• Black Box teater
  • Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival
  • 12–16 March 2024
  • Welcome!

Dear audience,

If I had to choose two key words to describe this year’s festival, resistance and future imagination are the words that immediately come to mind. On one hand, the power needed to resist a situation or development that needs to change, and on the other hand, the power needed to imagine a possible new future. This duality characterize many of the performances and conversations that we have the pleasure of presenting during this edition of Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival.

Resistance and future imagination are also indicative of last year’s festival. A powerful artistic appeal to take the world’s Indigenous people – their art, knowledge, experiences, stories and perspectives – seriously. The festival, curated by Maria Utsi in collaboration with Camara Lundestad Joof, took place at the same time as the fierce demonstrations against the human rights violations in the Fosen case. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission delivered their report a few months later, it was a political conclusion difficult to digest for many. With the Fosen case as a current backdrop, in addition to the newly recorded film Ellos eatnu – La elva leve (‘Let the River Flow’), it became clear that the Norwegianization policy towards the Sámi, Kvens, Norwegian Finns and Forest Finns is not yet a thing of the past.

For us here at Black Box teater, OITF 2023 was an important reminder that we must always have a power critical view of our own practice and challenge our accustomed artistic horizons. 

As a bridge between last year’s and this year’s festival, we will show the original version of the film La elva leve! (1980) (‘Let the river flow!’) directed by Bredo Greve. Film director Aleksander U. Serigstad, who has written a master’s thesis on Greve and made a documentary film about his work, will introduce the film. We have also invited film and media scholar Monica Mecsei to talk about portrayals of Sámi identity and culture on film. Davvi – Center for the Performing Arts travels from Hammerfest and Tromsø to Oslo to curate Realities from the North – a conversation program with Kristina Junttila Valkoinen, Evgeny Goman, Juho-Sire / Siri Broch Johansen and Aslak Heika Hætta Bjørn. The writer Sigbjørn Skåden, who also visited last year’s festival as part of Blodklubb, will give a lecture on indigenous futurism and artistic experimentation.

This year, for the first time, we have invited a guest performance from the Faroe Islands. We look forward to presenting Castle of Joy and to get to know Det Ferösche Compagnie. The performance deals with the story of Pól Jóhannus Poulsen, called Joy – a self-taught artist outside the established art scene, who had to fight for the opportunity to see and present the world in a way that defied societal norms. The Faroe Islands’ struggle for independence from Denmark creates an effective backdrop for the theater company’s story about Joy.

How do sociopolitical upheavals leave their mark on people’s bodies and movements? This is a highly relevant question in our own time, but with FIGURING AGE, Boglárka Börcsök and Andreas Bolm take us back in time to the great social changes that characterized Hungary in the 20th century. Börcsök uses his own body and voice to give new life to the stories of three Hungarian dancers who contributed to the development of modern dance in the 1930s. When Bolm and Börcsök filmed these women as part of the work process, they were between 90 and 101 years old.

In Norway, the debate is about digitalization and artificial intelligence and how these technologies intervene in constantly new areas of society and change our lives for better or for worse. The Finnish theater company WAUHAUS takes this debate into the theater space. In The Companion, the only performer you encounter is a robotic dog, and you as the audience meet it all by yourself. Can a robot show empathy and feelings? Can we experience a form of social interaction with a robotic dog?

The leap is huge between the existential questions that theater with a robotic dog can create, and a crackling performance with live music and six performers who touch on class issues, queer culture and criticism of capitalism, and who allow themselves to borrow from gymnastics, Indian dance traditions, western club dance and more. London-based BULLYACHE has described TOM as a pop culture collision that mixes the Greek myth of Orpheus with the British version of NAV. We are looking forward to opening the festival with TOM and to meet the company’s founders Courtney Deyn and Jacob Samuel in conversation with Tine Semb, who is the founder of the queer club concept Karmaklubb*.

Welcome!

– Jørgen Knudsen
Artistic and general director