The 2016 Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival: Six premieres, international guest performances and a previously unperformed Bergman play

The third Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival will take place August 25 to September 4 at Dramaten (the Royal Dramatic Theatre), Stockholm. Mattias Andersson will present Deformed Persona, a paraphrase of the classic film Persona; Anna Pettersson takes on the classic drama Hedda Gabler; Erik Stubø, Artistic and Managing Director of Dramaten, will direct The Best Intentions; Suzanne Osten investigates grief in Falling out of Time; Sebastian Hartmann makes his Dramaten debut with the Bergman collage The House at the End of Night; and Unga Dramaten (Dramaten’s Youth Theatre) participates in the festival for the first time when Agneta Ehrensvärd directs Martina Montelius’ new play  Ensam and Esmeralda.

The festival will also incorporate a number of international guest performances, including Liv Ullmann’s Private Confessions from Riksteatret/Nationaltheatret in Oslo; Thomas Ostermeier’s Richard III from Schaubühne; Autumn Sonata from Deutsches Theater Berlin; and Scenes from a Marriage from the Belgian tg STAN. Other events include a reading for the Radio Theatre of a previously unrecorded Bergman play; Marcus Lindeen’s documentary Wild Minds in an intimate rehearsal room setting; conversations, lectures and much more. Tickets go on sale April 15 at noon. 

“The Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival is an important step in Dramaten’s international outreach effort to establish cooperation and exchanges across national borders. This project will contribute to artistic development that will benefit both the audience and stage artists.  The festival will be an important complement to our repertory and a meeting place for contemporary theatre arts”, says Eirik Stubø, Artistic and Managing Director of Dramaten.

The death of Ingmar Bergman in 2007 inspired the idea of creating an international theatre festival in his memory. At the initiative of Staffan Valdemar Holm, then Artistic and Managing Director of Dramaten, the first festival took place in spring 2009; a second followed in 2012.

In 2016 the festival opens the theatre season in August and is larger than ever before. In a period of eleven days six Dramaten productions will premiere. These will continue to play after the festival as part of the autumn repertory, an entirely new feature of this year’s Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival.

A fourth festival is also planned and will take place in 2018, one hundred years after Ingmar Bergman’s birth.


The House at the End of Night, by Sebastian Hartmann, drawing freely on Ingmar Bergman
World premiere August 25, Stora scenen
In the celebrated German director Sebastian Hartmann’s The House at the End of Night, figures from Bergman’s films and plays meet and interact with each other in new, unexpected constellations. Scenes and characters from works such as Shame, Fanny and Alexander, Scenes from a Marriage, The Magic Lantern, From the Life of the Marionettes, Cries and Whispers, The Silence and our of the WolfHour of the Wolf  glide in and out of the performance. But The House at the End of Night is not primarily a worshipful examination of a multifaceted artistic career, but rather a dynamic investigation of human beings, relationships and complex emotions. Sebastian Hartmann was inspired to honour Bergman in this manner after living for a period in his home on Fårö.
Cast: Sanna Sundqvist, Eric Stern, Elin Klinga, Reuben Sallmander, Andreas Rothlin Svensson, Bengt CW Carlsson, Mia Benson and others. Director: Sebastian Hartmann. 

The Best Intentions, by Ingmar Bergman
Premiere August 26, Lilla scenen
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing”. (Romans 7:19)
It is 1909. Anna and Henrik meet. She is training to be a nurse in Stockholm; he is studying theology in Uppsala. They have nothing in common, but a strong bond of love develops between them. They will become Ingmar Bergman’s parents.
The Best Intentions is a fictional account of Anna and Henrik’s love story up to the birth of their son Ingmar in 1918. The novel was published in 1991 and became the basis of a popular television series and a film that won a Golden Palm at Cannes. The director, Eirik Stubø, returns to the novel to provide his own dramatic interpretation of Anna and Henrik’s story. In Ingmar Bergman’s own words: “The words remain uncontested and hopefully live their own life, like a private performance in the reader’s mind”. (From Ingmar Bergman’s preface to the novel The Best Intentions, Norstedts, 1991.)
Cast: Erik Ehn, Rebecka Hemse, Per Mattsson, Lena Endre, Otto Hargne Kin, Örjan Ramberg, Kicki Bramberg and Emma Broomé. Director: Eirik Stubø.

Ensam and Esmeralda, by Martina Montelius
World premiere August 26, Unga Dramaten, Tornrummet
In the large bourgeois flat Ensam is often alone. His father’s main interest is seeing that the pots and pans are in order. But Ensam’s maternal grandmother is also there; her experiences include working at a fishmonger’s shop and a mysterious career as a football player. She opens the door to another world where the circus artist Esmeralda turns up, and she teaches Ensam all about creating pictures and stories.
In Ensam and Esmeralda, directed by Agneta Ehrensvärd, Martina Montelius describes, in her own special way, the childhood of a filmmaker. With humour and melancholy in equal measure, Ensam and Esmerlalda shows how imagination can be a way to escape demands and expectations and how the experiences of a child can provide material for artistic creation.
Cast: Rasmus Luthander, Emma Mehonic, Hannes Meidal and Maria Kulle. Director: Agneta Ehrensvärd.

Falling Out of Time, by David Grossman
Swedish premiere August 27, Elverket
Eight people have gathered. All of them have experienced the worst thing imaginable: losing a child. One man goes out to search for his dead son. What happens after that is an abstract, musical, shifting journey into the relentless landscape of grief. “His death isn’t dead”, says the centaur who has fused with his desk. Falling Out of Time is director Suzanne Osten’s interpretation of the Israeli writer David Grossman’s acclaimed novel of the same title, published in 2014, which draws on the author’s grief after the combat death of his 21-year-old son.
Erik Uddenberg has adapted the text; music was composed by Anders Niska.
Falling out of Time is Suzanne Osten’s first production at Dramaten.
Cast: David Arnesen, Thérèse Brunnander, Johan Holmberg, Maria Johansson Josephsson, Hulda Lind Johánsdóttir, Simon Norrthon, Maria Sundbom and Frida Österberg. Director: Suzanne Osten.

Deformed Persona, by Mattias Andersson and Ylva Andersson
Premiere August 27, Målarsalen (after the festival at Lilla scenen)
A high-rise flat in a Swedish city, 2016. A young woman suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS); her caregiver is a woman the same age from a lower social class. Who is really subordinate and who is dominant?  Who is dependent on the other? Who is ill and who is healthy?
Mattias Andersson has written Deformed Persona with his sister, Ylva Andersson, who herself was diagnosed with MS in her twenties. The script is primarily based on Ylva’s poems, diary entries and stories. Deformed Persona is thus both a semi-documentary play and a deformed paraphrase of Ingmar Bergman’s psychological thriller from 1966, demonstrating that Bergman’s legacy is not necessarily apolitical.  This is not a dramatization of the film, but rather an entirely new play, loosely inspired by Bergman’s story.
Cast: Sofia Pekkari, Nina Zanjani, Kristina Törnqvist and Danilo Bejarano. Director: Mattias Andersson.

Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen
Premiere August 31, Lejonkulan
After attention-getting productions of Miss Julie and The Wild Duck, Anna Pettersson continues, with Hedda Gabler, to investigate how the naturalistic dramas that with time have become classics can have the same powerful effect on a contemporary audience as they did when they exploded like bombshells at the end of the nineteenth century. How can they be deconstructed and opened up?
In Anna Pettersson’s hands Hedda Gabler is presented in a spare format where Electra Hallman in the title role interacts with video projections of the other three characters.
Hedda Gabler is one of Henrik Ibsen’s most durable masterpieces. The story of the frustrated Hedda, trapped in patriarchal social structures that she with increasing desperation wants to escape, was written in 1890 and has been performed frequently ever since. Dramaten has staged it a number of times; in 1964 the director was Ingmar Bergman. He also staged it at the National Theatre in London in 1970 and at the Residenztheater in Munich in 1977.
Cast: Electra Hallman, Mattis Herman Nyquist, Kim Haugen and Eindride Eidsvold. Director: Anna Pettersson.

Persona, persona, persona – a theatrical presentation
Dimen Abdulla, Bahar Pars and Nanna Blondell have each had a very personal relation to Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona for many years. Now this dynamic trio is creating an entirely new work for Dramaten. The premiere will be at the 2018 Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival, but already at this year’s festival the public is invited to a collation, a preliminary meeting about the production.
The audience participates when the trio reads the original script together, examining the text from all sides, asking questions, discussing, trying things out: “It’s almost impossible to talk about Persona. We want to enter Bergman’s landscape and let Persona meet the three of us and get acquainted”, says the trio in a collective statement.
Time and place to be announced.

In the Presence of a Clown – a Bergman tribute at Drottningholms Slottsteater
A playful tribute to Ingmar Bergman’s artistry, the word and the art of acting. The programme at Drottningholm runs from afternoon until dusk and includes musical theatre, readings, discussions and a film screening of Ingmar Bergmans The Magic Flute in the park.
Performers include, among others, actors from Dramaten’s ensemble and musicians from the Drottningholm orchestra, conducted by Maria Lindal.
A collaboration between Drottningholms Slottsteater and Dramaten. The entire programme is available at
Drottningholms Slottsteater, September 3


Deutsches Theater Berlin (Germany), Autumn Sonata, by Ingmar Bergman
Seven years have passed since their last meeting. The successful concert pianist Charlotte Andergast, played by acclaimed actress Corinna Harfouch, has now taken a break from international touring to visit her daughter in the Norwegian countryside. Expectations are high and both look forward to seeing each other. But there is something Eva has not told her mother: she has brought her handicapped sister Helena to live with her. Director Jan Bosse’s production of Autumn Sonata is a psychological duel between mother and daughter, based on Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same title.
Cast: Corinna Harfouch, Fritzi Haberlandt, Natalia Belitski, Jörg Pose and Damian Fink/Bennet Schuster. Director: Jan Bosse.
A co-production with Schauspiel Stuttgart
Stora scenen, August 28 and 29

Schaubühne (Germany), Richard III, by William Shakespeare
Richard is hideous. He was born prematurely and is a deformed, limping, hump-backed cripple. He plays off his rivals against each other with political cunning, has no scruples about taking advantage of others’ ambitions for his own purposes and wades unharmed through an enormous bloodbath until nothing blocks his path to the throne. Alone at the height of power, with no opponents left, he can only direct his anger towards his sole true enemy: himself. In Schaubühne’s production Shakespeare’s classic text has been translated and adapted by the German dramatist Marius von Mayenburg. Celebrated and prizewinning director Thomas Ostermeier is at the helm.
Cast: Lars Eidinger, Moritz Gottwald, Eva Meckbach, Jenny König, Sebastian Schwarz, Robert Beyer, Thomas Bading, Christoph Gawenda, Laurenz Laufenberg and Thomas Witte. Director: Thomas Ostermeier.
Stora scenen, September 2 and 3

Riksteatret/Nationaltheatret (Norway), Private Confessions, by Ingmar Bergman, in a stage version by Liv Ullmann
What do we do with our deepest secrets? What does this do to us? Liv Ullmann’s production of Private Confessions, which she also filmed to great international acclaim, concerns Anna, who in more ways than one must pay the price of telling the truth. The drama is based on the life story of Ingmar Bergman’s mother, a story Bergman believed only Liv Ullmann could tell. Drawing on the mother’s secret diary and on Ingmar’s own diaries, Liv Ullmann has created a new script for the stage.
Cast: Marte Engebrigtsen, Anneke von der Lippe, Mattis Herman Nyquist, Liv Bernhoft Osa, Hermann Sabado, Kari Simonsen, Bjørn Skagestad. Director: Liv Ullmann.
Lilla scenen, September 1 and 2

Maxim Gorki Theater (Germany), The So-called Out There Means Nothing to Me, by Sibylle Berg
It’s evening. A young woman is sitting alone in her flat. She keeps in touch with female friends via Skype and online chat rooms. She gets some text messages. Her mother phones. A few floors below, in the cellar, a man is tied up and gagged.In The So-called Out There Means Nothing to Me (Das sagt mir nichts, das sogenannte Draußen) a young woman begins, with furiously bitter humour, to take stock of her own and other women’s reactions to the world around them, to images of women in advertising and media and violence on the city streets.The professional theatre journal Theater Heute named The So-called Out There Means Nothing to Me the best German-language play of 2014. Cast: Nora Abdel-Maksoud, Suna Gürler, Rahel Jankowski and Cynthia Micas. Director: Sebastian Nübling. Choreographer: Tabea Martin. A co-production with Junges Theater Basel 
Lilla scenen, September 3 and 4 

Tg STAN (Belgium), Scenes from a Marriage, by Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage was originally a six-part series for Swedish television with Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson in the lead roles. The story of Johan and Marianne’s crumbling marriage is told in six instalments covering a period of 20 years. Bergman portrays important events in the couple’s life, observes the idiosyncrasies that arise in a shared life and depicts some scenes from the marriage.
By and with Ruth Vega Fernandez and Frank Vercruyssen in collaboration with Alma Palacios and Georgia Scalliet; also with Robby Cleiren, Bob Cornet, Jan Deca, Jolente De Keersmaeker, Mariet Eyckmans, Karin Vaerenberg, Renild Van Bavel, Jan Vancaillie and Thomas Walgrave. 
A co-production with Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse
Målarsalen, September 2 and 3

tg STAN (Belgium), After the Rehearsal, by Ingmar Bergman
In After the Rehearsal from Belgian tg STAN, an aging Theatre Director sits remembering earlier productions of Strindberg’s A Dream Play, which he is now directing for the fifth time, when he is interrupted by a young, enthusiastic actress. She wants to talk about her deceased mother, also an actress, a woman the Theatre Director once was in love with.
Ingmar Bergman initially wrote After the Rehearsal for television in 1984, with Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin and Lena Olin.
By and with Georgia Scalliet and Frank Vercruyssen in collaboration with Alma Palacios, Ruth Vega Fernandez and Thomas Walgrave.
A co-production with Théâtre Garonne, Toulouse
Målarsalen, September 4 (two performances)

Toneelgroep Amsterdam (The Netherlands), The Human Voice, by Jean Cocteau
In The Human Voice, an actress is alone, talking on the phone with her lover from a relationship that has just ended. The woman is torn between strong emotions as she tries to understand herself the man who has left her. It becomes unusually and uncomfortably voyeuristic, even for theatre. Director Ivo van Hove makes this quite clear by placing the actress in a small, box-like room behind a large window, through which the audience examines her. She gives the impression of being a prisoner in her own flat, where she acts like a caged animal. 
Cast: Halina Reijn. Director: Ivo van Hove.
Elverket, August 30 and 31

Det Norske Teatret (Norway), Mourning Becomes Electra, by Eugene O’Neill
“This is theatre of high international class”, wrote Aftenposten’s critic after the premiere of Mourning Becomes Electra at Det Norske Teatret in 2012. Eugene O’Neill’s family drama is based on the Greek tragedy The Oresteia and takes place during the American Civil War. Directed by Eirik Stubø and with jazz musicians on stage, the tragedy of the Mannon family’s downfall has somehow become a festive descent into the bleakest night of the soul. Traditional tunes from The Great American Songbook alternate with new interpretations of rock ballads by the ensemble and a jazz trio.
Cast: Jan Grønli, Gertrude Jynge, Torbjørn Eriksen, Kirsti Stubø, Lasse Kolsrud, Espen Løvås and Marie Blokhus. Director: Eirik Stubø.
Elverket, September 3 and 4

Salon Madame Nielsen (Denmark)
During the Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival the Danish writer and performance artist Madame Nielsen will come to Stockholm with her entourage and move into an exclusive suite at one of the city’s finest old hotels. Here on select evenings she will open her Salon Madame Nielsen for the residents of Stockholm. With her companion Sailor Toldam and invited guests she will entertain with songs, stories and commentary on the burning issues of the day. Among other things she will describe her experiences in the “migration wave” that she participated in during autumn 2015, walking from Greece through Europe to Denmark, an educational journey she later wrote about in the novel The Invasion. Behind Madame Nielsen is the Danish writer, dramatist and musician Claus Beck-Nielsen.
External location, August 30 and 31


Throughout the festival Dramaten&, Dramaten’s side programming, will arrange a wide variety of discussions and encounters focusing on the Bergman themes of grief, dreams and failure. There will be intense scrutiny and dialogue but also readings, listenings, music and lectures.

Reading: A newly discovered play by Ingmar Bergman
During autumn 2016 Radio Sweden’s Radio Theatre will put on a previously unknown and never-performed script by Ingmar Bergman in a unique and still-secret project. During the festival we will be able to meet the cast of the production and sample the work with readings from the script. More information will be forthcoming as the festival approaches.
In collaboration with Swedish Radio

Performance in Rehearsal Room 1: Wild Minds, by Marcus Lindeen
Wild Minds is a documentary performance where we meet four people who are obsessed by their daydreams. Director and dramatist Marcus Lindeen has interviewed people in the United States who self-identify as compulsive daydreamers and have been forced to seek treatment for their overactive imaginations. Actors perform their stories live in the intimate setting of a rehearsal studio, providing simultaneous translations of recorded voices and accompanied by new music composed by Hans Appelqvist.Cast: Sandra Carpenter, Vaughn Rice, Mika Risiko and Kiki Snodgrass. Director: Marcus Lindeen.
The production was commissioned by Moderna Museet/The Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm.

Listening: Bergman as director of radio theatre
Over the years Ingmar Bergman was involved in more than 40 productions of Swedish Radio’s Radio Theatre, primarily as director but also as dramatist. Who was Bergman as a director of radio theatre and how did he work with the actors? Meet those who worked with Bergman at the Radio Theatre and listen to excerpts of the director in action, captured when the tape was running before and after the play itself was recorded. 
In collaboration with Swedish Radio

Two conversations with David Grossman
David Grossman is one of Israel’s most prominent writers and a persistent critic of the government. His much-praised previous novel, To the End of the Land, portrays everyday life in Israel in the shadow of war that has continued for three generations. The novel Falling Out of Time, the basis of Suzanne Osten’s production of the same title, draws on Grossman’s grief over the combat death of his 21-year-old son. During the festival the writer will participate in two conversations, one with director Suzanne Osten (in cooperation with the Jewish Congregation) and one with journalist Johar Bendjelloul.

4 x Bergman: Conversations with Leif Zern
Leif Zern is one of Sweden’s best known and respected theatre critics. In 1993 he published Se Bergman (“See Bergman”), a book about Ingmar Bergman as an artist. There he writes, “The singular quality in Bergman’s aesthetics arose in the dialectic between film and theatre. No other film director has to the same degree used actors as his instrument”. 4 x Bergman is a four-part seminar where Leif Zern converses with four different Bergman authorities.

Lecture and workshop: Finding an audience – a theatre for the entire city
Members of the theatre company Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin discuss their experiences and methods for reaching new audience groups. The theatre’s artistic directors, Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje, describe their vision of the theatre in the following way: “Gorki is for the entire city, and that includes everyone who has moved to the city in the last few decades (…) We invite all of you to a public space where the human condition and our conflicted identity will be reflected in the art of creating theatre and the art of watching theatre. In this way we hope to contribute to a probing debate about living together in today’s pluralistic society. How have we become who we are, what we are? And who do we want to be in the future? One might also ask: who is this ‘we’?”

Conversation: The fruitful failure
After gaining access to the Ingmar Bergman Archives, director Marcus Lindeen created the production The Archive of Unrealized Dreams and Visions. What significance did Bergman’s failed projects have in his development towards the films that made him world famous? Does our present-day insistence on efficiency leave room for experiment and failure? Dramaten& invites a number of voices representing both artistic and scientific fields to discuss failure – Bergman’s and their own. Does one’s approach to failure have a direct connection to creativity?

Introductions to the performances
Introductions to Dramaten’s own productions as well as guest performances are planned. Arrive a while before the curtain goes up and learn more about the play, the dramatist and the theatre company from Dramaten’s dramaturges or dramaturges from the visiting companies.

Talks after the guest performances
Why not stay a while after the performance and listen to a talk on the work behind the guest performances? The talks are led by dramaturges from the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the participants are members from the cast and the director from the visiting theatre company.

 Additional programme features and ticket sales to follow

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