Au courant:

Ethnofiction - Practicebased PhD in Applied Drama and Ethnographic Film

· The Documentary

· The Ethnofiction

· Publications


drama queens

Drama Queens (Dir: Sjöberg, Photo: Brochu)

Drama Queens is an ethnographic documentary. It is made as an introductory part of a practice-based PhD in Drama at the University of Manchester, UK.

Director, Cameraman and Researcher: Johannes Sjöberg

Sound, Camera and Directing Assistance: Renato Morita

Research Assistance: Dinah Feldman

The film focuses on the life of two transsexual actresses at Os Satyros (The Satyrs), a theatre in central São Paulo, Brazil. The film explores the lives of Bibi and Fabia, on and off stage.

The ethnographic documentary is an introduction to the ethnofiction that was filmed during spring and summer 2006. The function of the documentary can be summarized in three points:

  • Establishing the fieldwork: The production of the documentary gave me a chance to find the protagonists for the ethnofiction, and cultivate a friendship based on mutual trust.
  • Ethnographic research: The documentary became a tool of ethnographic research when exploring transgendered performance in São Paulo.
  • Reference point for the ethnofiction: Comparing the working process of the documentary with the ethnofiction gave me a practice-based perspective on the approach of the ethnofiction.

Theatre Os Satyros at Praça Roosevelt in the old city centre in São Paulo. (Images:,, and Sjöberg 2005)

Synopsis: The transsexual actresses Bibi and Fabia work at the theatre 'Os Satyros' in central São Paulo. The theatre is run by Rodolfo García Vázquez and Ivam Cabral. 'Os Satyros' is famous for involving the theatre's environment in the plays. The transgendred community plays an important part of the life at Roosevelt Square where the theatre is located. The documentary 'Drama Queens' shows Bibi's and Fabia's life on and off stage.

Bibi and Fabia represent two very different periods in the development of transgendered culture in São Paulo. Bibi, 36 years old, represents a period of fear of AIDS and violence in São Paulo, and a dawning resistance against discrimination among transsexuals and travestis in Brazil. Fabia is 25 years old. She is a modern transsexual, having her own hairdressing saloon in Cotia, a suburb of São Paulo.

Right click on DOWNLOAD under the picture and 'save target as' to download. The video clip is compressed and encoded to WMV 1024 kbps. The scenes are translated and subtitled to English.


The documentary is in postproduction. The nine minutes long video clip above shows four samples from the documentary:
The Pride Parade in São Paulo, which is the biggest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and travesti parade in Latin America.
Savanah 'Bibi' Mireiles votes in a referendum concerning disarmament in Brazil.
Fabia Mirassos visits a beauty clinic to remove her facial hair with laser.