Perleporten Teatergruppe

Organisation typeTheatre company
Main focusTheatre
Established1 Mar. 1975 (closed 1 Dec. 1984)

About Perleporten Teatergruppe

Perleporten Teatergruppe was a collectively led company founded by Birgit Christensen, Karl Hoff and Catrine Telle in Oslo March 1975.

From 1969 to 1972 the three were pupils at the upper secondary school Hartvig Nissen Skole in Oslo, graduating from the drama department, with Maja Lise Rønneberg Rygg as their teacher in drama, Norwegian and theatre history. After finishing upper secondary school they all got some more education and work experience within theatre in Norway and abroad, prior to reuniting in Oslo in March 1975. This was a dream they had carried since they finished Nissen in 1972.

Perleporten was known for its leftist, radical political theatre. The company produced eight theatre productions during the nine years of existence (1975-1983). The first production was Faren satt på første benk og moren satt på annen og Knoll og Tott på galleri og lo som bare faen* (The father sat in the first row, the mother in the second, and the Katzenjammer Kids sat on the balcony and laughed like f**k from 1975, the last was The last cry from 1983.

The company name would mean Pearly Gates Theatre Company in direct translation.

*Not yet translated into English. The title within parentheses is the Norwegian title's literal meaning.

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Involved

  • Anitta Suikkari - Artistic director (involved from 1981 to 1 Dec. 1984)
  • Birgit Christensen - Artistic director (involved from 1 Mar. 1975 to 1 Dec. 1984)
  • Catrine Telle - Artistic director (involved from 1 Mar. 1975 to 1 Jun. 1976)
  • Karl Hoff - Artistic director (involved from 1 Mar. 1975 to 1 Dec. 1984)
  • Anitta Suikkari - Administrative head (involved from 1981 to 1 Dec. 1984)

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More about Perleporten Teatergruppe

In the opinion piece Omfavnelsen av en død opposisjonell (literally: The embrace of a dead member of the Opposition), March 1977, Dagbladet [Oslo] Perleporten Teatergruppe writes, among other things, the following about its motivation to work with theatre:

"[...] it is impossible to us to accept established culture, while taking ourselves seriously.

When working with theatre there is a kind of revolutionary practice, through which we can condense society around us and our own lives, to change both.

[...]

It is impossible to choose if theatre is to confirm the established, or change the reality surrounding us, emptying us of vitality.

Perleporten Teatergruppe was started because of a vision of another and better society; out of an experience that we can all live another life. The only culture we can take seriously is the revolutionary culture working to put the wreck of society in its grave, without following the same path ourselves. This revolutionary activity embraces the outer and the inner reality of our lives. By acting out our lives onstage we can map the mechanisms of suppression shaping us. This is what we want to do with theatre. Everything else we consider conserving and removed from reality."

In the company history of Perleporten Teatergruppe, Perleporten Teatergruppe. Gruppas historie, Karl Hoff writes:

"The last cry became the last production of Perleporten. We performed the play in Bærum and Oslo. The performance turned out to be too grand and too expensive to tour with. After nine years of work Birgit and Karl - and Anitta, decided to shut down the company. We found it irresponsible, personally and artistically, to continue the work under the economic and practical conditions we were subjected to. The years with Perleporten had worn down the energy. With this last, great effort behind us the halt of activity was agreed upon.

Karl had inherited a costume stash by a movie and theatre tailor in Stockholm, Sossa Krafft. These costumes and what we otherwise had of costumes and "things" were collected at Trafo,  Tøyen, where we held a flea market to raise some money. The flea market helped, and it was a friendly, if wistful end to an expansive, demanding, yet rewarding epoch of our lives.

We want to thank everyone who, each in their way, contributed to the productions of Perleporten Teatergruppe, the creation, the conveying, and the performing. All we collaborated with gave from their personal resources, their creativity and knowledge, without conditions and with great enthusiasm. Together we created a little theatre, one of a kind, one that the world has never seen. We created a space and a temporary home for thoughts and words, and a counterpoint, at times controversial, to the authoritarian trends in the leftist culture of Norway during the 1970es and 80es. Also for this reason there could hardly have been any better way to end than by giving Cassandra the last word - the last cry, from Perleporten.

Perleporten wants to thank [...] all who contributed to and participated in our productions."

Source:

The private archive of Perleporten Teatergruppe. Donated by Karl Hoff, 10.05.2009