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The Ark: Ibsen on Fogo Island

Since 2006, the NAC English Theatre has conducted an unique theatre research and development project entitled The Ark. For three intensive weeks, students from the National Theatre School and professional artists from across Canada gather to study either a period in theatre history or the work of a great master playwright. This season The Ark will dedicate its dramaturgy to the work of Norwegian poet and playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Part think-tank, part master class, The Ark culminates in a provocative and entertaining presentation of this research.

Ibsen was born in Skien, Norway, a remote coastal village in the Telemark region known for its magnificent landscape and distinctive inhabitants. It is here that Ibsen set many of his plays. In 2011 The Ark sets sail as English Theatre travels to Fogo Island, one of the largest offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, to learn more about this culture in comparison to Ibsen’s place of birth and inspiration. Ibsen on Fogo Island will examine his writing, innovation and influence on contemporary Canadian theatre to better appreciate a playwright who has been called the father of modern theatre.

In complement to this dramatic research and development, the Ark... on fire is a project produced by the Fogo Island Arts Corporation, wherein local residents, members from the World’s End Theatre Company and artists from The Ark will collaborate in various community and cultural activities. This work will draw parallels between the Norwegian culture and its effect on Ibsen’s art; and how the way of life and stark beauty that make up the outport communities of Fogo Island and Change Islands can influence contemporary Canadian culture today.

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.

Sean Fitzpatrick

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