Tomorrow’s Witnesses/Morgondagens Vittnen/Huomisen Todistajat is a dance-theatre project that speaks about the impact of war on the individual and what it means to be forced to leave your home, your family or your country because of war. Tomorrow’s Witnesses bridges stories from World War II to the present, from the forced evacuation of Finnmark and the scorched earth campaign that followed, Finnish children being moved to Sweden to the stories of refugees who have recently fled from war and conflict in other parts of the world. The project has taken place in Hammerfest (Norway), Luleå (Sweden) and Rovaniemi (Finland).
The project brings together elderly that survived the Second World War and young refugees that have come to the north of Scandinavia from wars and conflicts in other parts of the world. In Luleå and Rovaniemi the focus came to lie on ‘war children’ who came to Sweden during WWII and refugees who came to Sweden or Finland recently. Together with a team of professional dancers/performers they created a poetic, visually delicate performance led by choreographer Benno Voorham.
By listening to stories from our past, we get a better understanding of the present so we can build a future together.
The project started in 2017 when Benno Voorham and Solveig Leinan-Hermo from Stellaris Dance Company visited schools for newly arrived young refugees and elderly centres in Hammerfest and Kirkenes to meet with people who have survived war. In 2018 the project started with an initial period with open workshops in dance improvisation and movement-based theatre to culminate in this performance that is based on the stories, dreams, memories and reflection of both the elderly, youngsters and professional team.
In Hammerfest and Luleå video portraits were created of the participants by Nadja Voorham, which were shown in exhibitions in Museum of Reconstruction in Hammerfest and Varanger museum in Vadsö. The installation with the Swedish participants was exhibited at Stadsbiblioteket in Luleå and at Försvarsmuseum in Boden.
In each of the three countries the performance was shown to general audiences and to schools and toured in Finnmark, Norrbotten and Finnish Lapland.
Under andra världskriget brände nazisterna ner stora delar av Finnmark i Nordnorge och Norra Lappland i Finland, vilket innebar att många barn skickades till Sverige för att fly undan kriget. Nu händer samma sak igen, barn och unga flyr undan krig. Vi är därför mycket stolta att tillsammans med Lava Dansproduktion skapa möten genom dansworkshops och föreställningar, mellan nyanlända flyktingar, etablerade ungdomar samt äldre med egen erfarenhet av flyktingskap från andra världskriget, säger Marie Dahllöf, generalsekreterare för Svenska Postkodstiftelsen.
Choreographer and director: Benno Voorham (Netherlands/Sweden)
Music: Shadi Ali (Syria/Sweden)
Costume Designer: Pablo Londono Sarria (Colombia/Sweden)
Video portraits: Nadja Voorham (Sweden/Netherlands)
Artistic consultant in Norway: Solveig Leinan-Hermo (Norway)
Documentary: Tinus Kramer (Krater Productions- Netherlands))
Light Designer: Alina Pajula (Finland), Anna Lindkvist, Riikka Vuorenmaa.
Project idea: Solveig Leinan-Hermo, Marie Hermo Jensen and Benno Voorham.
Dancers/performers: Gerd Kaisa Vorren, Sebastian López-Lehto, Moa Westerlund, Jenny Schinkler and Nadja Voorham, Randi Simonsen, Odd Selnes, Ahmad Ziyadeh, Ahmed Takesh, Mohammad Khaled, Ahmed Ali, Temesgen Gehbremariam, Mahir Abdullrahman, Sara Arnia, Eine Johansson, Aleksej Prokopov, Mohinur Nurmatova, Saleh Omar, Zabiba Temam, Abdulkarim aToya, Ibrahim Hilowle Abdullahi, An Duong Quynh, Hamudat Suhail, Kaarina Kapraali and Kyllikki Vilander.
Zubair Mangal (Afghanistan) and Ahmed Ali (Sudan) have participated during the workshop and production time in Hammerfest.
”Time witnesses” from the forced evacuation in Finnmark: Svea Andersen, Reidar Nielsen, Hans Edvard Bentsen, Thorbjørn Stenvoll.
Performances in: Hammerfest, Kirkeness, Tana Bru, Tromsö, Alta, Luleå, Boden, Haparanda, Pajala, Övertorneå, Rovaniemi, Pello, Kemijärvi, Salla and Sodankylä.
The project has received its main funding from the Swedish Postcode Foundation.
In Norway the project is also supported by our local partners in Hammerfest: Arctic Culture Centre, Culture School, Hammerfest Multiplicity, and The Museum of Reconstruction for Finnmark and Northern Troms.