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Annina Machaz | Residency

Senegal | Performing Arts

March - April 2023 — Performing Arts

Annina Machaz

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Annina Machaz is a multimedia and performing arts practitioner in the Swiss theatre scene. She has been creating sculptures and paper mâché masks for her performances since the beginning of her career. Annina often uses masks to explore the link between humour and the grotesque in her work, and is interested in the ways that masks blur reality and illusion and complicate the role of a performer playing and inhabiting a character.

Annina’s research on the use of masks in different cultures and performance practices forms the focus of her residency in West Africa, which will be split into two phases. Annina hopes to deepen her understanding of masks, which she believes is vital for her to develop this topic further in her work. Mindful of cultural appropriation and extractive practices, Annina explains, “I want to enter into a dialogue with performers on site and collaborate with our different approaches on the theme of masks. I can imagine mixing our different craft approaches and combining our rehearsal methods. I hope for a fruitful exchange and am curious how our approaches can enrich each other.” In parallel to this Annina aims to build new networks of partners and collaborators. She also plans to use the residency to critically reflect on her own practice and explore new directions.

During the first phase of her residency Annina will be based in Dakar, Senegal from 5 March to 5 April 2023. She will be researching mask cultures as well as creating her own masks. Annina plans to visit Dance Compagnie Cinquième Dimension and École des Sables, and through her local liaison Fatou Cissé, connect with other artists working with masks.


Annina Machaz completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Drama and Scenic Arts Practice at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bern. During her studies, she received the Migros Kulturprozent Sponsorship Award as well as the “Best Actors’ Award” for the part of Ophelia at the International ACT Festival Bilbao. For her own play about the icons Amy Winehouse und Marilyn Monroe she received the Swiss Newcomer Award Premio. In collaboration with Mira Kandathil, she has implemented other projects in co-production with Gessnerallee Zürich. The projects “Ask the Oracle” and “Nora or a Retirement Home” were invited to several festivals in Europe. Annina creates her own stage designs, papier-mâché figures and absurd texts. As a performer, she works and tours for various well-known artists and theatre houses like Volksbühne Berlin, Centre Pompidou Paris, Skirball New York, Festival of the Arts hosted by the Ruhr region, and many others. Last Winter she co-directed the fairy tale “Gretel und Hänsel” at the Theater Neumarkt Zürich and played the character of the evil gallery owner. In addition to her work on stage, Annina has also participated in various film projects and has organised two exhibitions of her own work (paintings and sculpture), and acts as a mentor at the Bern University of the Arts.

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The application portal myprohelvetia will be updated from 1.1.-7.1.2024. Due to these changes, open applications must be finalized and submitted via the current online portal (myprohelvetia.ch) by the latest 23:59 on 31 December 2023. Until this date, the deadlines and criteria outlined in the current guidelines and calls for applications apply. New applications can be created and submitted in the application portal as of 8 January 2024.