THROUGH THE CRACKS: Taking The Fear Out of Foreign Language in Theatre

Blog by Zoe Street

Introducing Genevieve Butler – physical theatre maker, writer, director and devisor who states,  “I want the idea of seeing a work in a foreign language to be less scary.” In her new work, Eden, which will have a creative development season with us at Crack Theatre Festival, Genevieve will combine physical storytelling and the French language to create an ironic take on the classic age-old couple, Adam and Eve.

Genevieve studied at L’ecole International de Theatre Lassaad, a theatre school in Belgium where students go through rigorous physical theatre and movement training. While studying, Genevieve went on a visit to the south of France, where she fell into a magical world that planted the seed for Eden; I came upon a world I found fascinatingly different to my own. Everything felt heightened and almost surreal but excruciatingly real”.

During her visit, Genevieve was couch surfing and a host shared a story about a date he recently went on. And so began the reimagining of the tale of Adam and Eve, this time round taking place on a crowded beach along the French Riviera, with a wayside apple and a not-so-silent sun.

Now I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many plays in French (well none, if I’m going to be honest), especially in the form of contemporary physical theatre so I had to ask Genevieve about her choice to present a work completely in another language. She responded, “I want to allow an opportunity for audiences to actively engage their other senses, allow them to work at a higher capacity, invest in the experience and to go on the journey of the work rather than just consume”. It’s true, today we are fed easy entertainment where we don’t have to engage and think, we can just “consume”. Genevieve takes a keen interest in creating an experience where the audience has to “be in a heightened state of processing information, a similar state to being in a foreign country that does not speak your mother tongue”. However she also recognises that performing in another language could make it challenging to connect to an audience for an entire show.  This is where Genevieve brings in the physical tongue-in-cheek humour that she deems “universal”.

Like many works at Crack Theatre Festival, Eden is a creative development, so not only will you be able to be an audience member, but you may also take on a role as fellow collaborator in this innovative and challenging new piece. Oui oui, cela devrait être passionnant!


What Genevieve is all about: Physical humour, satirical storytelling cabaret, practising your craft daily, visceral movement.

A tiny taster of what’s to come: A cheeky, disarming and reflective bible story turned upside down (in French).


Genevieve Butler is our Setting the Stages artist from QLD. See Eden on Friday 30 Sep from 8:30pm – 8:45pm and Sunday 2 Oct from 6:45pm-7pm at Watt Space Gallery. 

Gen is currently on the look out for Newcastle Actors to be involved in this piece! Interested? Check out more details here.

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