English-language play to explore hidden ‘Secrets’

Denmark’s English-speaking theatre group Why Not Theatre will premiere its new play in a secret location somewhere in Copenhagen's new Carlsberg district.

English-language play to explore hidden 'Secrets'
Why Not Theatre is one of Denmark's English-speaking companies. Photo: Sue Hansen-Styles

Why Not Theatre Company, one of Denmark leading English-speaking groups, is readying a new production. 


The play, Secrets, will premiere on September 11th, but organizers won't say where. The location of 'Secrets' is, appropriately enough, a secret.  


“The decision to play 'Secrets' outside the traditional theatre, where everything tends to be safe and recognizable, is a conscious one: we meet at Café Elefanten at Carlsberg no later than 15 minutes before the performance starts and are then guided – on foot – to a secret place,” the theatre group said in a statement to The Local. 


The group said the performance will be “a musical and poetical journey” into what makes all of us keep certain things to ourselves. 


“Why do we all have secrets? What is your boyfriend or girlfriend or your parents keeping from you? What is your biggest, deepest, most embarrassing or more grotesque secret?” the company wrote.


'Secrets' will be the company's first play from director Jeremy Thomas-Poulsen.
“It is the first time Why Not Theatre Company works with young American director, Jeremy Thomas-Poulsen, and the first time that we are exploring a new and exciting theatre style”, Sue Hansen-Styles, the company's artistic director and actress, told The Local.. 
“In the play, Jeremy weaves together the spoken word, poetry, music and short stories written by a young Serbian writer who also lives here in Copenhagen” she added. 


Why Not Theatre has been providing professional theatre in English since 2007 and has been awarded by CPH-Culture Best of 2014 for the play WIT, including ‘Best female lead of the year’ (Sue Hansen-Styles), ‘Best foreign play of the year’ and a nomination for ‘Best play of the year’.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


International business school cast brings Greek tragedy to Copenhagen stage

International theatre is probably not the first thing you’d associate with Copenhagen Business School. But newcomers and established performers are hoping to change that with their adaptation of the Greek tragedy Elektra.

International business school cast brings Greek tragedy to Copenhagen stage
Some of the cast of CBS Theatre's 'Elektra'. Photo: CBS Theatre

A cold wind blows – sounds familiar? – across Ancient Greece. The king of Argos, hero of the Trojan war, is dead. The princess Elektra has sworn revenge on his killer, the queen…and her mother. Her opportunity arrives when her brother Orestes comes home to avenge their father.

In the absence of a new season of Game of Thrones this year, Copenhagen Business School's CBS Theatre is offering alternative intrigue and murder in an adaptation of Euripides’ ‘Elektra’.

Despite its ancient origins, some of Elektra’s themes remain ominously relevant today. 

“It is about being so locked on achieving one thing that it ends up being your downfall. Klytemnestra isn't capable of fully taking responsibility for taking away Elektra's father from her and Elektra isn't capable of forgiving her mother,” says Kristine Helms, who plays Princess Elektra. 

Somewhat ironically, Greece is absent from the very international cast of Elektra, which features performers from Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Guatemala, Sweden, Italy and Denmark. 

Director and founder of CBS Theatre, Marley Hasselbach, is himself Dutch. 

“I knew there was this gap at CBS. It was case competition after case competition – not a lot of artsy things. I did a lot of theatre in The Netherlands and transitioned into directing two years ago in Amsterdam. When I moved to Copenhagen, I wanted to continue working with performing arts, and so I started CBS Theatre,” Hasselbach says. 

The CBS production follows in the footsteps of Boeing Boeing, which performed to sold-out audiences in March last year.

Norwegian Jakob Espen plays Orestes, brother to Elektra. Espen is a CBS student studying for an MSc in Business Administration and Innovation Healthcare – and rather new to treading the boards. 

“I wanted to try something new and meet new people. It was mostly the social aspect, really. I was once in a school play, but that was a long time ago,” the Norwegian says. 

Orestes is a rather intense role to play, with a high degree of physicality, which appeals to Espen. 

“I really like the physical aspect of the role. I find that aspect much easier to be comfortable with,” he says.

The cast also features a couple of actors with more experience. Pejman Khorsand-Jamal, who plays the Ward, has trained in cities including New York, Berlin, and London, and appeared on several Copenhagen stages. So, what drew Pejman to join the CBS production? 

“I have been interested in experimenting with Greek theatre for some time,” he says. 

“There is a lot of dialogue in it, which makes it a very different acting experience, and that really appealed to me.” 

The role of Klytemnestra, Elektra’s murderous mother, is played by Annethia Lilballe, who has appeared in numerous radio and TV shows in Denmark. 

“For me, it means sharing my professional experience with people younger than me, which is satisfying and meaningful. We have a wonderful connection and we all do our best to create a great process and result. The level of commitment means a lot,” Lilballe says. 

Two of the cast members, Helms and Victoria Elvirose Rishøj, a member of the chorus, have been so inspired by their positive experiences on the amateur stage in Copenhagen that they are now in the process of looking at acting school options. 

So will our international forces align, or will the evil – perhaps in the form of lights, sound and costume changes – lead us to tragedy? Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Elektra opens on the Stage at Huset-KBH on March 21st and runs until March 25th.

Tickets are available now and can be purchased here.

By Malene Ford 

READ ALSO: Why a Danish 'bloodbath' is coming back to Stockholm, almost 500 years later