In Sweden, a national tour of the acclaimed play ‘SEVEN’ was launched this July by the leading national theater company, Riksteatern. In a unique and creative take on the play, seven politicians were asked to perform the reading, rehearsing in the halls of parliament as members of the media looked on.
Held during a yearly political summit in Visby, Gotland, the performance took place amid a gathering of politicians, activists and citizens. Despite the intensive schedule of over 1000 seminars, speeches and events taking place over the week-long event, SEVEN drew much attention and praise. Prior to the performance, an installation was staged in the town square, with actors and advocates silently holding signs with questions relating to women’s rights in Sweden and internationally. This simple yet effective display engaged the public on the theme of women’ rights, and also paid silent tribute to fallen Iranian protester, Neda.
In a crowded theater, seven politicians of diverse backgrounds performed SEVEN, dedicating the reading to women working to advance freedom and democracy around the world. Among the politicians featured were Amineh Kakabaveh, who fled fighting in the Kurdish regions of Iran and Turkey and now works with girls who are culturally oppressed in Sweden, and Cecilia Wikstrom, recently elected member of European Parliament and active campaigner on the issue of human trafficking.
Following the reading, a panel was moderated by Swedish journalist Mikael Olsson, featuring the seven politicians and Yasmine Sherif, head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Rule of Law, Justice and Security initiative.
The enthusiasm with which the launch was received has solidified a platform that the actors and the team at Riksteatern will build on during the national tour. Hedda Sjorgren of Riksteatern spoke of the excitement and the upcoming tour: “We will keep engaging both local and national organizations in order to bring issues of women’s rights high up on the political agenda, and will have people engage themselves in different ways and learn more!”