Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828-1906) is a famous Norwegian playwright and is a celebrated national symbol. His plays challenged the social rules of Victorian society and spurred on the Realism art movement. Ibsen wrote his plays in Norwegian and even after translation his plays are still a mastery of craft and are the most performed works after Shakespeare. As such, Ibsen is often referred to as the ‘father of modern drama’. His most notable plays are Peer Gynt (1867), A Doll’s House (1879) and Ghosts (1881).
2006 was a special year of celebration, the 100th anniversary of Ibsen’s death. Norway celebrated Ibsen and his works with theatre, dance, music, poetry and art throughout the country and around the world. However, Ibsen is also a staple of the Arts industry. Many theatrical companies are dedicated to having at least one Ibsen production a year. Norwegians just can’t get enough of their cultural icon.
For Ibsen Enthusiasts:
If you are in to Ibsen, there is an Ibsen Museum in Oslo and the Bergen Museum in Bergen has a special Cultural History collection with an evergreen exhibit on Ibsen (amongst other famous Norwegian artists). There is also the ibsen.net website, which is dedicated to the promotion of Ibsen and his works.
And if you are interested in an ‘authentic’ cultural experience, why not see one of Ibsens plays in it’s original tongue. Teater Ibsen is a production company that produces only the works of Ibsen. Their playhouse is in Skien, Ibsen’s birth place, which is south-west of Oslo. (The website is in Norwegian only.)
There are also Ibsen festivals and conferences happening all over the world. Some regulars are:
Commonweal Theatre’s Ibsen Festival in Minneapolis USA
Grimstad Ibseniana in Norway
The International Ibsen Stage Festival in Olso Norway
The Peer Gynt Festival at Vinstra in Gudbrandsdalen Norway