What if giving, receiving, communication and commitment were social muscles that could be trained?
At Social Muscle Club you meet new people and take part in a simple sharing game, in which each person offers something they can give away, and makes a request for something they want to receive. These unconditional offers and requests can be for something material or practical – anything from from fresh bread to a holiday apartment in Costa Rica – or something abstract or relationship focused, like tips on resilience or a shoulder to cry on. They can even be for something that can happen right there at the club – a stage dive; a dance move; the hive-mind of 100 people solving one person’s need. The giving and receiving happens around tables, among performance, music, food and surprises. It’s a real celebration, evocative of an exuberant wedding or a chaotic game show.
This project was invented and channeled as part of a healing process for its founders in 2012. You are invited to train with us at one of our international club events. Expect cabaret, heartfelt exchanges and dancing.
Social Muscle Club is a ‘training program’ combining artistic and social practices in order to challenge our usual habits of thinking and doing. It is also a really fun time. The club itself began as a private happening in 2013, in a Berlin living room for eight people. It was inspired by a workers’ club in Sheffield, UK, which had the goal of ‘entertainment and social support’. Since 2013, we have been hosting the club in the Sophiensaele Berlin as a bi-monthly event. During this time we have researched new forms of coming together in order to strengthen engagement and open new dialogue.
Since its beginnings, the club has grown exponentially, and a growing international network of solidarity has been established. It has reached many people in over ten countries, including ongoing clubs in Berlin, Basel, Bristol, and Vienna.
This international feel is woven into the fabric of the clubs, which integrate people from diverse backgrounds, as well as people who normally don’t visit or participate in the theatre scene. It is often produced in unusual, culturally inclusive locations, such as gyms and community halls, to make it as interesting to as many people as possible.
SMC undermines the capitalistic ideology of supply and demand, and breaks it down to singular, celebrated encounters. These relational transactions enable people to experience a sense of personal value, gratitude and appreciation in real time. With the protocols around offering, needing and taking framed as a performance event, SMC shows how art is entangled around our lives, and that our interactions can be creative, spontaneous and have lasting significance.
Cover photo by EJPR