A Flavour of Switzerland in Edinburgh

This August, four Swiss theatre companies and artists braved the rain of Scotland to present the first ever Swiss Selection Edinburgh, as part of the biggest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe.

Daniel Hellmann’s «Traumboy», Anne Welenc’s «Traumgirl», Mats Staub’s «21» and Mercimax’s «8:8» were the shows selected to be a part of the programme, presented at Summerhall, one of the most prestigious venues at the festival, known for its innovative and contemporary curation. Amid a full event programme featuring more than 3800 shows, Swiss Selection Edinburgh made a splash in this first foray into the Edinburgh Fringe.
With the intention to enhance the visibility of Swiss performing arts in the English-speaking and global cultural landscape, the shows attracted enthusiastic audiences, with one work a complete sell-out and two others exceeding their box office targets. More than 100 programmers from all around the world attended Swiss Selection Edinburgh. Around 70 articles about Swiss Selection Edinburgh appeared in the press.

«Traumboy» by Daniel Hellmann / «Traumgirl» by Anne Welenc
Performed on alternating nights throughout the festival, these auto-fictional performances told the stories of sex workers Daniel and Kim, offering a nuanced discussion of why sex for money is still considered taboo (s. picture above).
The shows were included in The Guardian: «Shows We Recommend», The Skinny: «Best of the Fest», The List: «Theatre Hitlist», The List: «10 LGBTQI+ shows to catch at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe», Miro Magazine: «Top Theatre Picks».

SSE_Mercimax_8-8_©Alex Brenner
SSE_Mercimax_8-8_©Alex Brenner

«8:8» by Mercimax
A deceptively simple piece for just eight audience members at a time featuring choreography, whispered secrets, and truths and untruths, the performance challenged the audience to think about who they trust and why. The work received rave reviews, such as The Observer who described it as «A neat little wonder… so utterly special that I used it as my go-to recommendation».

«21» by Mats Staub
From Serbia to South Africa, young lovers to Hitler Youths, Mats Staub’s interviewees recounted their experiences of coming of age. The moving and funny video installation offered a perfect reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Fringe, and many visitors found themselves absorbed for several hours. The Skinny said it was «ambitious, fascinating and at times heart-rending».

SSE_Mats Staub_21_©Alex Brenner
SSE_Mats Staub_21_©Alex Brenner

Alongside the Fringe programme, Pro Helvetia also supported Milo Rau’s highly acclaimed «La Reprise», as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The play was one of the stand-out shows, achieving a raft of glowing reviews in the national press.