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  • Andy Fisher

Festival of Ideas: Jon Fosse

The most-performed Norwegian playwright after Ibsen, Jon Fosse’s spare, questioning drama has been compared to Samuel Beckett’s. Over 1,000 productions of his plays have taken place worldwide, from Tokyo to Havana.

He was awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature for his ‘innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.’ In theatre, that voice is literal: words lifted from the page, spoken and shared, images conjured, worlds evoked.

However, his enigmatic, discomforting, also humorous drama is little-known in the UK. A widely published novelist who became an almost accidental playwright, Fosse described writing his first play in the 1990s as ‘a great revelation, because I really didn’t like theatre’.

This event, held at Friargate Theatre on Thursday 13th June, animated extracts from Fosse’s plays through semi-staged readings, exploring in microcosm how they might find living form in performance.

Readings were framed by a talk and discussion with Bridget Foreman of Riding Lights Theatre Company and Beck Sinar of the Norwegian Study Centre, and followed by a Q&A with the actors.


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