This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 13 June 2024, 6pm to 7.30pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Friargate Theatre, Lower Friargate (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

The most-performed Norwegian playwright after Ibsen, Jon Fosse’s spare, questioning drama has been compared to Samuel Beckett’s. Over 1,000 productions of his plays have taken place worldwide, from Tokyo to Havana. He was awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature for his ‘innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.’ In theatre, that voice is literal: words lifted from the page, spoken and shared, images conjured, worlds evoked.

However, his enigmatic, discomforting, also humorous drama is little-known in the UK. A widely published novelist who became an almost accidental playwright, Fosse described writing his first play in the 1990s as ‘a great revelation, because I really didn’t like theatre’.

This event will animate extracts from Fosse’s plays through semi-staged readings, exploring in microcosm how they might find living form in performance. Readings will be framed by a talk and discussion with Beck Sinar of the Norwegian Study Centre and Bridget Foreman of Riding Lights Theatre Company, and followed by a Q&A with the actors.

Presented by the Norwegian Study Centre, University of York and Riding Lights Theatre Company.

The Norwegian Study Centre (NSC), founded by the Norwegian Government in 1979, is a valued part of the University of York, partnering with all 14 Higher Educational Institutions in Norway, including the University of Bergen where Fosse studied. The NSC has welcomed more than 45,000 students from Norway to experience the academic excellence of the University of York and explore the cultural heritage and contemporary cultures of the City of York, including local theatre. Professor Gweno Williams leads the NSC's successful cultural theatre programme, through which the NSC has evolved a strong working relationship with Riding Lights Theatre Company and other local theatres. Gweno was instrumental in establishing and organising this event.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tom A. Kolstad/Det norske samlaget

About the speakers

Dr Bridget Foreman, Associate Director, Riding Lights Theatre Company, is a playwright and Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of York. Author of more than 20 plays, her work has been presented in theatres and on tour across the UK and internationally. Writing credits include Clay Fever (York Museums Trust), Everything is Possible: the York Suffragettes (York Theatre Royal / Pilot Theatre), In Fog and Falling Snow (co-written with Mike Kenny) for York Theatre Royal /Pilot Theatre. Her new play, The Bare Bones, is in development with York Theatre Royal. Bridget is also under commission to York Trailblazers and Riding Lights, and is co-writing the new York Theatre Royal community play for summer 2025.

Dr Beck Sinar, Director of Studies and Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Culture, is particularly interested in Nynorsk, one of two written standards of Norwegian used by around 10-15 per cent of the population, and the language variety used and popularised by Fosse.


York Anglo-Scandinavian Society Riding Lights Theatre Company

Venue details

  • Not wheelchair accessible