Scenekunstklassikere – a book series

You may wonder why we use the term “classics” about this series, which some would think is dusty and elitist. Is it appropriate for a small selection of performances from the 1970s to the present day, which were largely created against institutionalized cultural expressions? Dare we claim that the performances written about in these books are classics?

Yes we do. But we are not looking to create a hierarchy or to wall off the performances inside an exclusive club of allegedly eternal artistic quality. Rather, each book we publish under the title Scenekunstklassikere is a subjective argument for why this particular show is memorable and deserves attention, as the author sees it. We allow ourselves to use “classics” to open a discussion and let each book be a contribution that speaks for itself in the public conversation about the performing arts. This conversation needs more voices, more perspectives and more opportunities to share experiences and opinions.

We also need to be reminded of how many different kinds of performing arts have been created and shown over the years. In order to strengthen knowledge of our shared artistic past – and present – we have to take action. Short performance periods, scattered viewing opportunities and varying interest among the media in writing about the art form can be an obstacle for the public to experience performances, and for the performances to be seen and discussed as part of a larger public. The books provide a new and different opportunity to seek out a performance that is no longer available on stage, but which has just as much left its mark.

The performances that these books deal with are necessarily only a small selection. The book project’s editors and working group have aimed to obtain a lot of input on both performances to write about and possible authors. The subjective starting point is important. We want some of the performing arts' many stories to be told by different voices.

Black Box teater is the initiator of the book project. Some of the performances have been shown in Oslo, others have not. For the theatre, it is nevertheless a point that performances are chosen from among the many created by independent artists and performing arts groups, rather than the performances created by the country's national and regional producing performing arts institutions. It is this diverse part of the performing arts field from which Black Box teater itself has sprung, and which needs greater visibility.

Finally; thanks to Christer Falck and Falck forlag who have given us the permission to spin on the classics concept. The book series Norske albumklassikere has been a great inspiration.

Jørgen Knudsen
Artistic and general director