Samara Hersch

Body of Knowledge (at home)


How much closeness is possible between people who live faraway from each other, who do not know each other, who are separated by continents, cultures and generations? What happens when adults in Zurich talk over the phone to teenagers in Australia about vital and intimate topics such as sexuality, shame, sorrow, age, death and the future of the planet? And how does theatre work in the absence of physical presence?

«Body of Knowledge» is an invitation to engage in conversation, to participate in an exchange between far away bodies about things regarding the body. The phone line becomes the stage, the teenagers calling from their rooms in Australia become the performers and the adults in Zurich – answering the calls from their home – the audience asked to respond to the teenagers’ burning questions. At the beginning and end of the performance, the participants meet on screen in a virtual foyer where they receive an introduction and can subsequently exchange their experiences.

The works of the Australian theatremaker Samara Hersch are at the interface between performance and social engagement. They touch on political and social taboos and raise issues that are usually hushed up. Last year, she presented «We All Know What’s Happening» at the festival, a haunting documentary theatre on the immigration detention facilities on the island nation Nauru. The moving production, created in collaboration with Lara Thoms and children from Melbourne, was awarded the ZKB Patronage as well as the ZKB Audience Prize. «Body of Knowledge» also deals with the dialogue between generations and the exchange of knowledge at eye level. And again, Samara Hersch works with amateurs. During workshops, the teenagers practised to find a language to express and discuss their ignorance, fears, desires and hopes with self-confidence. Their curiosity, vigour and straightforwardness are a gift to the audience, which has the power to shake convictions, shift perceptions and to reposition one’s own biography. (kdi)


Artistic direction and cast

Kreation & UmsetzungJugendliche aus Australien
Künstlerische LeitungSamara Hersch
At-Home-Konzept & KreativtechnologienFred Rodrigues
Künstlerische MitarbeitCass Fumi
DramaturgieMaria Rößler
WebentwicklungJonathan Mikkelsen
Technische AssistenzNathan Fain


ProduktionsunterstützungBec Reid
KoproduktionInternationales Sommerfestival Kampnagel Hamburg und Zürcher Theater Spektakel. «Body of Knowledge» wurde ursprünglich realisiert im Rahmen von Be SpectACTive! A European Network on Audience Engagement and Performing Arts, Performance Space, Liveworks Festival and SICK! Festival

BildPier Carthew

Live Telephone Performance

Co-production, premiere


Approx. 1:15 hrs



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