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K-State Today

May 29, 2014



Vellenga invited to direct new play in Norway

By Jennifer Vellenga

Jennifer Vellenga, assistant professor and program director for theatre, has been invited to direct a workshop and reading of the play, "Forward," at Hålogaland Teater, the regional theater for Troms and Finnmark counties in Northern Norway.

The play is the second in The Arctic Cycle series written by Chantal Bilodeau.

The workshop production will take place in January 2015 as part of Hålogaland Teater's ArtLab program. The play will be cast with English-speaking Norwegian actors and will be presented to an invited audience. The production coincides with the Arctic Frontiers conference on Climate and Energy in Tromsø, Norway.

Nina Wester, artistic director of Hålogaland Teater said, "We are excited about the opportunity to contribute to the development of the play. We very much feel this type of international collaboration is essential in keeping our theater relevant and alive. It benefits both artists and audiences by allowing for an exchange of ideas across cultures and promotes openness and understanding. We hope this is the beginning of a longer collaboration."

Vellenga will receive a travel award from the University Small Research Grant to Tromsø and Oslo in December 2014 to explore options for production of the play. This invitation from Hålogaland Teater furthers Vellenga's artistic work on the second play in Bilodeau's eight-play cycle, which explores climate change in the eight regions of the Arctic: United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

"Forward" considers the question "How did we get here?" Moving backward from present day Norway to 1895 when Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen established the record of having sailed closest to the North Pole. The play presents a series of seemingly unrelated characters confronting small, day-to-day challenges and making choices that seemed innocent at the time but turned out to be important markers in history.