Chinese performance at the Bergen International Festival stopped

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April 08, 2011

The Shanghai Theatre Academy, due to perform a Jon Fosse play at the 2011 Bergen International Festival, has cancelled its appearance without any explanation.

— When we receive such a short notice cancelling the Bergen visit due to “unexpected reasons”, we have every reason to believe that this is a result of the Chinese authorities’ recent crackdown, says Festival director Per Boye Hansen, referring to the arrest of artist Ai Weiwei and other brutal encroachments in the past weeks.

The Festival director underlines that this suppression of Chinese intellectuals must be denounced.

– What is happening in China is very disquieting and completely unacceptable, says Boye Hansen.

Someone Is Going to Come is a co-production between the Bergen International Festival, the Shanghai Theatre Academy and Ibsen International, and the performance has been enthusiastically received until now. The premiere was held in Shanghai in November, and was the first Chinese-language performance of a play by Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse. Both the Academy and the Bergen International Festival were looking forward to presenting the production in Bergen on 27–29 May.

Both the Festival and Ibsen International have made several attempts to contact the Shanghai Theatre Academy after the cancellation, but have so far received no response.

– This breach of contract entails a great artistic loss. By cancelling these performances in Bergen, China is missing a unique opportunity of showcasing the country’s high level of artistic expression, and the Festival audience is missing a fantastic production. We believe that cultural exchange and dialogue with the artistic circles of China is both very productive and important in today’s situation. A boycott on our part has never been an option, says the Festival director.

Both the Bergen International Festival and Ibsen International will keep trying to reestablish the dialogue with the Shanghai Theatre Academy, but are also forced to consider other alternatives.

Members of the audience with tickets to the performance can get a refund by contacting their sales point.

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