The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island
The NAC’s English Theatre sets sail for Fogo Island, Newfoundland for a unique three-week theatre
research and development project.

The Ark is being produced on Fogo Island in partnership with the Fogo Island Arts Corporation and in association with the National Theatre School of Canada.

Ottawa/Fogo Island — The National Arts Centre’s English Theatre and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation are partnering on a unique theatre project called The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island from September 5th to 23 rd in Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. A company of 35 theatre professionals, including 12 professional actors from across the country, will be joined by the second year class of students from the National Theatre School for three weeks of intensive research on Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen. The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island will be led by English Theatre’s Artistic Director Peter Hinton and Paula Danckert, Company Dramaturg and Artistic Associate. The Ark was first created in 2006 as a unique theatre research and development project focusing on a specific period in theatre history or the work of a great master playwright. This is the first time The Ark will be presented outside of Ottawa.

“We are all very excited about bringing together such an incredible group of artists from all over Canada, the United States and Norway to study the father of modern theatre, Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen was born in a remote coastal village in Norway and we think we will discover many parallels with the outports of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the NAC’s Artistic Director of English Theatre Peter Hinton.

The Ark... on fire is a separate initiative of the Fogo Island Arts Corporation which, under the leadership of Elisabet Gunnarsdottir, Director, and Jack Stanley, Project Manager, is taking the opportunity to radically add value to the NAC project by anchoring it to the specific place and location that is this island and by attaching accessible and tangible meaning to the whole for the people of Fogo Island and Change Islands, other stakeholders and the general public. The workshops will focus on Ibsen’s work, as well as the cultural ties between Norway and Newfoundland.

The Ark… on fire will concentrate on 'audience' – in this case the Fogo Islanders – their questions, observations and interests.” said Elisabet Gunnarsdottir the creator and driving force behind the Fogo Island Arts Corporation. “The Ark… on fire will engage local people, members from the World’s End Theatre Company and master class participants in activities that shed light on the Norwegian culture that informed Ibsen’s work and will also provide insight into what this place – Outport Newfoundland – is all about. Through local engagement we hope participants will be compelled to learn with and through their audience.”

Both The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island and The Ark… on fire workshops will culminate in provocative and entertaining public presentations, presented consecutively on September 23rd.

The media are invited to attend different workshops and activities from September 15th through 17th, where they will have access to all of the major participants including Zita Cobb, founder of the Shorefast Foundation. 

Cobb is a driving force behind the development of Fogo Island into a leading international arts and geotourism destination. Over the past several years she has worked to enhance the cultural resiliency of this unique island community and to add new legs to the traditional fishing economy.

"We have 400 years of culture here, which has incredible value. The underlying thing that drives the foundation and me is the belief that we have both a duty and an opportunity to find new ways in this old and rich continuity.  The arts are a natural and powerful ally in this journey,” said Cobb.

Participating alongside Peter Hinton and Paula Danckert in The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island is Alexandra Lunney, NAC English Theatre Associate Producer.

The Company will include actors: Edouard Fontaine (St. John’s); David Francis (Montreal); Randi Helmers (Toronto); Martha Irving (Halifax); Marcel Jeannin (Montreal); Jonathan Eliot Koensgen (Toronto); Michelle St. John (Toronto); Manon St. Jules (Montreal); Dayna Tekatch (Toronto); Mary Vingoe (Halifax); Scott Wentworth (Stratford); Gordon Patrick White (Halifax). Guest Artists: Ba Clemetsen (Oslo, Norway), Guest Speaker; James Harrod, (Canning/Portland) Philosopher; Sharon King-Campbell (St. John’s), Artistic Director, World’s End Theatre; Wendy Lill (Halifax), Playwright; Eo Sharp (Montreal), Designer; Sylvia Söderlind (Kingston), Playwright; Keith Turnbull (Montreal), Guest Director. Diana Daly (St. John’s) is Production Manager and Krista Williams (Pouch Cove) Production Assistant.

They will be joined by second year theatre students from the National Theatre School: Sehar Bhojani, Shannon Leigh Currie, Grace Fitzpatrick, Darcy Gerhart, Jeffrey Ho, Stephen Jackman, Jesse LaVercombe, Alyx Melone, Stephane Monten, Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski, and Julie Trepanier. 

The Ark... on fire will bring the above mentioned artists together with the community groups and theatre enthusiasts of Fogo Island and Change Island and visiting artists from Norway: Juni Dahr of Visjoner Teater, with her group: Marianne Roland, Marianne Thallaug-Wedset, and Chris Poole; Oddbjorg Hjelmeland, Kristian Jansen, and Erlend Apneseth; from Vancouver: Errol Durbach; and from the U.S.: Toril Moi.

A limited number of rooms are available on the island, so media organizations are encouraged to contact the NAC or the Fogo Island Arts Corporation for help with hotel bookings and other arrangements.

A special thank you to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa for its support.


About the National Arts Centre
The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s home of the performing arts. Founded in 1969 it is the only bilingual multi-disciplinary performing arts centre in North America. Situated in Ottawa, the NAC is a vibrant hub of educational outreach in Music, Dance, English, French Theatre and New Media. The NAC presents artists and arts organizations from across Canada and around the world.

About the Fogo Island Arts Corporation
Fogo Island Arts Corporation is a unique social enterprise and contemporary arts experiment on Newfoundland's Fogo Island and Change Islands. The Arts Corp is driving economic, social and cultural regeneration through an integrated, sustainable development strategy incorporating social enterprise and geo-tourism - with arts at its core. The Arts Corp works with a population of 3,000 descendants of European settlers who are facing acute challenges following the collapse after 300 years of their sole, historic livelihood – fishing.
The Fogo Island Arts Corporation is supported by the Shorefast Foundation.



For more information please contact:

Rosemary Thompson                                                  
Director of Communications                                        
National Arts Centre                                                      (613) 947-7000 ext 260                                                                                

Sean Fitzpatrick
Communications Officer
NAC English Theatre
(613) 947-7000 ext 389                                            

Kathleen Crotty
Media Advisor
Fogo Island Arts Corporation
(709) 576-0651


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