University Museum of Bergen
Ny teaterutstilling på Universitetsmuseet

On stage - off stage - back stage

On Friday 5 June, the theatre exhibition «On stage – off stage - back stage» opens at the Historical Museum. The exhibition shows stage design models, costumes, props, theatre playbills and photographs taken from different theatrical productions.

2 on stage back stage
Jo Høyer

Main content

The exhibition shows what lies behind a theatrical production and what helps create the magic of the theatre. The theatre playbill also occupies a central place in the exhibition, from the first text-only playbills to today’s large, colourful graphic design playbills.

From back stage to on stage
The exhibition has its own “dramaturgy”. It brings you face-to-face with theatre objects, elements and tasks going on backstage; back stage. As you walk further into the exhibition to the next room, you can experience how this will present itself to a theatre audience on a stage; on stage.

The National Theatre Scene Bergen (DNS/Den Nationale Scene) occupies a prominent place in the history of theatre in Bergen as the main venue for the art of theatre there. The majority of the stage design models and costumes have been obtained from Den Nationale Scene. The exhibition also shows how painted coulisses and manual effects contrast with today’s technical design solutions of modern theatre houses.

The exhibition presents several photographs from different theatre performances taken by the recently deceased photographer Trygve Schønfelder. He worked as a professional theatre photographer, among other things, at Den Nationale Scene. His theatre photography represented something new, not just for marketing, but also as documentation. Instead of staged still photographs, he took photos during the rehearsals. In this way, the actors were presented the way they performed at that particular moment. His theatre photography has preserved important documentation about the fleeting nature of performance in a theatre for posterity.

From performance to exhibition
When the curtains are brought down, the performance and the theatre experience are over.  With this exhibition, work at a theatre is « immortalised» where costumes, models, photographs and playbills together document the extensive work process that lies behind.

The Project Group
The project group consists of the following member s: Exhibition architect Anne Aspen, museum educator Margareth Hosøy, project leader Kari Klæboe-Winther Kristoffersen and Professor Kari Gaarder Losnedahl who has academic responsibility for the exhibition.
The exhibition has been produced by the University Museum of Bergen.