Welcome to Black Box teater!
Black Box teater was founded in 1985. It is one of the programming theaters in Norway, that co-produces and presents international and Norwegian contemporary performing art.
With a history of more than 30 years, Black Box teater has transformed to become what it is now: a theater with a strong artistic identity, dedicated to contemporary and experimental forms of performing art, programming Norwegian and international companies, emerging and established artists.
The program is characterized by a combination of artists who have a long relationship with Black Box teater and newcomers from Norway and elsewhere.
We are a theater that is attentive to experimentation and to transformation of performing arts today. Our program crosses disciplines, pays attention to multifaceted artists, and proposes connections with visual arts, music and literature, among others. In order to encourage spectatorship from an early age and generations, the program includes shows for kids/youth and families.
Black Box teater´s program is articulated through 2 seasons (fall season and spring season) and a festival Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival, that takes place every year in March.
Black Box teater is in dialogue with the city. Beyond the box, how can art enter our daily lives and generate forms of poetic relationships with our environment? We’re inviting artists and projects that incorporate Oslo as a field of exploration by working with the urban landscape, exploring our individual and collective memory, and involving the inhabitants. Part of the program takes place in cooperation with local, national and international partners.
Black Box teater’s signature is also its atmosphere: a joyful place with a generous and dedicated team and a curious audience, where artists feel confident to create and perform.
Many premieres take place at Black Box teater. This risk-taking attitude is a clear component of our identity. More than ever it is important to support experience, artistic processes and to encourage emerging artists, as well as artists with different backgrounds.
Black Box teater is a laboratory, a production space where artists can research, produce and present, in a context adjusted to the needs and specificities of each project.
Black Box teater is a meeting point for Norwegian and international performing arts, connecting international artists to a Norwegian context and stimulating international networks for Norwegian artists.
A space for contextualization and debates
We wish to be reflected and reflective, while stimulating dialogues between different practices and audiences. We propose conversations and debates, publications and other activities in connection with the artistic program.
An open house
Although the value of arts is intrinsic, it also relies on its capacity to develop links with audience and citizens. Our role is about art but also community building and socialization, a contribution to living together and creating temporary communities.
Programming is by invitation only. If you would like to submit your proposal for our consideration, please send it to: annececile (a) blackbox.no or karoline (a) blackbox.no. Due to limited resources, we are not able to reply to all proposals.
Vega Scene & Arthaus
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
IETM / Tromsø
Black Box teater was founded in 1985 by Teatersentrum (later Danse- og Teatersentrum / Performing Arts Hub Norway) as a venue for the free dance and theater groups. In the beginning, Black Box teater was a pure rental theater, located at Aker Brygge, where all groups were welcome to present performances for free. The theater had no theater manager, but a general manager who managed the groups’ playing periods.
In 1991, the then managing director and former choreographer/dancer Inger Buresund was hired as artistic director of Black Box teater. In 1994, she became the theater’s first theater director – a position she held until 2001.
1991 was also the year when Black Box teater teamed up with BIT Teatergarasjen in Bergen and the Teaterhuset Avant Garden in Trondheim to create Nettverk for Scenekunst (Network for Performing Arts), a tour collaboration whose main purpose was to show international guest performances in all these three cities.
In the early 1990s, the City of Oslo announced that Black Box teater had to acquire an artistic profile if it was to continue receiving grants. The program was unpredictable in terms of quality, and in addition the audience was declining. The theater introduced a selection of quality assured performances under the title “Performance of the Month”. After this, Black Box teater gradually developed from being a pure rental theater to becoming a programming theater with its own, clear programming profile. As a result, free groups and performing artists were no longer automatically allowed to put up their performances in the theater. Performing Arts Hub Norway is still the owner of the theater, but is no longer a pure membership organization. They will, according to their statutes, ensure that Black Box teater has full artistic freedom and independence for its owner.
During the 1990s, Black Box teater was repeatedly threatened with closure due to lack of financial support.
In 2001, Kristian Seltun took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. During Seltun’s period as artistic director, the theater became more visible on the international map, and as a result Black Box teater has also increased its national status. Seltun also established the performing arts festival Marstrand.
In 2003, Black Box teater had to move out of its premises at Aker Brygge, and for a long time, it was unknown whether the theater would find new premises at all. Finally, the theater signed a contract with Orkla Eiendom on current premises at Rodeløkka, formerly Bergene chocolate factory, where the theater has been located since 2004.
In 2009, Jon Refsdal Moe took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. During Moe’s period, the theater stopped charging the companies from rent. In 2013, the Marstrand festival was renamed Oslo Internationale Teaterfestival.
In 2016 Anne-Cécile Sibué-Birkeland took over as artistic director at Black Box teater. According to the theater board, the present artistic director continues to run the theater in a clear and open way through a programming and a dialogue that closely follows artists and the development of the performing arts in Norway and internationally. Sibué-Birkeland has prioritized showing a diverse selection of artists and cross-artistic projects, strengthening the dissemination program, opening the theater up towards the city through collaboration and site-specific performances, and increasing the support of the artists. During Sibué-Birkeland’s time as artistic director, Black Box teater has seen a significant increase in the state subsidy, by arguing for, among other things, its national status and affiliation in Oslo as a programming theater. The theater has also, particularly through Oslo Internationale Teaterfestival, clarified its local connection to Oslo.
In 2018/2019, Black Box teater performed the play Ways of Seeing by Pia Maria Roll, Hanan Benammar and Sara Baban. This controversial play sparked much debate around freedom of expression and artistic freedom. Three of the creators of the work, as well as the artistic director Sibué-Birkeland, were reported to the police and charged with violating privacy. The police later decided to prosecute the charges. Ways of Seeing and the debate that arose about the performance showed how theater can function critically toward authorities, and highlighted important questions about freedom of expression and today’s media reality.
Many Norwegian performance artists and companies have had Black Box teater as their premiere scene. Among the actors we find established groups such as Verdensteatret, Verk Productions, fieldworks (Heine Avdal & Yukiko Shinozaki), The Featured, Mette Edvardsen, Vegard Vinge / Ida Müller, Ingri Fiksdal, Findlay // Sandmark and Mia Habib productions – but also a new generation performing artists such as Magnus Myhr, Tormod Carlsen, Ingrid Berger Myhre, Hildur Kristinsdottir & Eirik Willyson, and Ingeleiv Berstad / Kristin Helgebostad / Ida Wigdel.
Black Box teater has also presented some of the world’s leading performing arts names, such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Forced Entertainment, Tg Stan, Philippe Quesne, Gisèle Vienne, the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Mårten Spångberg, Annie Dorsen and Trajal Harrell, as well as the more recent Jaamil Olawale Kossoko , Ligia Lewis, Dries Verhoeven, El Conde de Torrefiel, Eisa Jocson, Jaha Koo and more.
There is no vacant positions at the moment.