Hester Chillingworth directs Nicki Hobday and Nando Messias in Sylvan Oswald’s radical new work Trainers… a queer, visionary adventure story, which asks what separates us from each other, our bodies, and ourselves, and how we might complete one another.
Set in a post gender future, Trainers… is part essay and part play. It follows a struggling writer who falls in with a group of depressed queer revolutionaries during a future civil war. Inspired by an essay by the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne and the story of his intellectual love affair with political thinker Etienne de la Boetie, the text explores what it takes to challenge the politics of one’s time and how we can train for a revolution.
Sylvan Oswald is a US based, award-winning interdisciplinary artist who creates plays, texts and video. His language driven work uses meta-theatricality and formal irreverence to challenge structures of identity. Recent work includes a phantasmagorical western High Winds (X Artists’ Books) and the lo-fi web series Outtakes exploring trans identity (outtakestv.com). He is currently assistant professor of playwriting at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, an affiliated artist at Clubbed Thumb and an alum of New Dramatists.
Hester Chllingworth is a director and artist based in London. They are Thinker-in-Residence (Young People, Gender & Live Art) at the Live Art Development Agency and a Fellow of the Centre for Contemporary Theatre at Birkbeck University. Directing work includes That Night Follows Day (co-directed with Tim Etchells) for Forced Entertainment at The Southbank Centre (as well as versions in South Korea and China), the national tour of the trans-positive pantomime A Pair of Pantos (as writer and director), and Ten Plagues (Mark Ravenhill’s song cycle for Marc Almond).
They also curated the exhibition In Visible Ink – Queer Heroes for the National Theatre, and Queer Upstairs (with Mark Ravenhill) for The Royal Court, where they are currently under commission as a 2020 Jerwood New Playwright. Hester has been collaborating with internationally renowned performance company Forced Entertainment since 2009 and established the company’s Participation strand, founding their young company Art Breakers.
Trainers… is at Gate Theatre 27th February to 21st March 2020.