About a month ago, we opened our Fall season 2020. Since then, a total of twelve productions have already been presented. Conveying a diversity of formats and experiences, these productions took place outside, online and indoors in various contexts. Gradually, the audience has found the way back to the black box – where most of our program will go on during the months to come.
Hosting these gatherings, with artists and audience encountering again in safe settings, feels extremely meaningful – perhaps more than ever. We respect strict measures and routines; yet, despite the stiffness of the situation, we still nurture hospitality!
Navigating through a fragile time
The time we live in is described as uncertain, strange, weird, fragile. The consequences of Covid-19 have been massive; locally, nationally and internationally. This includes the economy of a whole sector, with the freelancers being particularly vulnerable – emphasized by the #WeMakeEvents Red Alert protest on September 30th. The pandemic has impacted the very core of the performing arts: being gathered together, sharing a proximity between audience and performers. Fundamental principles that we used to take for granted are undoubtedly shaken.
Our current circumstances make us search for ways of still being together. Through listening and changing our usual patterns of behavior, we are learning to live with this virus.
Spread the word!
This season is intimate. We operate with very limited audience capacity. In case you cannot come, we encourage you to forward your ticket to someone else who would like the opportunity to see the show. And please – be aware of scams online!
Due to limited capacity, many will miss the chance to see their favorite artist or production. How about reintroducing oral traditions? Each one of us may contribute to make performing arts available for an even broader audience – by sharing and talking about what we see, we somehow make the shows circulate. Share your experiences, and spread the word!
Standing up for freedom of speech
On september 8th, the trial against Laila Bertheussen began – a trial investigating her responsibilities in false threats and of staging attacks, and which will be ongoing for ten weeks. The trial has already shed light into a network of influences among politicians, members of the government, right-wing websites and one of Norway’s biggest communication agencies. This network activated various methods – threats, obvious misuse of power in order to attack freedom of speech, and intimidation, to mention a few – in order to intimidate and to manipulate narratives and opinions. They aimed to discredit the artists behind Ways of Seeing (Pia Maria Roll, Hanan Benammar and Sara Baban), and to cut funding to several cultural organizations (including Black Box teater) through utilizing influences. Their political agenda is clear: to attack artistic freedom and silence subversive artistic voices, particularly the ones who shake up existing power structures. These shocking methods largely contribute to display false narratives, including in mainstream media. This should be a wake-up call to safeguard artistic freedom and to constantly question dominant narratives.
A journey through October
The program for the coming month is profound, resonating with urgent topics of our time. De Utvalgte’s new piece conveys and investigates death and aging. Later on, Maritea Dæhlin is back at Black Box teater with I WANT TO BE TRADITIONAL. In this powerful cross-disciplinary solo, dealing with how language and multilayered identities are intertwined, she embarks us with her strong presence. October will continue with Magnus Myhr’s new creation, HEARTFELT: a delicate solo that beautifully looks at how a body and an instrument can enter in resonance. We will end the month with a weekend for kids and adults, presenting Sagliocco Ensemble’s iconic performance Scene Art! as well as workshops and activities for children.
This October, we are also very excited to launch our brand new website – a site we believe will be more user-friendly, holistic and easier to navigate.
Being together is important – for the artists to share their work in front of an audience, and for the audience to be able to be with the live experience. The fragility and the uncertainty of our current situation encourages us to embrace the present moment, the here and now!
Thank you for your trust and for supporting art in this uncertain time.
Anne-Cécile Birkeland (Artistic & General Director)
and the team of Black Box teater
October 2nd, 2020