Dramatikkens Hus – The Drama House – from dream to reality!

26-11 2008

The board of The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) had their wishes fulfilled in the latest national budget when 2 million Norwegian Crowns (220,000 euro) was allocated to prepare for a fully functioning Drama House in 2010.

A new management team will be appointed, hopefully before the summer, and we will begin to improve our facilities. There are now resources to guarantee the quality of our reorganization and to engage in an open dialogue with institutions and theatre practitioners nationwide during the interim. The Open Theatre (DAT) has also had its regular funding raised to compensate higher costs and wages, and will remain active during the period of reorganization.
The Culture Department has not for the time being stipulated any guidelines or restrictions.

The National budget says little about any demands attached to the budget allocations. These are usually outlined in the allocation letter that will come first in January. Bente Erichsen, Chairman of the Board of Directors will, in an effort to avoid any surprises, meet with the department in advance of the allocation letter.

It is not certain whether or not the new agency for the development of dramatic text will be in operation during 2009. The “world premiere” grant, a grant awarded to theatre institutions who put on new Norwegian plays, is to be part of The Drama House’s economic base. It looks at present as if these grants will remain in place during 2009, until The Drama House is ready for the hand over.

It is otherwise pleasing to report a 300,000 crown rise in Arts Council funding, and that the allocation for theatre text is now close to four million NCR. That constitutes a 250% rise in funding over the past three years! That’s what we call good lobbying! There are no indications either that the Arts Council will lose these earmarked funds for dramatic text development as a result of The Drama House coming into existence.  Paralleled with The Drama House’s offering of dramaturgical assistance, this support opens many possibilities for fine and interesting theatre texts in the years to come. The challenge will be to enable all of theatre Norway to feel pride of ownership of the new house and create the network necessary to launching the work we create out into the world.

Dramatikkfestivalen (The Norwegian Drama Festival) also received a generous raise in this year’s national budget  - more good news for playwrights and for the many synergies possible between the festival and The Drama House. The realization of these possibilities will certainly be a point of order during the 2011 festival. In the meantime, we can look forward to the Norwegian Drama Festival coming in this June.

These are exciting times for dramatic text in Norway and the future promises to be just as exciting!

Gunnar Germundson 10.10.2008