Collaboration takes “A Doll’s House” far

Norwegian dance and theatre company with American actors performs Ibsen worldwide

Photo courtesy of Jo Strømgren Kompani Dance and theatrical elements mix in JSK’s performances.

Photo courtesy of Jo Strømgren Kompani
Dance and theatrical elements mix in JSK’s performances.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

A Doll’s House, a play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, was staged in Philadelphia this past September. The play has been performed uncountable times, but not like this production, mounted by Norwegian Jo Strømgren Kompani (JSK) on commission and co-produced by Fringe Arts Festival of Philadelphia. An all-American cast was selected to join Jo Strømgren Kompani for this production, which was directed by Jo Strømgren, Artistic Director, freelance Choreographer, Director, and Playwright.

The Norwegian premiere performance of this production will be held at the Opera House in Oslo from January 20 to January 23, 2016, with the same American cast. Cast members include Pierce Bunting (Minnesota), Trey Lyford (New York), Leonard C. Haas (Philadelphia), Mary Lee Bednarek (Philadelphia), and Suli Holum (New York).

The company is looking forward to further touring the U.S., Norway, and elsewhere around the world and want to share this Norwegian-American approach to Ibsen with a wide audience. My drama professor in college, Dr. Ray Lammers of the University of Minnesota, once said the three best playwrights of the world were William Shakespeare, George B. Shaw, and Henrik Ibsen, not necessarily in that order. Ibsen has been called “the father of modern drama,” because he developed many modern drama techniques and wrote about subjects almost 100 years before his time. A Doll’s House, for example, is about women’s liberation back in the 1800s, long before it became a popular movement.

JSK is one of Norway’s largest cultural exports in the performance arts field, having visited over 50 countries so far. They have performed at several U.S. festivals and theatres over the past years, including Jacobs Pillow, PS 122 (New York), Gallo Center for the Arts (Modesto), Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, Fringe Arts Philadelphia, and many more.

If you want more information and/or would like to invite the Jo Strømgren Kompani to your area, they can be found at

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 30, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.