A key part of the Queer Beograd Collectives festivals has been the creation of political theatre in the form of the ‘Border Fuckers Cabaret.’
As writer and director I have collaborated with artists and activists to produced queer cabaret for our festivals that contains topics such as anti-militarism, sexism, homophobia, anti-capitalism and uses laughter and sexiness to seduce our audiences towards more radical political sensibilities.
With the cabaret the idea was to be able to present some direct political messages without everyone being bored to death. To create some mix of queer and sub-cultural theatre practices containing our own radical politics in a way that people might catch onto and feel energised by.
It was an attempt to find some other way to communicate, to entertain, to create an experience of freedom even if only for an hour in one small space. The first performance event was deeply influenced by the Weimar cabaret tradition but also by Situationist ideas, many of the collective had some experience of autonomous spaces – either through the free party scene or as a part of alter-globalist practices and these elements also found an expression.
For me was a process of working in collaboration with people who were mostly activists, of listening to personal stories, writing scripts, encouraging people to collaborate in the writing process. Working as a director with people most of whom were not trained performers but did perform their own stories in the shows. The content was always a careful knitting together of the personal anecdote with our current political context of a homophobic patriarchal society, of the situation of post war, post communism, and the transition to capitalism.
The shows have often focused on issues of governments controlling borders in terms of freedom of movement and the economic and cultural implications of the E.U, our stories build into this an understanding of queer and anti-fascist struggles.
We created shows which presented pieces which ranged across the topics of detention centres, genocide, anti-fascist struggles and domestic violence, capitalism and homophobia and transphobia –which doesn’t sound exactly fun – but with humour and a great sound track we ended up with Peace activist soldiers doing burlesque, anti-fascist faggots flying the rainbow flag, live nude girls demonstrating their frisking techniques and of course all kinds of things getting smuggled across the borders.
Serious political messages communicated with style and humour.
Queer Beograd ‘Border Fuckers Cabaret’ – Activists turned performers in shows that cross the borders between nations, cultures, genders and sexualities.
As well as featuring in our festivals Borderfuckers Cabaret has appeared elsewhere – being the headlining act at Transfabulous festival – transgender festival of the arts – London, Subversive messe – Linz , and Wigstockel Berlin.
More resources, including our free download publications can be found on the Queer Beograd website archive: here