Cross-cultural Theatre Education: Rehearsals and Performance. English as Lingua Franca, rewriting process, and poly-glottal text in psycho-physical acting practice


  • Lars Henning Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts



Cross-cultural theatre education, English as Lingua Franca, Movement Psychology, psycho-physical actor training, embodiment of the unconscious


At Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts, English is the Lingua Franca (ELF) of artistic exploration. With a non-conformist approach to the use of ELF, highlighting a body-mind insight into the language over correctness, a latent, expressive potential of ELF is explored through a psycho-physical training. The predominant technique is Movement Psychology (Laban/Malmgren), which examines the interdependence between, on the one hand, text, language, and narrative and, on the other, the embodiment of the Jungian unconscious.
The paper analyses the process and the methods of staging the production entitled Re: ORESTES, based on Mee’s play Orestes 2.0, applying the described methodological exploration. The play was rewritten and remoulded by the performers throughout a rehearsal process, which focused on interlacing the performers’ highly diverse cultural horizons (Gadamer) in a common mega-text, in an attempt to fuse the familiar with the alien, the personal with the collective, and to channel, shape and articulate the material within ELF.
The paper details two different examples of this transformative remoulding process. One actor wrote a completely new text, which was performed in the heightened style of "the Queen’s English". Another actor performed a part in a poly-glottal combination of Ancient and Modern Greek (her mother tongue) and ELF. In this process, both performers sought to transcend the preconceived limitations of their individual cultural horizons as well as of the English language.

Author Biography

Lars Henning, Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts

Lars Henning trained as an actor at Drama Centre London (University of the Arts London). His mentor and predecessor was Yat Malmgren, who developed in collaboration with Rudolf Laban the system of Movement Psychology. He performed in numerous productions nationally and internationally, before starting his directing and teaching career in 2000. Since then, he has taught and directed over 30 theatre productions in Denmark, England, Scotland, Canada, Egypt, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Currently, Lars Henning is Artistic Director at Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts. He teaches Acting Technique, Movement Psychology, Classical Text and Theatre History for all three years, and is responsible for planning, development and implementation of training content.


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Re:ORESTES, 2 min video:

Re:ORESTES, Trailer:

Re:ORESTES, Behind the scenes:

All videos by Nefeli Kyriakidi.




How to Cite

Henning, L. (2017). Cross-cultural Theatre Education: Rehearsals and Performance. English as Lingua Franca, rewriting process, and poly-glottal text in psycho-physical acting practice. Nordic Theatre Studies, 28(2), 164–183.