Lillebil Ibsen

Also known as: Sofie Parelius Monrad Krohn

Lillebil Ibsen (born as Sofie Parelius Monrad Krohn, 1899-1989) was a Norwegian actress and dancer.

Lillebil Ibsen was the daughter of actress, director and theatre manager Gyda Christensen and engineer Georg Monrad Krohn. She was married to director Tancred Ibsen.

Lillebil Ibsen made her debut as a dancer at the age of twelve, in the pantomime production  The Princess and the Pea at The National Theatre in 1911.

She studied dance and theatre with Beck in Copenhagen, Michel Fokine, and with Max Reinhardt in Berlin. Reinhardt gave her leading parts in a large number of ballet and pantomime productions, sometime in roles created especially for her. Die Schäferin, Die grüne Flöte, Lillebils Hochzeitsreise, Sumurun and Prima Ballerina all were productions in which she had the leading role. In 1917 she performed the role of the nun in one of Max Reinhardt's productions of the great pantomime Das Mirakel. During this period she used the name of Christensen.

After Lillebil Ibsen married Tancred Ibsen in 1919 she gradually decided to move back to Norway, and from approximately 1923 she was established as a dancer and actress in Oslo, to a large degree with tours and visiting performances abroad.


(Objekt ID 21283)
Object type Person
Also known as Sofie Parelius Monrad Krohn
Born August 6, 1899 (dead August 22, 1989)
Functions Actor, Dancer
Nationality Norwegian
Gender Female

Lillebil Ibsen was connected to Det Nye Teater, later part of Oslo Nye Teater (Oslo New Theatre), from 1929 to 1946. During this time she very often collaborated with her mother Gyda Christensen. Lillebil Ibsen acted in central roles in her mother's productions of Henrik Ibsen plays such as The Wild Duck (Det Nye Teater 1942), Hedda Gabler (Det Nye Teater 1943), The Lady from the Sea (Det Nye Teater 1945) and When We Dead Awaken (Det Nye Teater 1947).

Among other mother/daughter collaborations at Det Nye Teater we find Bayard Veiller's The Trial of Mary Dugan, Agatha Christie's Love from a Stranger (1940), Moss/Kaufman's The Man Who Came to Dinner (1940) and Noel Coward's Private Lives (1945). Even after officially retiring Gyda Christensen took assignments as a visiting director. In 1949 she staged Somerset Maugham's Jane for Det Nye Teater, with Lillebil Ibsen in the title role, and in 1950, when Christensen was aged 77 years old, she staged Jean Anouilh's Cry of the Peacock for the same theatre. Ibsen interpreted the role of the countess.

Ellida in The Lady from the Sea Lillebil Ibsen had already interpreted as early as in 1925, at The Lyric Theatre in London, whereas she later interpreted the roles of Nora in A Doll's House (1956) and Helene Alving in Ghosts (1954). The latter was performed in Paris and Stockholm as well as in Oslo.

Lillebil Ibsen also made her mark as an elegant as well as vivid comedienne in plays such as Private Lives by Noel Coward, the plays Theatre and Jane by Somerset Maugham, Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and Madame Sans-Gêne by Sardou. At times she had performances in Sweden and Denmark, including in Colombe by Jean Anouilh at The Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 1952.

In the years from 1956 to 1969 Lillebil Ibsen was an employee of The National Theatre, where her roles included Claire Zachanassian in The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1957), Mrs. Warren in Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession (1957), Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (1964), and Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1972).

With Per Aabel she had a giant success with Jerome Kilty's Dear Liar, at The National Theatre in 1961. They shared Norwegian Critics' Award 1961 for this production, which was revived several times and played on tour in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, plus adapted for radio and TV. With a revival of this production Lillebil Ibsen celebrated her 70thanniversary as a performing artist in 1981.

Towards the end of her career Lillebil Ibsen starred at Oslo Nye Teater (Oslo New Theatre) several times, in productions including Forty Carats, Harold and Maude and A Little Night Music.

In 1961 she published the autobiography Det begynte med dansen (literally: It began with the dance).


The performance archive of Oslo Nye Teater (Oslo New Theatre)

Norsk Biografisk Leksikon on Lillebil Ibsen,

The National Theatre on Lillebil Ibsen,

Norsk Biografisk Leksikon on Gyda Christensen,