Growth of the Soil

The Growth of the Soil (2007) was a theatre production by The National Theatre of Norway. It was based on the novel by Knut Hamsun, in a theatrical adaptation by Sebastian Hartmann and Hege Randi Tørressen. The production was performed at Amfiscenen (The Amphi Stage), The National Theatre.

Sebastian Hartmann directed it.

Sven Nordin interpreted the role of Isak Sellanraa. He received both The Hedda Award 2007 in the best leading actor category and Norwegian Critics' Award for theatrethe same year for the role.

Growth of the Soil received The Hedda Award 2007 in the theatre project of the year category.


(Objekt ID 5918)
Object type Production
Premiere February 14, 2007
Produced by The National Theatre
Based on Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
Audience Adults
Language Norwegian
Keywords Theatre, Drama
Running period February 14, 2007  
Duration 180 minutes

Requirements to venue

Blackout Yes

Elin Høyland said the following, among other things, in her award speech to Sven Nordin on behalf of Norwegian Critics Association:

"And one may wonder, what many of us now agree was possible - how to mould the complexity of Isak, a near mythological character, and Growth of the Soil as a historical, political, dystopian and at the same time romantic masterpiece.

And then I will give you one of the names that convinced us this was possible. Sven Nordin. Born February 6 1957 in Oslo, and one of Norway's best known actors across the theatre and TV stages in modern times.


And obviously not just in me, for Sven Nordin creates, in collaboration with director Hartmann and an ensemble surpassing itself, a performance essentially shaking us into Isak's silent knowledge of a value of life, perhaps about to get lost."

The complete speech can be read at the webpage of Norwegian Critics' Association.

The Hedda Jury gave the following reason for the award to Sven Nordin:

"This year's very versatile winner accepts challenges in musicals and merry comedies as happily, and he has also taken part in movies and TV series. He gets the award for his participation in a production it is very hard to imagine developed without him at the centre. His wide emotional range and his highly personal temper made his interpretation of the role an excellent artistic achievement - and an unusual tour de force!

The best leading actor award goes to Sven Nordin for the interpretation of Isak Sellanrå in Sebastian Hartmann's and Hege Randi Tørressen's dramatisation of Knut Hamsun's Growth of the Soil at The National Theatre the spring of 2007."

The Hedda Jury gave the following reason for the award to Growth of the Soil:

"Naturally, the theatre project of the year is supposed to be a quality production. But it is also supposed to be an event in itself, and to be presented originally. The winner of the year meets all these demands in full. The production breaks with the familiar psychological realism, and takes use of the totality of the theatre's effects. In an eminent way it meets our innermost fears, while it through its artistic exuberance established direct contact with the audience and kicks up a storm.

The winner of the year is Growth of the Soil, The National Theatre, the spring of 2007, directed by Sebastian Hartmann."


The Hedda Award

The National Theatre,, 18.06.2014,

Norwegian Critics' Association,, 24.11.2010,

Performance dates
February 14, 2007Hovedscenen, Nationaltheatret, The National Theatre Opening night
Press coverage

Writer and date unknown, Morgenbladet:

"Instructor Sebastian Hartmann occupies The National Theatre with tenderness and Nazi flags. Pray that Growth of the Soil is the beginning of a new era. (…) I say it again: With Growth of the Soil The National Theatre has stepped over a threshold. One has become used to a sleep-inducing mood underneath the chandeliers, but hoopla! - all of a sudden the Norwegian zombies get to life underneath the lorgnette.”

Writer and date unknown, Aftenposten:

"Hamsun's desolate landscape drama has found a modern expression and a visually powerful wrapping at The National Theatre.(…) Growth of the Soil has become Hamsun with the subtext on the outside. Physical and unpolished."

Writer and date unknown, NRK P2:

"Grandioso, funny, wild and mad Growth of the Soil at the National Theatre."

Elisabeth Leinslie, Storslått spill (literally: Growth of the Soil), 16.02.2014, Dagsavisen [Oslo]:
"There is very much that can be said about Growth of the Soil, but this time I give my column space to the actors. Because they, more than anything else, carry the production. In the complex and expressive universe Hartmann has created of strong image and sound effects, the ensemble act with impressing versatility. [...] Styles switch between sincere illusions, narrative, outré over-acting, non-acting, stylised images, theatre choruses, song, abusing the audience, including the audience, comedy, playfulness and burning sincerity. [...] One can only bow for the forceful effort it must be, acting this performance."