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POPBACKs Helena Botto will hold her performance called "The Conservatory of Populism"

POPBACK team member Helena Botto will hold her performance called "The Conservatory of Populism" as part of the NORFACE final conference. The performance will take place on the 14th of February at the SPEKTAKEL Vienna.

14.02.2024, 18:15 -
14.02.2024, 19:00

Hamburgerstraße 14

Link to the Trailer

In 'The Conservatory of Populism' Helena Botto addresses the theatricality of politics and question the way theatrical devices can be deployed to construct reality.

In this humourous performance, she 'teaches’ the audience – her ‘students’ of populism – how they can use theatrical techniques to deliver efficient populist political speech. Within this frame, Helena enacts (in)famous right-wing populist speeches (e.g. Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Marine Le Pen, Victor Órban, etc.) while taking a critical stance on them. The audience is called into a, at times hilarious, at times uncomfortably risky experience, where they are asked to interpret if what they are experiencing is a quoted political speech or a fictional one. What is real, and what is made to believe becomes diffused.

Key to her artistic process are over-identification strategies. Helena Botto, a PhD student, a performer and performance-maker, is both a real and a fictional character, who radically identifies in a comical and amplified manner with the very subjects she is criticising. Through the performance, she critiques theatricality in itself (and the processes of theatre-making) and populist theatricality.


The Conservatory of Populism’ is conceived and performed by Helena Botto in collaboration with sound designer Rob Hart, visual artist Sonia Roshal and associate producer Lorenza Peragine. Exhibition videos: Helena Botto and Rob Hart. Academic supervision: Joe Kelleher and Simon Bayly. POPBACK project leader: Gerhard Schnyder. It is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Norface, POPBACK and is supported by the University of Roehampton and The Old Operating Theatre.