Iraqi Bodies invites you to send us your interest of participating in the stage laboratory that will deal with the notion of the grotesque in the scenic arts. The grotesque, a term coined in the 15th century, has come to encompass a variety of mediums and forms–from the visual arts, through to literature and drama and in various theatrical traditions such as mime, dance, butoh and contemporary circus practices. The continuous transgression of the ‘grotesque’ is what interests us and its capacity to constantly shift our focal point of attention–what was once deemed grotesque becomes, in our modern eyes, ‘classical’ and what might today look grotesque might quickly become a standard for something quite different. We will therefore not be looking for a ‘style’ or try to ‘figure out’ what the grotesque might be but to approximate the qualities that the grotesque inhabits. Those qualities are the fundamental essences of play, of transformation, of uncanniness, of something hidden, and as being a fertile ground for cross-fertilization between various theatrical traditions and methods present on the stage.

Iraqi Bodies have, over the past ten years, sought to establish a radical theatre in which all aspects of the scenic arts come together as a unity of time and space rather than distinct disciplines of dramatic theatre, dance/movement, mime and circus. Radical must in this context be seen as an origin, or root–from the Latin radix. Considering that the origin of theatre in Ancient Greece incorporated text, movement, music and acrobatics it seems, to us, the only viable option if true appreciation for ‘theatre’ is to be upheld. Yet there are very rarely opportunities available for actors, dancers, mimes and circus performers to research such a ‘form’ without the constraint of working towards a performance. The laboratory will act as a meeting place for the performers of these disciplines to come together and research various ways of working together.

Throughout the laboratory three questions will be addressed:

o Where do we place the grotesque in theatre: Ancient Greek Tragedy/Comedy, commedia dell’arte and/or ‘Theatre of the Absurd’?

o How does the grotesque upset Aristotelian dramatic structure and catharsis?

o What/Which value-judgement(s) has the grotesque placed on the body? If so, what is and how does a grotesque body behave on stage.

We will invite 2-3 participants from each discipline (theatre, dance, mime and circus) that will follow the laboratory from May to December at several working sessions in Gothenburg and the region of Västra Götaland. The laboratory is free of charge and will cover the accommodation of the participants who do not reside in Gothenburg. Unfortunately, we cannot cover travel costs. We encourage applications from all the Scandinavian countries and abroad! The working language of the laboratory will be English.

The laboratory will be led by Iraqi Bodies’ artistic directors Josephine Gray and Anmar Taha along with international invited artist that will inform the working sessions with their expertise. The invited artists will be announced shortly.

The preliminary dates are:

20-24 May
15-21 June
20 July – 2 August

17-22 August
October dates TBC

30 Oct - 2 Nov

December dates TBC

N.B. Due to the current pandemic we are aware that the May dates might have to be cancelled. This will be confirmed in due time.


The call is open to all professional actors, dancers, mimes and circus performers including last-year students of any of the above disciplines at a higher education.

To apply please send us your CV and a personal letter (min. 1 A4, max. 2 A4) on why you would like to participate and what interests you in researching the grotesque. Please take care in writing your letter as this will be the basis for the selection rather than your CV.

The application should be sent to by APRIL 13TH 2020. Selected participants will be informed by April 20th 2020 the latest.


We are very much looking forward to receiving your application and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at !