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Theatre life in Denmark

Aarhus and Eastern Jutland is home to many internationally-minded companies and organisations contributing to this area's internationalisation. This month International Community gives the floor to Juliana Appel from LUSUS THEATRE.


Text: International Community

In 2016, whilst living in Argentina, my husband and I decided that we needed a change of pace. More specifically, we wanted to go somewhere different from Argentina or Brazil, where I am originally from. And since my husband and I have previously lived in Copenhagen, we had experience with life in Denmark. It is safe and socially equal, and because my husband was offered a job at Vestas as an engineer, we decided to come back. This time, though, we chose Aarhus. Personally, Aarhus is a good city with the right size – it is big enough to have a cultural attraction and not so big that it's impersonal.

When I moved to Denmark, I decided to change my career. After 10 years of teaching fine art, storytelling, and drama, I decided to become an actress. Even though I have been acting since I was 15 years old, it has never been my main job, so it was challenging to get started as a professional actress. I do not speak the language, nor did I have a network when first arriving here, which made my acting endeavour even more challenging.

In my first year in Aarhus, all I did was network, get to know the city, and figure out how things work. And in trying to do so, I stumbled across Spouse Community, through which I met a lot of people in the same situation as me – other internationals and spouses also wanting to get to know new people and strike up some new friendships. Spouse Community and International Community were of great support and still are today.

"In my first year in Aarhus, all I did was network, get to know the city, and figure out how things work." - Juliana Appel

In my second year in Aarhus, I finished an acting piece that I brought here in draft format from Brazil. By doing this, I had to find a director, musician, photographer, a venue to rehearse and perform, and much more. By the end of 2019, I became a professional artist on paper – I got a certificate from the Danish government saying that we could perform professionally. Getting this certificate was a big deal because it is the only way to be accepted into art and performance.

My colleagues and I were incredibly hopeful for 2020! We were going to do a lot of presentations and performances at different festivals and events. But, as we all know, the pandemic struck, and we were forced to think differently. We started working on some new projects and got the chance to learn more about our collaborative group and future together. We are a group of six artists, and together we have created the association, LUSUS THEATRE. As an association, we can apply to the government for grants meaning that we can work more professionally. This is much needed since the performance industry is harsh. It is demanding to make a career in this line of work since it is not always compatible with the business world.

Besides my LUSUS THEATRE work, I give private lessons in body language and teach theatre in the Acting for Fun workshop. I have also been using my previous experience to guide other teachers to develop more creative classes using fine arts and theatre. Being your own boss in this line of work has its pros and cons. It enables you to work on what you are good at and enjoy. It is just a matter of finding the right person(s) or letting them find you, which can then set things in motion.

In the future, I will continue my entrepreneurial endeavour with theatre. Some people say that in the seventh year of living in a new place, the person begins to enjoy the benefits of one's efforts. I just started my fifth year in Aarhus, and I am patient and hopeful for the future.

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