EFFEA Story: Sun Bear Nordic/ Baltic Spring Residency

Residency of Sarah Richardson, presented by Gothenburg Fringe Festival in partnership with FINFRINGE & Zagare Fringe

Sun Bear_1_Uros Hocevar Sun Bear_2_Uros Hocevar
©Uros Hocevar / Gothenburg Fringe

Playwright and performer Sarah Richardson took part in a month-long residency hosted by Gothenburg Fringe in May to develop her theatre show Sun Bear.

A one-woman dark comedy, Sun Bear, explores the lasting effects of emotionally abusive relationships within the backdrop of office life. Having presented a digital version of the piece in 2020, Sarah used the residency to reimagine it for a live audience, as originally intended.

After hosting workshops with local dancers in Gothenburg combining movement and spoken word, Sarah was inspired to bring poetry into Sun Bear. The script was rewritten to explore the possibilities of combining spoken word and theatre and using different storytelling techniques to convey her message.

Given time, space and creative freedom, Sarah used the residency to develop the performance of the piece and the text, playing with audience interaction, the emotional journey and the impact of the show. It allowed Sarah to delve into what she wanted to say and how she wanted to connect with an audience while exploring such a raw and hard-hitting topic.

Also during her residency, Sarah visited both FinFringe and Zagare Fringe, where she was massively inspired by the extraordinary work she saw and the artists she connected with. As an artist, these experiences have continued to influence her work and career as she challenges how and what she creates.

After the residency, Sarah returned to Gothenburg to perform Sun Bear as a part of the Gothenburg Fringe. A full house, the “Simply the Best” award, and three nominations were evidence of the profound developmental and impactful experience.

Sun Bear_4_Marcio Menino©Marcio Menino / Gothenburg Fringe