On behalf of the Festival, I want to express my gratitude to our partner – the University of Bergen – for inviting us to join this project, and for making it possible to present it to our audience at this year´s festival.
The performance of Moana marks a new era in the cooperation between the Bergen International Festival and the University of Bergen. Many players have been involved to make this adventure possible: This original drama performance is produced as part of the awareness and dissemination programme of the climate change research project ECOPAS, funded by the European Union and coordinated by the University of Bergen. Written, choreographed and composed by Pacific Islanders, Moana addresses one of the greatest global challenges of our time and at the same time manages to communicate climate change research in a way that highlights the human dimension. This project is a great example of how universities, festivals and artists can join forces to bring new perspectives and knowledge into a debate of fundamental importance. A special thank you to Principal Dag Rune Olsen for initiating the collaboration, and to you, Professor Edvard Hviding, head of the ECOPAS-project, both of whom were essential in making this possible.
Moana is a special production, with artistic strength and acute relevance and we’re very proud of having all the fantastic artists with us in Bergen at the 2015 edition of the festival. A very special thank you to all of you!
Art has the power to challenge conventional wisdom. The Bergen International Festival wants to invite, inspire and challenge a large local and visiting audience. During the 15 days of the festival we declare a state of emergency in the city. With our partners in and outside of Bergen, we offer music, theatre, dance – and much more – that reflects our lives and dreams and has unexpected effects on the way in which we perceive the world. We want to challenge the audience by showing performances that are relevant for people living in a modern, complex world. We want to create debate and discussions about important issues in society. By presenting M”, the Bergen International Festival hopes to contribute in a democratic and public conversation on climate change, the consequences this has on our lives and how to best deal with it.
Moana - The Rising of the Sea is performed in connection with an international symposium on the challenges and consequences that we face because of climate change. This highlights its’ relevance in our contemporary political debate and for the festival audience in general. However, it also has a special relevance for me personally. Being a fisherman myself, from a family of fishermen since the year 1700, I’ve experienced the effects of climate change in arctic Greenland – which is a part of my home country of Denmark.
Climate change affects us all, and we must take collective actions towards solving this tremendous problem. Many of us here tonight are people of the sea, although we live our lives by different shores of the world’s oceans – in this case, the North Sea and the Pacific. We know how the sea can provide us with what we need for a living, while at the same time it can be a dangerous place. That the Pacific, which has given life to Pacific Islanders, now rises to turn its destructive powers against the fragile islands and the people who live on them, is a cruel fate. It is made crueler by the fact that Pacific Islanders contribute so little to global warming.
Art is a very strong tool in showing the world how serious the climate changes are, and performative art can be extremely relevant in addition to reports and meetings amongst politicians in the dissemination of alarming results from scientists. Art reflects our lives, our dreams and aspirations and can carry a message that goes beyond statistics and numbers. This is why we in the Bergen International Festival are so grateful for this year’s collaboration with the University of Bergen. We hope that this fruitful partnership will contribute to spreading knowledge to more people and that Moana – The Rising of the Sea puts a human face on the consequences of climate change.
I wish you all a fantastic concert that both challenges and inspires you!
By Anders Beyer