New circus performance created in Bergen

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May 11, 2022

Fyllingsdalen Teater brings the circus to town at this year's festival.

This year, the contemporary circus performance Zappzarapp will see its world premiere and a total of five performances at Fyllingsdalen Teater. This is the second time Fyllingsdalen Teater has been part of the Bergen International Festival programme. Last year, the two Bergen institutions collaborated on the world premiere of Hull & Sønn, based on a children's book by Frode Grytten and Marvin Halleraker.

'I have always wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible. Every survey has shown that due to cultural and linguistic barriers, theatre is mainly seen by ethnic Norwegians. However, the circus is accessible to everyone, and a contemporary circus on a theatre stage makes it possible to communicate with audiences who are not as fluent in Norwegian,' says theatre director Jørn Kvist.

Fyllingsdalen Teater has run a circus school in Bergen for ten years. In addition to the more than 400 children who attend its theatre school, Cirkus Balance currently has 150 students. Last year, Cirkus Balance completed the school year with two critically acclaimed, packed performances at Fana kulturhus.

'After this, the desire to create a contemporary circus increased, and in fact, it’s the first-ever created in Bergen,' says Kvist.

The festival performance has just five adult professionals on stage. These are three Norwegian circus artists who have been educated in Sweden, among other places, and one American arriving all the way from Los Angeles to take part in the production. The adult artists will also serve as instructors for children at the circus school. In addition, a dancer based in Bergen will participate on stage. The show is directed by circus lover, actor and director Sturle Bjordal.

Kvist confirms that Zappzarapp is about love, with feelings blossoming between a circus princess and someone from outside the circus environment.

'Norway is actually one of the few countries in the world that does not have its own cultural policy for circuses. This is incomprehensible in other countries, in which especially contemporary circus on stage is very popular,' says Kvist.

'There is a very small circus environment in Norway, just one, in Oslo, and we are collaborating with them to get Zappzarapp up and going. After the Bergen International Festival, the performance will be shown in Cirkuslandsbyen (the Circus Village) in Oslo. We also have touring plans before the performance returns to Fyllingsdalen Teater this autumn,' Kvist confirms.

The festival's programme manager Tonje E. Peersen is looking forward to the new production.

'In 2021, the first collaboration between the Bergen International Festival and Fyllingsdalen Teater came into being. We wanted to continue building on the good experiences we created together last year, and when theatre director Jørn Kvist approached us with this idea, he didn’t have to ask twice. Contemporary circus fascinates people of all ages and backgrounds and is a very engaging and inspiring art form,' she says.

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