Welcome to Black Box teater!
Black Box teater was founded in 1985. It is one of the programming theaters in Norway, co-producing and presenting international and Norwegian contemporary performing art.
With a history of more than 30 years, Black Box teater has transformed to become what it is now: a theater with a strong artistic identity, dedicated to contemporary and experimental forms of performing art, programming Norwegian and international companies, emerging and established artists.
The program is characterized by a combination of artists who have a long relationship with Black Box teater and newcomers from Norway and elsewhere.
We are a theater that is attentive to experimentation and to transformation of performing arts today. Our program crosses disciplines, pays attention to multifaceted artists, and proposes connections with visual arts, music and literature, among others. In order to encourage spectatorship from an early age and generations, the program includes shows for kids/youth and families.
Black Box teater’s program is articulated through 2 seasons (fall season and spring season) as well as a festival, Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival, taking place every year in March.
Black Box teater is in dialogue with the city. Beyond the box, how can art enter our daily lives and generate forms of poetic relationships with our environment? We invite artists and projects that are incorporating Oslo as a field of exploration by working with the urban landscape, exploring our individual and collective memory, and involving the inhabitants. Part of the program takes place in cooperation with local, national and international partners.
Black Box teater’s signature is also its atmosphere: a joyful place with a generous and dedicated team and a curious audience, where artists feel confident to create and perform.
Many premieres take place at Black Box teater. This risk-taking attitude is a clear component of our identity. More than ever it is important to support experience, artistic processes and to encourage emerging artists, as well as artists with different backgrounds.
Black Box teater is a laboratory, a production space where artists can research, produce and present, in a context adjusted to the needs and specificities of each project.
Black Box teater is a meeting point for Norwegian and international performing arts, connecting international artists to a Norwegian context and stimulating international networks for Norwegian artists.
A space for contextualization and debates
We wish to be reflected and reflective, while stimulating dialogues between different practices and audiences. We propose conversations and debates, publications and other activities in connection with the artistic program.
An open house
Although the value of arts is intrinsic, it also relies on its capacity to develop links with audience and citizens. Our role is about art but also community building and socialization, a contribution to living together and creating temporary communities.
For a safe and inclusive working space
Black Box teater fosters inclusion and diversity. We are committed to contribute to an environment without discrimination and harassment, a space of trust and assurance of integrity where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
We promote positive change and a working environment based on respect.
We have a zero tolerance policy with all forms of discrimination and harassment at Black Box teater.
We work on these issues through several stages: during the curating of the artistic program, through guidelines and reporting routines, and by promoting cultural change.
We work actively for a variety of perspectives on these matters, and include new and diverse voices into the conversation.
Regarding cultural change, an important part of them is that responsibility also lies with the bystander. Discrimination and harassment concerns everyone, not just victims and the person who harasses or discriminates. Everyone is responsible for breaking the culture of silence and establishing a safe space of trust.
In questions of harassment and damage to the privacy of individuals, there are no definite answers or solutions as each situation is unique. It is important to have a solid foundation of established routines and guidelines, and then each situation must be actively met and requires rethinking depending on the given situation. Due to this, it is very important for Black Box teater to keep the dialogue alive on how to face discrimination and harassment.
Black Box teater is a member of Balansekunst (The Art of Balance), a Norwegian association of more than 80 organisations, companies, festivals and other arts and culture institutions that engage in promoting gender equality and diversity in the arts.
Excerpts of their message: “Society is marked by strong social and cultural norms attached to for instance gender, sexuality and ethnicity, which in turn leads to inequitable distribution of power, and to unequal prerequisites for people. Inequality exists on most levels, and they tend to influence and enhance each other. Gendered educational choices, for instance, contribute to maintaining a gender-segregated labour market. Equality means greater freedom for all, and greater diversity leads to a richer cultural life.”
What do you do if you experience/witness harassment or discrimination?
If you experience unwanted behavior, or wish to notify on behalf of others, you are free to choose who you want to contact:
Artistic and general director Anne-Cécile Sibué-Birkeland: annececile(a)blackbox.no
Head of administration Magnus Salte: magnus(a)blackbox.no
Producer Anita Basmo Bjørnstad: anita(a)blackbox.no
Technician Agnar Ribe: agnar(a)blackbox.no
Balansekunst: 94087929 / hei(a)balansekunstprosjektet.no
When a harassment case is notified, Black box teater conducts an internal investigation, bound by the duty of confidentiality; and with the assistance of a lawyer, external adviser and Balansekunst when necessary.
All incidents and cases are taken seriously and investigated in a confidential setting.
by BIT Teatergarasjen, Black Box teater and Teaterhuset Avant Garden (now Rosendal Teater)
19 December 2017
Read the text here (pdf)
The Artistic Director carries the responsibility of the Artistic Program. The program is composed of co-productions and guest performances. The program is the result of a process of internal and external inputs, and dialogue with the artists.
If you would like to perform the Black Box teater, you may send a project description to:
Anne-Cécile Sibué-Birkeland (Artistic Director): annececile (a) blackbox.no
Karoline Bjune (Producer): karoline (a) blackbox.no.
Ida Marie Sandvik (Production and Administration Assistant): idamarie (a) blackbox.no
We receive many inquiries and are a small team. Unfortunately, we have limited capacity and will therefore not be able to respond to all inquiries.
Black Box teater receives a number of inquiries in connection with Art Council Norway’s application deadlines. Therefore, we want to inform you that the deadline for submitting intentions for viewing as part of our program is:
- May 1, 2020 for application deadline in June 2020
- June 20, 2020 for application deadline in September 2020
- October 15, 2020 for application deadline in December 2020
- December 5, 2020 for application deadline in February 2021
The application must contain: Project description, video documentation of previous projects, CVs of the participants, desired period of time.
Please send the material by e-mail to: program (a) blackbox.no
or by mail to: Black Box teater, Marstrandgata 8, N-0566 Oslo, Norway. The material will not be returned.
The projects and applications will be discussed by an internal committee that will pre-select some of the projects. After this first election round, a meeting will be held with the artists of the pre-selected projects. This election round will lead to a final decision.
FRI KUNST (Artistic Freedom) is a network of artists, institutions and organizations within arts and culture. SafeMUSE are partnering up with Freemuse, NOKU – Norwegian Culture Forum, NTO – Association of Norwegian Theatres and Orchestras and a long list of Norwegian artists associations, arts organizations and institutions. FRI KUNST was marked through an action week between 2-8 March 2020, taking place all over Norway. Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival 2020 was part of this celebration of artistic freedom of expression.
The goals are:
- To work towards increased awareness and consciousness in society to safeguard artistic freedom.
- To safeguard artistic autonomy – through defense of the arm’s length principle in public management of arts and culture.
- To act promptly and in solidarity when artists are victim to censorship, persecution and harassment.
Artistic Freedom at risk
Artistic freedom is increasingly at risk and threatened around the world. We cannot accept that politicians who disagree with the message, the means or form of the art, put artists and artistic institutions under pressure. Governments are not meant to override independent artistic decisions.
Several artists invited for the Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival come from different parts of the world where artistic freedom is at risk.
Attacking artists and art institutions has become a familiar pattern in several countries. Core democratic principles are in danger that may threaten artistic expression, and artistic freedom is under increasing pressure all over the world. We stand united to ensure that artists and institutions – in all countries – are able to create and practice their art freely without suffering threats and persecution. This is a basic right and a prerequisite for a free and democratic society.
What are the OITF artists’ thoughts on artistic freedom?
During Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival 2020, we marked FRI KUNST by collecting and sharing the participating artists’ viewpoints on what artistic freedom means to them. The respective points of view were published online during and after the festival. The full collection of texts will be released in Black Box teater Publication 5, emphasizing the importance of artistic freedom and the fact that we cannot take this freedom for granted.
Reflections in the aftermath of Ways of Seeing
In Norway, artistic freedom has recently been up to debate, with several cases where artists have been met with threats and accusations. With Ways of Seeing created by Pia Maria Roll, Sara Baban and Hanan Benammar, which premiered at Black Box teater during the fall 2018, we experienced that the distance between free democracy and censorship can become very short.
Vega Scene & Arthaus
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
IETM / Tromsø
Institut français de Norvège
Black Box teater was founded in 1985 by Teatersentrum (later Danse- og Teatersentrum / Performing Arts Hub Norway) as a venue for the free dance and theater groups. In the beginning, Black Box teater was a pure rental theater, located at Aker Brygge, where all groups were welcome to present performances for free. The theater had no theater manager, but a general manager who managed the groups’ playing periods.
In 1991, the then managing director and former choreographer/dancer Inger Buresund was hired as artistic director of Black Box teater. In 1994, she became the theater’s first theater director – a position she held until 2001.
1991 was also the year when Black Box teater teamed up with BIT Teatergarasjen in Bergen and the Teaterhuset Avant Garden in Trondheim to create Nettverk for Scenekunst (Network for Performing Arts), a tour collaboration whose main purpose was to show international guest performances in all these three cities.
In the early 1990s, the City of Oslo announced that Black Box teater had to acquire an artistic profile if it was to continue receiving grants. The program was unpredictable in terms of quality, and in addition the audience was declining. The theater introduced a selection of quality assured performances under the title “Performance of the Month”. After this, Black Box teater gradually developed from being a pure rental theater to becoming a programming theater with its own, clear programming profile. As a result, free groups and performing artists were no longer automatically allowed to put up their performances in the theater. Performing Arts Hub Norway is still the owner of the theater, but is no longer a pure membership organization. They will, according to their statutes, ensure that Black Box teater has full artistic freedom and independence for its owner.
During the 1990s, Black Box teater was repeatedly threatened with closure due to lack of financial support.
In 2001, Kristian Seltun took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. During Seltun’s period as artistic director, the theater became more visible on the international map, and as a result Black Box teater has also increased its national status. Seltun also established the performing arts festival Marstrand.
In 2003, Black Box teater had to move out of its premises at Aker Brygge, and for a long time, it was unknown whether the theater would find new premises at all. Finally, the theater signed a contract with Orkla Eiendom on current premises at Rodeløkka, formerly Bergene chocolate factory, where the theater has been located since 2004.
In 2009, Jon Refsdal Moe took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. During Moe’s period, the theater stopped charging the companies from rent. In 2013, the Marstrand festival was renamed Oslo Internationale Teaterfestival.
In 2016 Anne-Cécile Sibué-Birkeland took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. According to the theater board, the present artistic director continues to run the theater in a clear and open way through a programming and a dialogue that closely follows artists and the development of the performing arts in Norway and internationally. Sibué-Birkeland has prioritized showing a diverse selection of artists and cross-artistic projects, strengthening the dissemination program, opening the theater up towards the city through collaboration and site-specific performances, and increasing the support of the artists. During Sibué-Birkeland’s time as artistic director, Black Box teater has seen a significant increase in the state subsidy, by arguing for, among other things, its national status and affiliation in Oslo as a programming theater. The theater has also, particularly through Oslo Internationale Teaterfestival, clarified its local connection to Oslo.
In 2018/2019, Black Box teater performed the play Ways of Seeing by Pia Maria Roll, Hanan Benammar and Sara Baban. This controversial play sparked much debate around freedom of expression and artistic freedom. Three of the creators of the work, as well as the artistic director Sibué-Birkeland, were reported to the police and charged with violating privacy. The police later decided to prosecute the charges. Ways of Seeing and the debate that arose about the performance showed how theater can function critically toward authorities, and highlighted important questions about freedom of expression and today’s media reality.
Many Norwegian performance artists and companies have had Black Box teater as their premiere scene. Among the actors we find established groups such as Verdensteatret, Verk Productions, fieldworks (Heine Avdal & Yukiko Shinozaki), The Featured, Mette Edvardsen, Vegard Vinge / Ida Müller, Ingri Fiksdal, Findlay // Sandmark and Mia Habib productions – but also a new generation performing artists such as Magnus Myhr, Tormod Carlsen, Ingrid Berger Myhre, Hildur Kristinsdottir & Eirik Willyson, and Ingeleiv Berstad / Kristin Helgebostad / Ida Wigdel.
Black Box teater has also presented some of the world’s leading performing arts names, such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Forced Entertainment, Tg Stan, Philippe Quesne, Gisèle Vienne, the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Mårten Spångberg, Annie Dorsen and Trajal Harrell, as well as the more recent Jaamil Olawale Kossoko , Ligia Lewis, Dries Verhoeven, El Conde de Torrefiel, Eisa Jocson, Jaha Koo and more.
Suzanne Bjørneboe – Head of Department at Asker School of Culture, Department of Theater, Dance and Visual Arts
Knut Even Lindsjørn – Director of Interaction at South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority
Per Platou – artist and curator
Ine Therese Berg – PhD candidate stipendiat at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design, Oslo Metropolitan Univeristy
Kjell Moberg – Artistic Director of the theater company NIE (New International Encounter)
Huy Le Vo – performing artist and project creator
Thine Sletbakk Bugge – Head of Communication and Marketing, Det Norske Teatret (the Norwegian Theatre)
There are currently no vacant positions at the theatre.