Tools/Contract with Danish Royal Theater

Contract with Danish Royal Theater

Year: 2007

Upon the invitation of the Royal Danish Theatre to do a project, SUPERFLEX opted to work with the very structure of the institution, asking the theater to enter into a legally binding agreement that would affect all its activities. The contract stipulated that the Royal Danish Theatre had to abstain from using ten specific words in all its oral and written communication, externally as well as internally, for one month. The forbidden words were: theatre, actor, performance, stage, director, ticket, to act, to rehearse, première and audience. The agreement concerned on-stage dialogue as well as telephone calls and email communication, media relations and advertising material such as posters and signage. The contract was signed by the managing director of the Royal Danish Theatre, and by SUPERFLEX. The signed contract was printed as a poster and pasted across the city of Copenhagen. Through projects engaging with alternative models for the creation, dissemination and maintenance of social and economic organisation SUPERFLEX has been involved in several legal disputes, as well as suffered prohibition orders and police raids, relating to their artistic use of commercial signs and symbols. However, finding that the restrictions placed on their work sometimes led to unexpectedly interesting results, SUPERFLEX began to explore the productive potential of prohibition and conceived a series of projects structured to impose regulations on others.


Legal consultation by Leif Djurhus.

Photo: Superflex

The work Contract was generated in response to an invitation by the Royal Danish Theatre – one of the country’s most prestigious cultural institutions, founded in 1748 – to SUPERFLEX to do a project. Declining to stage a conventional play or event, SUPERFLEX opted to work with the whole structure of the institution, asking the Royal Theatre to enter into a legally binding agreement with the group that would affect all its activities. The contract stipulated that the Royal Danish Theatre had to abstain from using 10 specific words in all its oral and written communication, externally as well as internally, for one month. The forbidden words were: theatre, actor, performance, stage, director, ticket, to act, to rehearse, première and audience. The agreement concerned on-stage dialogue as well as telephone calls and email communication, media relations and advertising material such as posters and signage. The contract was signed by the Managing Director of the Royal Danish Theatre, Michael Christiansen, and by SUPERFLEX. The signed contract was printed as a poster and pasted across the city of Copenhagen. Generating considerable strain and confusion on behalf of the theatre as well as its audience, the project reached its climax when an employee at the ticket office was overheard saying the word ‘ticket’ and SUPERFLEX sued the theatre for breach of contract. After receiving an official apology, the claim was eventually withdrawn.

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