Johnny Autin is an international dance artist and choreographer from France, now based in Birmingham.
Johnny trained at the French National Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and went on to choreograph and direct work experimenting with a range of different styles, from Contemporary Dance, Flamenco, Break Dance, and Opera to Physical Theatre. Johnny has been working internationally for the past 12 years with choreographers and companies throughout Europe as a performer and physical theatre practitioner, as well as touring work worldwide. Johnny is an associate choreographer for Birmingham Opera Company, and Creative Director of Autin Dance Theatre (est. 2013) currently touring ‘A Positive Life’ an immersive dance theatre experience around sex, love and relationships for young people, and an outdoor show-stopper ‘Dystopia’.
Stand-up dance theatre ‘Queer Words’ will be the company’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut
Queer Words is coming to Greenside, what can you tell us about the show?
Queer Words, stand-up comedy meets dance theatre!
Performed by an all-LGBTQ cast of 3 exceptional performers, Queer words is a bold, provocative, and multi-disciplinary performance. Combining story-telling, spoken word, dance and physical theatre, Queer Words investigates toxic ideals and the crisis of masculinity at an open mic night. Brutally honest, darkly funny and at times controversial – Autin Dance Theatre is tackling a culture of violence and insecurities with sketches about personal stories around the male perspective, feminism, gender inequalities, and homophobia. You’ll be sure to enjoy an epic and vibrant 45 minute outspoken slice of pride, hope, activism, and courage.
What’s the one thing about Queer Words that makes it different from all the rest?
One thing only? Wow! I guess it has to be our 3 exceptional queer performers (Beth, Oli, and Josh). The show is about them, and their stories about toxic masculinity. They’re unique, talented, funny, moving, beautiful, in your face, and authentic. They are what makes ‘Queer Words’ special.
In the end, you get to find out about and fall in love with 3 fantastic people. We explore and talk about real stories with passion and authenticity. Our show is not what you’d expect from a dance show, and in the best possible ways! Queer Words has something for everyone, dance, music, poetry, singing, and a lot of sass! We are not shy, and tell it like it is.
Previous audience members have said: “Exciting, challenging, thoughtful, fluid, engaging, intense […]”
“Highly captivating!” “Thought-provoking with moments of real raw beauty.”
Why did you want to write about this subject?
I have had the idea of making a show about toxic masculinity from a queer point of view for a couple of years. We have been working on this show (devising and rehearsing) since February this year, and it will be premiering this year at the Fringe Festival. Our show is undeniably relevant for audiences in 2018, looking at homophobia, toxic ideals of masculinity, mental health, gender roles, and feminism. Considering the current political movements around equal rights, and a lot of stories that are emerging around mental health, suicide being the main killer of young males under 25, and LGBTI rights, we unpick some of those issues and themes in the show by taking them to their extremes and making fun of them.
How does Queer Words differ to other works you’ve written?
Queer Words is actually a follow on from our previous work A Positive Life. A Positive Life is an immersive dance theatre piece based around love, sex and relationships, aimed at young people aged 11-25. A lot of the themes about identity, gender roles, masculinity and mental health were discussed at length with young people and collaborators. Queers Words has been inspired by these subjects and topics, and brought to life for a grown-up audience, that way we can be as outspoken and thought-provoking as we want!
How have the team at Greenside, made you feel welcome?
The Greenside Team have been amazing! So welcoming and friendly from the start, but also very organised with great communication. As it’s our first time presenting work at the Fringe we have been asking a lot of questions and they have all been super helpful and very quick in getting back to us. We are very excited to be at Greenside Venue, it seemed to be the perfect venue for us when we were searching somewhere for our Fringe Debut.
Also, they have a big great programme of over 170 fabulous performances
What would you say to people thinking of coming to see Queer Words?
You won’t regret it! It’s a brilliant show with 3 fantastic performers. High quality dance & physical theatre, poetry and some real moments of comedy and raw beauty. The show tackles a difficult subject at times with lightness and fun, and at other times with brutal truths and realities. It’s about queer artists exploring their queer identities. Expect real, authentic, colourful characters in a flamboyant, funky and fabulous show! You will probably learn a thing or two at ‘Queer Words’. Oh, and come with a friend, it’ll be even more fun!
Queer Words is at Forest Theatre, Greenside Venues @ Infirmary Street 13th – 25th August (not 19th)