European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Programme of Stavanger2008

was updated September 15th 2007 and kept confidential until October 17th, 2007



The title Capital of Culture was first mooted by the Greek singer turned politician, Melina Mercouri. In the mid-1980s, she led a passionate campaign for the empowerment of European cities through culture (as had been, historically, her home city of Athens) rather than purely through commerce and industry. 1 The European Capital of Culture Programme, since 1986, has become a critically successful and far-reaching programme: each year, after intense competition, one or two cities are awarded the title for the duration of the designated year with the imperative that the city builds a comprehensive year-long programme with significant long-term impact. Norway is one of the last European countries not a member-state of European Union who will be allowed to become a Cultural Capital, as the rules have changed to include only member states. Stavanger 2008 therefore is a national proect – Norway's nine largest cities, after much debate, supported Stavanger to compete for the title. 2

Stavanger Region will be European Capital of Culture in 2018. Working with the vision OPEN PORT the Stavanger 2008 programme aims to build a legacy long into the future. The programme I designed to bring together local, regional and national artists with the most potent creative forces from elsewhere in the world to challenge and to explore each other's ideas, to build new competences, to create excellence and to encourage openness, curiosity and adventure. Starting with our opening ceremony, in which performers from all 27 of Rogaland's komunes will take part, we are placing a strong emphasis on participation – on bringing people of all kinds together to share new experiences and to build collaborations to join in for everyone – to those who have never thought of themselves as 'creative' right through to those for whom the highest forms of art are daily bread.

The budget for Stavanger 2008 is 300m Norwegian Kroners (approximately 39m Euros). It is one third funded by Stavanger, Sandnes and Rogaland Kommunes and a further third by the Norwegian government. The rest is to be found from commercial incomes – the government funding is dependent on Stavanger 2008 reaching its commercial income goals. There is also the probability of funding from the European Union, dependent on a successful specific project application.


Building up to the Capital of Culture Year



Other YoV projects include

Stavanger2008 : The Programme


At the centre of our four seasons, we are placing four month-long maor residencies by highly innovative international companies. Each will present a number of productions, including especially commissioned world permieres. Around each company we will also build a 'laboratory' – workshops, seminars, masterclases etc. with the intention of creating collaborations of all kinds with Norwegian and regional artists, children and all ages and skills. The intention is to build long-term sustainable impact through the transfer of competence, shared ideas and the possibility of long-lasting creative relationships.

Musiktheater Transparent (Belgium), Inbal Pinto Dance (Israel), Oskarus Korsunovas Theatre (Lithuania), Handspring Puppets (South Africa).

Each company will also make two two-week workshop visits in advance of their main residency. The residencies will present 2 world premiers, and initiate international co-commissions/co-productions with France, USA, UK and Lithuania.

Muziektheater Transparent

Muziektheater Transparant is a production company that shifts the boundaries btween opera and musical theatre. In their work, the voice is placed firmly at the centre of their projects, continually blending the old and the new -Mozart and Maxwell avies, Monteverdi and Udo Zimmermann, Richard Strauss and Wim Henderickx.

Transparant is also active internationally: touring productions are an important part of their work, and they have performed at many festivals, including Salzburger Festspiele, Melborne Festival, Avignon Festival, Holland Festival, and Kunstenfestival des Arts. They have also played an integral part in the music programming at the Bruges, Salamanca and Lille European Cities of Culture.

Transparant regularly collaborates with other producers and artists, most particularly deSingel, De Munt, Vlaamse Opera, Vooruit, and are currently working to develop a laboratory where young artists can explore new work and challenge the genre. Unique in this regard, is the Institute for Living Voice project, a peripatetic workshop at which international singers and musicians from all musical traditions come together to hold workshops and give recitals.

The Stavanger2008 residence starts in September 2007 with workshops for youngsters and the Institute for Living Voice project. It will reach its climax in February 2008. Work by Transparant will be shown for four weeks, including Ruhe (8.-8.2), Void (27—28.2), A girl a boy a river (15.-16.2) and Arthur, a project with children from Stavanger (21.-23.2)


Inbal Pinto Dance Company, Tel Aviv

Former Batsheva Company dancer Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak founed Inbal Pinto Dance Company in 1992. Together they have been involved in a number of artistic endeavours -mainly the creation, direction, choreography and design of unique and award-winning dance performances for their company. They are now also directing opera. The company, which tours world-wide, consists of 12 dancers working together and motivate by the collective wish to make connections among various artistic disciplines to convey new stage creations informed by memories, longings, ideas and imagination.

Inbal Pinto Company will be in residence in May 2008, and will present two of their most celebrated works Oyster (3.-5-5) and Shaker (12.-13.5). They will also create an entirely new performance (18.-20.5) build through workshops in Stavanger and Sandnes, working with regional professional dancers, but also with the young and elderly who have never danced before. All these will join Pinto's own ensemble.


Oskarus Korsunovas Theatre, Vilnius

Oskarus Korsunovas Theatre is a brilliant young independent company based in Vilnius, Lithuania, and which tours worldwide. Oskarus Korsunovas was born in Vilnius in 1969. He studied at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. He was 20 when he staged the first of many performances at the National Theatre of Lithuania, including a triology on the Oberiu movement: There to be Here (which received awards both at the Edinburgh and Torun Festivals.) In 1997 he directed at Passages Festival in Nancy and the Avignon Festival. In 1998, with the support of the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture he founded the Oskaro Korunovo Teatras, an independent organization whose offices are based in the builings of the National Theatre of Lithuania.

His theatre group, the Oskaro Korsunovo Teatras, is also dedicated to helping promising young talents fulfil their projects and to producing performances in theatre, film and dance. In 2001, Oskaras Korsunovas was warded the New Theatrical Realitz Prize from the European jury of Taormina.

OKT will be in residence throughout 19th - 26th September 2008, an will present three very different Shakespeare productions: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and a world premiere production of Hamlet – this is a co-commission with Vilnius 2009 and Avignon Festival, France (Liverpool '08 to be confirmed). OKT will also lead a number of workshops, debates and discussions around Shakespeare's work, for all ages. Oskarus Korsunovas will also direct Rogaland Theatre's Fairytales in Landscape project in August, involving professional and amateur actors and musicians. Text by Jon Fosse.


Handspring Puppet Company (9th - 16th November)

Handspringpuppets was founded in Cape Town in 1981 by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler. The company's original focus was the creation of new South African plays for children and for the first five years they toured educational shows to primary schools throughout Southern Africa. In 1986 they moved to Johannesburg and bagan work in children's educational television including a multi-media science education programme with teacher development outreach.

However, Handspring had always felt the challenge of developing an adult audience for the theatre of puppets. In '92 they began work with the artist, William Kentridge. Their first collaboration, Woyzeck on the Highveld won many awards in South Africa and was highly acclaimed at festivals around the world. In recent years they have collaborated with some of the world's greatest theatres and opera companies. Currently Handspring is creating a new piece for London's National Theatre. Each production provokes new and unexpected developments in the way they make and work with puppets. Now in its 21st year, Handspring provides an artistic home and professional base for a core multi-race group of performers, designers, theatre artists and technicians who collaborate with them on a project basis.


WINTER: January – mid-April

Opening Ceremony: January 12th

12 noon ceremony for dignitaries and invited guests: Stavanger Konerthus

3 pm Parade and Spectacular with Rogaland Kommunes and international artists

Various venues / Central Stavanger

8pm Events and performances throughout the city


Residency 1: Musiktheater Transparant (Belgium) throughout February

3 Music Theatre productions: Ruhe Music by Schubert Feb. 8 (pm + eve)

Void Music by Wim Henrickx Feb. 27, 28

A girl, a boy, a river Music by Jan Van Outryve Feb. 15,16

New Production created by young Rogaland singers age 15 – 21 Feb. 21,22, 23


SPRING: Mid- April till June


SUMMER: July – mid September


AUTUMN: mid-September – December

SanRockDance Sandnes Kulturhus November 14, 15, 16

Seminar dates tbc



Some comments:

1This re-interpretation is of interest as the original intention was not so much the empowerment of cities through culture, but rather to unify Europe through culture. There is usually at risk to get entangled in all kinds of overt projections due to one sided identifications e.g. Melina was much more the actress, even though she sang 'Never on Sunday' but that pertains to Piraeus and not Athens. Once culture is reduced to iconic symbols, misunderstandings will create a net of supposed meanings while most of the true meanings of culture remain 'hidden'.

2The re-entry of the national dimension was reinforced by then President of the Jury, Bob Scott, who believed a cultural capital should not be a border city, but well placed, in order to be the national representative of the country. As if culture should be identified with the national narrative, it reflects nevertheless the jurisdiction and ownership of the title once the political authorities get involved and assert themselves. For instance, Thessaloniki '97 is a prime example of not merely national and therefore central government interference, but was used on top of it all to evoke a long standing dispute about the Macedonian name. Since Stavanger 2008 did make 'names' into one of its themes, it could have been expected that disputes about names would have been treated as a general theme of concern with regards to the categories used to recognize European cultures rather than retaining merely an anthropological orientation and focusing solely on the street names existing in Stavanger alone.

^ Top

« Stavanger 2008 | Assessment of the programme »