Swiss Connection UK: Residencies 2023

Performing Arts
A woman sitting at a desk with a laptop during an online call
© Monika Truong

During the Covid pandemic, Pro Helvetia organised online residencies for Swiss arts practitioners at various theatres and festivals in the United Kingdom. The offer was met with great interest among all parties concerned and yielded some exciting results. It will therefore be continued and supplemented by on-site residencies.

There are significant differences between the British and the Swiss arts scenes. This applies to artistic expression, artistic production and relationships with audiences. Themes such as migration, diversity, and audience development have been topical for a long time in the UK – a fact that interested parties wanting to deal at greater depth with these subjects can benefit from.

In 2023, four one-week residencies at four different institutions were open for application. Each institution has a different focus in terms of content and genre of work. Participants were selected directly by the institutions and provided with contacts to associated arts and dramaturgy practitioners.

The residencies enabled participants to expand their network, become familiar with an institution in a specifically British context, and reflect on their own artistic practice with the help of local arts and theatre-related practitioners.

Selected artists

Choreographer & performer Jeremy Nedd

Fierce Festival, Birmingham (online)

“Fierce are thrilled to be hosting Jeremy Nedd for the Swiss Connection UK: Residencies 2023. We have been following Jeremy’s work for a while with great interest, he feels at the forefront of choreographic practice and image making, with a unique aesthetic. We’re looking forward to exploring synergies between Jeremy, his practice and artists and communities in Birmingham. Fierce has a long history of presenting swiss work, and working closely with Pro Helvetia so working together on this residency feels like a natural and exciting next step, we can’t wait to see what it brings!”

Pippa Frith, Director (Producing), Fierce Festival

About Jeremy Nedd

Jeremy Nedd Is a Brooklyn, New York born choreographer and performer who is based in Basel, Switzerland. Nedd has had engagements at the Semperoper Dresden (2010-2012) and Ballett Basel (2012-2016). As a guest performer he is associated with Schauspielhaus Zürich, where he has worked with Trajal Harrell since 2019. Nedd has realized and presented his previous productions at Kaserne Basel, ROXY Birsfelden, Arsenic – Centre d’art scénique contemporain, Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and Münchner Kammerspiele, amongst others.

About Fierce Festival, Birmingham

Fierce is interested in new, overlooked, difficult and risky artistic practices. Fierce is informed by an intersectional queer politic (stemming from its original roots as Queerfest back in the mid 90s) and subsequently we’re very interested in embodied practices and embodied politics. We’re invested in presenting the work of marginalised artists, be that based on gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, or numerous other factors. Fierce isn’t an ‘issue’ led festival but knows that the best artistic work so frequently comes from a marginalised position. Fierce wants to challenge predominant hierarchies in the art world, asking questions about what art is deemed valuable, who it can be for and where it can be presented. They are interested in the relationship between the mainstream and the underground, and that of the allegedly low-brow and high-brow. To this end Fierce is interested in a range of practices that might be considered punk, outsider, trash, camp, or generally “alternative”. Fierce doesn’t take itself too seriously in the hope that audiences won’t either with the aspiration of making experimental arts practices more accessible to general audiences.

Fierce transforms the city and the way we feel about it:  populating theatres, galleries and hidden, unusual or out-of-the-ordinary spaces like disused warehouses, swimming pools and car parks. You might see theatre, dance, performance art, music, installations, activism and parties or a combination of all those things in a programme of memorable experiences and events.

You can view previous editions of Fierce Festival on their website:

About the residency

Date: September/Oktober 2023

Fierce Festival want to support artist/s to make connections with local artists & venues in Birmingham and connect them with their colleagues working at other UK International arts festivals. The virtual residency will include a number of activities as listed below, and the exact itinerary will be decided by the selected artist & Fierce Festival:

  • Introduction to Fierce Festival and other UK international performance festivals
  • Virtual meetings with UK based artists & industry
  • Mentorship from Fierce Festival on your project or career,
  • Support from creatives in the UK on your project e.g. dramaturgical feedback
  • Online sharing of work
  • Online workshops
  • Creation of digital work such as a podcast

Choreographer Emma Murray

HOME, Manchester (on-site)

“HOME are really excited to be part of this residency again supporting Emma Murray. We have a strong focus on Artist Development here at HOME and welcome the opportunity to bring Emma to Manchester and introduce her to our rich arts culture and help her to cultivate networks with local theatre-makers as well as supporting this step-change in her practice and development as an artist.

Working with Pro Helvetia supports HOME’s ambition to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun, take risks and share great new art with the widest possible audience”

Davinia Jokhi, Talent Development Producer

About Emma Murray

New Zealand born, Emma Murray works in the field of performance and choreography, producing adept and sometimes absurd physical translations for the contradictions and complexities of being alive.

Typically, her solo or group projects exploit a post creative appro-ach to text or language in order to contextualize movement in per-formance. She collaborates with artists across artistic disciplines and cultural divides, while maintaining a teaching practice that in-forms as well as archives her interest in creative process and co–operation.  Murray draws on her long and varied background in dance to mix up language and movement, creating environments where the physicality of the audience and her direct relation to them are implicit in her performances

About HOME, Manchester

We work with international and UK artists to produce entertaining, extraordinary experiences, creating an exciting mix of thought-provoking film, art, drama, dance, and festivals, with a strong focus on new commissions, and talent development.

HOME’s ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun, take risks and share great new art with the widest possible audience.

HOME supports artists to develop cutting edge contemporary theatre, new writing and musicals.

For more information visit:

About the residency

Date: 3–7 July 2023

The artist will be in residence at HOME for 5 days in one of their rehearsal rooms. Artists can use this time & space to:

  • Rehearse a project
  • Experiment with new ideas
  • Meet with Manchester based artists and industry
  • Receive mentorship from the team at HOME
  • Collaborate with UK/Manchester based artists
  • Engage with activities in the building, see shows
  • Explore the Manchester theatre scene.
  • Present work to an invited audience at HOME

Dancer, choreographer & theatre maker Sarafina Beck

Brixton House, London (on-site)

“We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Sarafina, an incredibly dynamic Dancer, Choreographer and Theatre Maker, who will be joining us at Brixton House as part of an international exchange programme with Swiss artists through an open call out. This collaboration marks our ongoing partnership with Pro Helvetia which began in 2022. Sarafina’s research residency will focus on the psychological effects of creating performance and translating that into dance expression.  Hosting this performance research aligns perfectly with our mission as a multi-arts organisation committed to helping makers take the next step in their careers and we look forward to welcoming her to Brixton House”

Ruth Hawkins, Head of Programming & Producing

About Sarafina Beck

In 2015, after three years practicing Salsa dance as a hobby, Sarafina decided to study at the Higher School of Contemporary and Urban Stage Dance in Zurich. She started to intuitively fuse her collected dance vocabulary of different styles to create her body language. Authenticity forms the core of her expression. Today Sarafina works as a freelance dancer, choreographer and dance teacher and engages in film, commercial and theatre projects. On stage she worked with the companies MEK and Cie. La Ronde and also will be part of the of their new productions in 2023 and 2024. In October 2023 Sarafina will present her first evening piece «Tele(your)vision» at Gessnerallee Zurich.

About Brixton House, London

Brixton House will host an international artist residency in partnership with Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council. The residency will take place in September 2023.

We want our town, city, and its many diverse communities to be reflected in our shows, events and participation programmes regardless of class, ethnicity, language, ability, sexuality or gender identity.

Brixton House is a home for a new generation of makers, artists, writers, producers, technicians and audiences to inspire experiences that develop community solidarity and passion for social change. Located in the heart of Brixton, London, the theatre has a long legacy of ground-breaking theatre and continues its legacy of championing innovation and creative expression and presents work that is rich in stories that resonate with its local, international, and intergenerational communities. We encourage applications from people of colour and disabled people and those from underrepresented communities.

For more information please visit:

About the residency

Date: 4-8 September 2023

The artist will be in residence at Brixton House for 5 days in one of their state-of-the-art rehearsal rooms. Artists can use this time & space to:

  • Rehearse a project
  • Experiment with new ideas
  • Meet with London based artists and industry
  • Receive mentorship from Brixton House
  • Collaborate with UK/London based artists
  • Engage with activities in the building, see shows
  • Explore the London theatre scene.
  • Present work to an invited audience at Brixton House

Writer Pablo Jakob Montefusco

Royal Court Theatre, London (on-site)

About Royal Court, London

The Royal Court Theatre is the writers’ theatre. It is a leading force in world theatre for cultivating and supporting writers – undiscovered, emerging and established.

Through the writers, the Royal Court is at the forefront of creating restless, alert, provocative theatre about now. We open our doors to the unheard voices and free thinkers that, through their writing, change our way of seeing.

For more information please visit:

About the residency

Date: September 2023

The Royal Court want to support a playwright to make connections with creatives & the wider industry in London, develop their writing and connect them with the artistic team at the Royal Court in a dramaturgical conversation about their work. The residency will include a number of activities as listed below, and the exact itinerary will be decided by the selected artist & The Royal Court:

  • time to write or focus on a new piece of work as the centrepiece of the residency
  • dedicated dramaturgical discussion with the team at the Royal Court and meetings with the artistic team across different aspects of the building’s work
  • meeting and building relationships with potential collaborators in the UK and peer writers
  • seeing work at the Royal Court, in London and elsewhere and meeting with other organisations
  • translation support to commission a translation of the writer’s work into English and begin a collaborative relationship with a translator as appropriate
  • engaging with writers groups, participatory projects, script meetings and a range of activity across the organisation as appropriate