Verdensteatret

Organisation typeArtist company
Main focusMultidisciplinary art, Musical theatre, Performance, Theatre, Visual art
Established4 Jun. 1986
Emailverdensteatret@gmail.com
WebsiteVERDENSTEATRET, Verdensteatret på STORE NORSKE LEKSIKON
ExpressionsMultidisciplinary, Puppetry

About Verdensteatret

Verdensteatret is an art company based in Oslo. The company was established by Lisbeth Boddin 1986. The company consists of artists from different genres.

Verdensteatret's poetics is characterised by continuous experimentation within different media and technologies. The works are thoroughly multidisciplinary and are performed in different contexts, such as art museums, galleries, contemporary music festivals, theatre venues etc.

Verdensteatret has been given annual support from Arts Council Norway since 2007, and performs in Norway and abroad.

Verdensteatret was given Bessie Award in the cathegory Installationa and New Media in 2006, and the Honorary Hedda Award 2014.

Bridge over Mud by Verdensteatret, co-produced by Black Box Teater, BIT Teatergarasjen, Henie Onstad Art Centre and The Ultima Festival, was nominated for The Hedda Award 2015 in the production. Verdensteatret won the award in the best audiovisual design category for the same production.

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Verdensteatret has developed its own complex audiovisual expression, in which prominent landscapes of sound mix with sculptural stage design and pieces of fragile, human storytelling.

The artists say they have become a "telling orchestra" performing works within the genre "mobile room". The orchestral works are not musical works in the most usual term of the word, but musical and audiovisual, spatial compositions. Using established genre terms for the work of Verdensteatret has proved itself impossible.

All the following quotes are excerpts from Jon Refsdal Moe's text on Verdensteatret: Flotsam of the Future:

"Instead of beginning with an all-encompassing idea, Verdensteatret takes the ashes as its starting-point, collecting fragments of contexts that may once have had meaning; old scrap that they have picked up from the roadside; a story that someone may once have read for them; a dream that someone once had. They call it flotsam, things that have come floating by, that may once have had a purpose. And through Verdensteatret's work, the flotsam is transformed into something aesthetic; twisted, bent and carefully reassembled to create new contexts.

The art of Verdensteatret is what is born when all these elements begin to work together. But their art is not the sculptures that they have created, nor the pictures that they project, nor the rusty mechanisms that they operate. It is the shadows that fall on the back wall, the shrieking machinery, the joke that you can't understand because it is told in a foreign language, the sound of a man hammering away on a piano. Verdensteatret's art is everything that comes into being and disappears again in the same instant."

(...)

Think of the old cinemas from the early days of film, where people crowded in to be blinded by pictures they had never seen before, and by the wonderful technology that gave them these pictures. If we opened the door to one of these picture palaces, we would find machinery rusting away, and we might perhaps smile sadly at the fascination for things that once were new and spectacular.

Verdensteatret takes us into such spaces and fills them with its own futuristic dream - samplers, Powerbooks and video projectors, technology that we may find fascinating now, but which will end up on the scrap heap in not too long. By combining them to form a rusty shadow theatre, Verdensteatret shows us that our own futuristic fantasies are also about to disappear.

(...)

Hungarian Nicolas Schöffer wrote that the task of the artist is not to produce meaning, but to produce productions. This may sound like splitting hairs, but in fact there is a major difference. Verdensteatret never presents you with a ready-made meaning, but rather shows the production of a meaning. By setting a large-scale, unstoppable play of references in motion, Verdensteatret lays the groundwork for meanings to develop.

Verdensteatret's audiences are never presented with a finished expression, but become witnesses to the creation of an expression. And because time, space and the viewer are drawn into the production, there is always an element of randomness to Verdensteatret's work. The play of randomness produces the expression finally left. But as in Schöffer's ballets of light, or in John Cage's happenings, or Alexander Calder's mobile sculptures, chance is always dependent on one strict condition: the rusty mechanics of the machine...

(...)

"Verdensteatret's art is always erasing itself, which is why there are so many historical references in their work. Therefore their work pays defiant homage to artistic production: a production that leaves no excess products and creates no stable values, but instead chooses to cultivate moments that should really not be cultivable."

Verdensteatret was given Honorary Hedda 2014.

The Hedda Committee gave the following reason:

"This year Honorary Hedda goes to an oeuvre that has, since the beginning of the 1980es, contributed to internationalising Norwegian theatre. First through importing impulses from European art theatre, later through setting a new standard for this theatre in Europe, USA and Asia.

Wherever they have travelled they have left deep traces, and traces of these journeys have also been brought back into the productions. With an expression as deeply anchored in music and visual arts as in theatre they have bridged art forms, places and generations- and it is not a random coincidence that their next production has been given the title The Bridge over Mud. Difficult to categorise, but easy to recognise.

Unique in its form, but undisputedly theatre. Undisputedly as Verdensteatret.

The Hedda Committee gives The Honorary Hedda to Verdensteatret."

Lisbeth Bodd, founder of Verdensteatret and the artistic director and daily manager of the company with Asle Nilsen, died 28th of September 2014.

SOURCES:

The archive of Verdensteatret, donated by Verdensteatret, 05.10.2011

The Hedda Award 2014, www.heddaprisen.no, 16.06.2014, http://www.heddaprisen.no/pub/heddaprisen/main/?aid=1266

The Hedda Award 2015, heddaprisen.no, 20.05.2015, http://www.heddaprisen.no/pub/heddaprisen/main/?aid=1306