutions, theatre companies, and a visiting british circus company:

Nordland Visual Theatre (Figurteatret i Nordland)

Eilertsen & Granados Teaterkompani


And visiting artists from Extraordinary bodies

You can read more about the Different Bodies topic here.

Different Bodies Residency, March 2021 (TBC)

Aaben Dans will connect the selected PUSH+ artists with local artists, children and adults who could benefit from taking part in the residency. Aaben Dans will be in close contact with the Residency artists on a daily basis:

  • conducting feedback and supervision sessions on both artistic and organisational issues
  • ensuring the artists’ venue and logistical needs are met
  • networking and having a social connection via a daily communal meal

Furthermore, Aaben Dans will bring the Residency artists to local events and opportunities that are relevant to the topic and the artform that they work within.

Different Bodies - International Workshop, January 2021 (TBC)

In partnership with Bangkok International Children’s Festival (BICT Fest), PUSH+ will include a 5-day workshop in Thailand exploring elements of the Different Bodies topic. Over the five days, five artists from Europe and five from Thailand will work together exploring the topic of Different Bodies.  BICT Fest is a relatively new festival for young audiences who are developing a strong reputation through actively seeking to connect with European colleagues and bringing high quality productions and ideas to audiences and artists in Thailand. This activity offers a highly valuable experience for the participating artists while bringing ideas and viewpoints from a non-European context into the topic discussions.