Swedes likes slapstick and British humour’: Why this theatre company is putting on Shakespeare in Stockholm for free

With a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic Twelfth Night in ’98 percent English, 1.5 percent Swedish, and 0.5 percent very bad French’ performing outdoors, Stockholm’s Polar Eclipse Theatre isn’t afraid to do something different. The international founders told The Local why they think Shakespeare is made to be performed outside.

Polar Eclispe Theatre is an international theatre company based in Stockholm which puts on multilingual productions. The company was formed by a group of mostly internationals including Chris Killik, Cheryl Murphy, Pontus Olgrim and Joe Rideout.

“We met on the production of Much Ado About Nothing in 2014. We enjoyed working with each other and we decided to create our own theatre company, and continue the tradition of doing Shakespeare during summer time,” says Murphy, who will be playing the role of Olivia.

The performance will be almost entirely in English, or “98 percent in English, 1.5 percent in Swedish and 0.5 percent in very bad French. At one part of the play, one character claims to talk five languages, and tries to speak French to someone who actually speaks French,” as  Alex Sutton, the director, explains.

The company feels it’s important to produce vibrant English content in Sweden. “Sometimes people travel from Sweden to London or New York to watch theatre,” Olgrim, who plays Sir Andrew, explains.

“It’s amazing that they can come see us here in Sweden. Loads of people are coming because they don’t speak the (local) language.”

Murphy adds that along with internationals, “lots of Swedes are coming”.

“I enjoy going to theatre in Swedish, but I also enjoy the option of being able to see it in English, and it’s amazing to be able to experience the text in its original language. Sometimes you can lose things with translation.”

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