Associates Alumni

Boundless Theatre (previously Company of Angels) have launched their new website. Joint artistic director of Imploding Fictions, Øystein Ulsberg Brager, is presented among the Associates Alumni. Check it out here!

“The Angels Associates Scheme has been pivotal to my career.”

Associate, Oystein Brager

– Oystein

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Gamle Oslo

Gamle Oslo

I’m sitting at Oslo Mekaniske Verksted’s as I write this. Oslo Mek is in Grønland, which is in the bydel Gamle Oslo. I’m part of a writing group that has semi-regular meetups there. We meet, we buy coffee/tea/beer. We talk about what our writing goals are for the day and then we sit in silence and write for 45 minutes. Then we take a break, sometimes we share, sometimes we ask for feedback. If we’re not too tired we go for another 45 minutes. I often see other groups at Oslo Mek: friends that are meeting up for coffee, there’s a group of knitters that I see regularly, there are other more official looking business meetings (but some kind of artsy business)… It’s a cool space and the drinks are good. They don’t serve food, but allow you to bring in your own. The couches are comfortable. There are plenty of outlets to plug in a laptop or phone. The walls are lined with old maps and botanical drawings.

In case you need to know how to cut up
a side of pork while you’re studying…

There are shelves and shelves of books and also board games. At one point it was possible to find my poetry book, but I haven’t seen it for a long time. I can only hope that someone stole it.

Grønland is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Oslo. Here was the first place that I found I shop where I can buy food that I can actually afford and that remind me of “home” (which is a wide-ranging concept). When I’m missing the Mexican food/Tex-Mex I grew up with in the states I can find affordable avocadoes and the right kind of chili peppers. When I think of my Caribbean grandparents and long for the British-Caribbean sustenance I learned to cook in my young adulthood, I can find all of the root vegetables I need for “Sat’day soup”. (Saturday soup is a concept that exists in British-Caribbean communities, but not in the Caribbean as far as I can tell.) I even found ackee! (Ackee and saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica.) Lately, I have found other shops that have the same type of imported produce. The other locations are less busy and crowded.

Foreign food to warm foreign hearts.

Also in Grønland there is plenty of culture. Cafeteatret/Nordic Black Teater reminded me of the theatre that I worked at in the UK. I felt at home there right from the start. I don’t get there as often as I like but I LOVE their regular poetry open mic events. I discovered Oslo Mekaniske Verksted for the first time, back when I was a volunteer at Fortellerfestivalen (The Storytelling Festival). They have some of their events at Dramatikkens hus and the bar is right next door (actually, they share a garden, but I understand they are not under the same management).

I have seen the words “Skatt Øst” in spray paint on walls in different parts of the city. I found this strange. Usually graffiti is reserved for the artist’s tag or cuss words, right?

Grafitti found at Løren, bydel Grünerløkka.

So the first time I had to go to the tax office to register it was odd that I had seen the words on their signage before, but in spray paint. Also at the tax office there is a window display of bureaucracy through the decades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Window displays at Skatt Øst.

I’ve been to Kampen a couple times also. Once was for the Christmas concert of my friend’s choir who rehearse weekly at Kampen Skole. The other occasion was for a book launch which was held at Lille Kampen which has arguably the smallest stage in the city. Lille Kampen has good food and a lovely ambience.

I have come to the realisation that I am obsessed with Tøyen. If you read my first blog post you will know that I addressed the debate in regards to which bydel Tøyen belongs to. The conclusion is that part of it is in Grünerløkka and the other part is Gamle Oslo. Tøyen is currently undergoing a lot of changes. The Tøyen torg has had a revamp of late. I ate a ridiculously fancy meal at a café by day, come swanky restaurant by night a couple weeks ago. In the same area there is a fairly new library which is specifically targeted to children and young people.

My second poem is also inspired by an experience I had in Tøyen, but the other bit, the Gamle Oslo bit. In it I talk with affection about people who sew. My great-grandfather was a tailor. I come from a long line of people who can sew well. There have been several home businesses related to dressmaking and two of my cousins are currently working in the fashion industry. I cannot sew. I own a sewing machine and I am starting to get better. Through my work with oslo soup I became acquainted with Made in Tøyen and attended one of their sewing classes.

Made in Tøyen.

Their new home is at Aktivitetshuset K1 which will have it’s opening week Monday 6 – Saturday 11, March.


Because we will be holding our next oslo soup event there I got to have a preview of the space, but I’ve already decided that the heart of Gamle Oslo is here. For me the heart of Gamle Oslo is specifically with the Made in Tøyen ladies.

Hva syr dere?

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Vær så god».
Vi ser alle farger.
Vi syr sammen en verden som er revet i mange stykker.

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Takk». «Takk for oss». «Takk for maten». «Takk for i dag». «Takk for nå». «Takk for alt».
Vi ser på kunst og vanlig hverdagsskjønnhet.
Vi syr duker, praktiske og vakre ting.

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier ingenting, noen ganger bare smiler vi og ler sammen.
Vi ser ting som ikke har form. Kjærlighet og familiefølelse.
Vi syr lappetepper, det er et gruppearbeid.

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Gratulerer med dagen».
Vi ser overgangsriter.
Vi syr kjoler til bryllupsdager og navneseremonier og bursdagsfester.

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Unnskyld».
Vi ser private øyeblikk.
Vi syr gardiner. (Vi hater å sy gardiner, de bruker så mye stoff, men vi syr dem. Vi har tusenvis av vinduer mellom oss.)

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Ja vi elsker».
Vi ser barnetoget på Syttende Mai.
Vi syr nye flagg til nye land. Land som er en blanding: Gamle og nye.

Hva sier dere?
Hva ser dere?
Hva syr dere?
Vi sier «Fremtiden er nå».
Vi ser sirkler.
Vi syr sammen fortid og nåtid med tradisjonelle og moderne metoder.

 

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Throughout 2017 poet and blogger Leeanne Stoddart will travel around Oslo searching for the heart of each borough. She will write blogs, take photos, and write poetry from each place she visits. You can trace the journey here, and follow @hverbydelharethjerte on Instagram. The blog posts will be in English, whilst the poetry is in Norwegian.

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Bydeler / The boroughs of Oslo

Today I was talking to someone I am close to. She has lived in Oslo for 59 years. (It will be exactly 59 years next month when (let’s call her H) H has her birthday.) I mentioned that some people I had talked to about the #hverbydelharethjerte project were having trouble differentiating between the neighbourhoods vs the bydeler of Oslo. For example, Grünerløkka is a bydel but it is also an area in Grünerløkka. The same is true of Bjerke, Frogner, Sagene, St. Hanshaugen, Stovner, and Ullern. Together we went through the bydeler we could remember from memory and got most of them correctly. I have a few maps and an Excel spreadsheet that I refer to often. It seems that spending so much time looking at them has almost solidified them in my memory. This conversation made me think that I should share these resources that I have as a part of this blog.

Resources:
List from
Wikipedia
Find your bydel: Oslo Kommune’s Bydelsvelger
Map from
Oslo Kommune’s website

The conversation continued and I found myself curious about the thoughts of someone who has lived in Oslo for her whole life. What is the heart of the city for her? We talked about her favourite places in Oslo. Which bydel she likes the most and what is the “heart” of the bydel? This project is from my perspective as an immigrant, but I would love to know what other residents think, both long-time residents and other expats.

So dear readers, send me a message. Tell me what you think answering the following questions. You can contact me via (leeanne.stoddart[at]hotmail.com), Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

  1. How long have you lived in Oslo?
  2. Which is your favourite bydel? (Check the link to Oslo Kommune’s maps or the Wikipedia list if you need to.)
  3. What is the “heart” of your favourite bydel?
  4. What are your top three favourite places in Oslo?
  5. What is the “heart” of Oslo for you? (Is it the same as number one on your favourite places list?)

Throughout 2017 poet and blogger Leeanne Stoddart will travel around Oslo searching for the heart of each borough. She will write blogs, take photos, and write poetry from each place she visits. You can trace the journey here, and follow @hverbydelharethjerte on Instagram. The blog posts will be in English, whilst the poetry is in Norwegian.

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Hver bydel har et hjerte: Grünerløkka

tre-i-torshovparkenA tree at St. Hanshaugen. (Have a closer look at what is hanging from the branches…)

 

Et tre på Tøyen

Da jeg var liten så mistet jeg ei stygg brun lue.
Det var et uhell men mora mi trodde at jeg mistet den med vilje.
I dag liker jeg brun. Den er en av mine favorittfarger.
Men på den tiden hadde alle jentene i klassen min luer som var rosa og lilla og glitrende.
Men det var et uhell at jeg mistet den stygge brune lua.
Kanskje grunnen var at det var kaldt på vei til skolen og på vei tilbake skinte sola og jeg ville at håret mitt skulle ta til seg litt lys.

Noen dager senere fant mora mi den stygge brune lua i midten av en stor dam.

Hun tok en pinne og fisket lua ut av det skitne vannet.
Mora mi tok den stygge brune lua hjem og vasket den.
Og den nyvaskede lille brune lua var på hodet mitt dagen etter.
Det er lenge siden, men jeg tenkte på det på grunn av en flott liten brun vott.
Den votten henger på et tre i Botanisk Hage.
Der er det et skilt som sier «Norsk vinterklærtre».

Om våren får det knopper.
Om sommeren er bladene grønne som vanlig.
Om høsten blir bladene oransje og gule og brune, også som vanlig.
Men om vinteren så blomstrer ensomme votter, fortapte skjerf og mistede luer.

 

Norsk vinterklærtreNorwegian winter clothes tree

 

Grünerløkka

This project is from my perspective as a foreigner living in Oslo. I bet you’re wondering what kind of foreigner. Well it’s a long answer, in fact I have a Tumbr blog which is wasting away wherein I try to the answer the question, “Where are you from?”. The short answer is that my culture is a mixture of influences from Jamaica (where my grandparents are originally from), England (where I was born and also moved back to as a young adult and began my working life), and America (where I grew up and was educated). I am also starting to notice small things about Norway that make me feel I belong here, but I wouldn’t go as far as to refer to myself as partially Norwegian… yet.

I’m taking a few risks by starting this project with Grünerløkka. First of all, by first impressions Grünerløkka might be the coolest bydel [borough] in Oslo. So, if this is the coolest blog post of them all, everything is downhill from here. The second risk is that the first poem I have written was inspired by something I saw at Botaniske Hage [the Botanical Gardens] which is in the neighbourhood of Tøyen. There is some debate as to whether Tøyen is in Grünerløkka or Bydel Gamle Oslo. The lines separating the two boroughs have been redrawn at different points and I think the best people to make a final call on this are the residents who live on the border. I am choosing not to involve myself in the debate. For those of you who feel strongly on the subject I can I assure you that I will revisit the topic when I write about Gamle Oslo. Based on the maps I have access to I have established that the part of Tøyen that the Botanical Gardens is in, is the area that is considered Grünerløkka. Finally, Grünerløkka is very large. This may also be the longest blog post of them all.

votter-pa%cc%8a-treOne of the first things that stands out about Grünerløkka is its name. What is that “ü” doing in there?! That’s not Norwegian! According to Wikipedia Grünerløkka is named for Friedrich Grüner. I couldn’t find any information about him, but other notables with the same surname are primarily German. The “løkka” part is the Norwegian word for “the paddock”, so “Grüner’s field”.

There is a lot to do in this bydel so I chose to pick some highlights. For nightlife and dining Blå [Blue] is a nightclub with good DJ’s and nice drinks. They also have live gigs sometimes, I haven’t been to one yet, but I am aware of it because I’ve stopped by before and it was too full to get in. Right next door is a bar called Ingensteds, I love the name of this place the direct translation is “No Place”. I imagine, some drunk person being asked where they have been and responding “Nowhere”. Nighthawk Diner is an American style diner which I personally love. Their pancakes are the real deal. Mathallen is a huge complex with many restaurants, bars, food boutiques. I work with oslo soup, which is a micro-funding foodie experience. Our most recent event was at Smelteverket in Mathallen. Smelteverket has the longest bar in Oslo and really very nice ambience.

teddybjorn-pa%cc%8a-billettmaskinAs for culture: there is Black Box teater, which seems to have a reputation for experimental theatre. Munchmuseet is also in the part of Tøyen that is included in this bydel. Edvard Munch is one of the more famous Norwegian artists. I remembered him from my university days in Art Appreciation 101, as the “scream guy”. I also work with the Oslo International Rumi Festival and we have moved to Victoria Jazzscene, but I am familiar with Riksscenen from having the festival there in previous years. Riksscenen is located in a vibrant area of Grünerløkka near a former beer factory.
I am not an outdoorsy person so when I speak of outdoor life I’ll probably be referring to parks and the like. In this bydel we have Torshovdalen which is known for it’s grassy knolls and a huge statue of a baby’s head and the aforementioned Botaniske Hage. The gardens are a part of the Naturhistorisk Museum [Natural History Musem] which is part of Universitet i Oslo [the University of Oslo].

Det finnes til og med en norsk bok om en vott på villveie. There is even a Norwegian book about a missing glove.

I’ve concluded that for me that the heart of Bydel Grünerløkka is in the midst of the Botanical Gardens. It is a serene, beautiful, poetry inspiring space which is set apart from a neighbourhood that could otherwise be described as bustling.

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Throughout 2017 poet and blogger Leeanne Stoddart will travel around Oslo searching for the heart of each borough. She will write blogs, take photos, and write poetry from each place she visits. You can trace the journey here, and follow @hverbydelharethjerte on Instagram. The blog posts will be in English, whilst the poetry is in Norwegian.

 

Leeanne framfører "Et tre på Tøyen" under Andre Historier på Det Andre TeatretLeeanne performed “Et tre på Tøyen” under Andre Historier
på Det Andre Teatret 19th January 2017.

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Arbeidstittel: “Arr”

Øystein Ulsberg Brager har fått med seg Agate Øksendal Kaupang, Kristofer Blindheim Grønskag, Marta Huglen Revheim og Benjamin Noble for å utvikle konseptet til en ny TV-serie. Dramaserien har fått tittelen Arr.

Mer om innholdet kommer snart.

Skriveprosjektet er en del av Oslo16, det nye filmsenteret som bygges i de gamle lokalene til Stenersenmuseet. En stor takk til Jan Vardøen og folka bak Oslo16!

Takk også til Arne Berggren og Kristine Berg fra Stimstory for inspirerende introduksjonsseminar.

For mer informasjon om serien kontakt oss gjerne via oysteinbrager (a) hotmail.com.

 

 

– Oystein

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New project: Hver bydel har et hjerte / The Hearts of the City

Throughout 2017 poet and blogger Leeanne Stoddart will travel around Oslo searching for the heart of each borough. She will write blogs, take photos and write poetry from each place she goes to. You can trace the journey on Imploding Fictions’ webpage, here on our blog, or follow @hverbydelharethjerte on Instagram. The blog posts will be in English, whilst the poetry is in Norwegian.

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Leeanne Stoddart er på leting etter Oslos mange hjerter. Hun vil gi en poesigave til sin nye hjemby som kan minne beboerne om Oslos vakreste sider.

I løpet av 2017 skal poet og blogger Leeanne Stoddart besøke alle bydelene i Oslo, samt områdene Sentrum og Marka, på leting etter hvert områdes sjel. Hver bydel skal foreviges med lyrikk, et reisebrev/blogg, og fotografier på Instagram. På slutten av året arrangerer vi diktkvelder rundt om i byen, og du kan høre Leeanne framføre det ferdige diktverket om Oslo.

Reisebrev, lyrikk og bilder postes på Imploding Fictions’ hjemmeside fortløpende, samt her på bloggen, så sjekk innom og følg Leeannes reise gjennom Oslo. Følg også @hverbydelharethjerte på Instagram.

photo credit Anthony McFarlaneLeeanne Stoddart. Foto: Anthony McFarlane

More to come soon. Watch this space!

Prosjektet er et samarbeid mellom poet og blogger Leeanne Stoddart og Imploding Fictions, og er støttet av Oslo Kommune.

 

Oslo Kommunes byvåpen logo

 

– Oystein

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Nyttårstanker: Frihet i det frie feltet

Radha is looking good with Hide & Seek TheatreFoto fra “Radha is looking good”
av Chandni Mistry (UK) and Tal Jakubowiczova (ISR),

gjestespill fra Hide & Seek Theatre
på Theatre Café Festival Oslo i 2014
Fotograf: Ida Oppen

Noen nyttårstanker om skillet mellom institusjon det såkalte frie feltet.

Jeg ønsker frihet i det frie feltet
Når Tore Vagn Lid setter opp noe på Black Box, og når Tore Vagn Lid setter opp noe på Nationaltheatret, så er det den samme estetikken, det samme kunstsynet, den samme mannen. Institusjonene spiser seg inn på det frie feltets enemarker og redefinerer seg i vårt bilde. I denne virkeligheten kan ikke Kulturrådet innsnevre det frie feltet med en konservativ definisjon av hva som er nyskapende.

Ettersom institusjonene naturlig nok ikke forholder seg til Kulturrådets snevre definisjon av deres ansvarsområde, og ikke kun posisjonerer seg som tekstfortolkere og forkjempere for det dramatiske, det klassiske eller det regi-drevne, men i stedet stjeler fra det frie feltet og konkurrerer mot oss med våre egne kunstnere, og framhever devising og det gruppeskapte, og omfavner det avant gardistiske, så må det frie feltet som motsvar få lov til å konkurrere med institusjonene på det som har vært deres enemerker. Vi må få lov til konkurrere innen tekstfortolkning og regiteater, vi må få lov til å sette opp tekster som allerede er skrevet før prøvene starter, vi må få lov til å undersøke de små og subtile nyansene. Det må ikke alltid kreves av oss at vi skal sprenge grenser, vi må få lov til å kile dem. Det må ikke kreves av oss at vi skal snu alt på hodet, vi må få lov til velge selv hvilken retning vi skal se i, framover, bakover, utover, innover. Vi må få lov til å vise at vi også har rett til å eie og definere hva en god tekst er for noe. Vi må få lov til å framelske det nydramatiske, det re-moderne. Vi må få lov til å utvikle skuespillerkunsten ikke bare performancekunsten. Vi må få lov til å fortelle historier, ikke bare fragmentere og plukke fra hverandre.

Som regissør i det frie feltet har jeg behov for å utvikle mitt kunstnerskap i dialog og debatt med institusjonene, ikke innenfor en pre-definert ramme som først forteller meg at jeg må være nyskapende, og deretter forteller meg hva det betyr for noe. Jeg vil sette opp stykker med roller og dialog. Og jeg mener ikke at alt i det frie feltet må ha roller og dialog. Men jeg mener at noe kan ha det. Fordi noe på institusjonene ikke har det. Og jeg mener at institusjonene ikke skal få ha enerett på enkelte estetiske former. De skal ikke ha monopol på dramatisk skrivekunst. Hvis insititusjonene har friheten til å kunne jobbe med tekstflater og kaleidoskopiske collager (f.eks. Styrtet engel), så må det frie feltet få lov til å faktisk være fritt. Vi i det frie feltet er ikke bare utolkbare hippiekunstnere. Vi sitter også på kompetanse innen den klassiske, den moderne og den situasjons- og fiksjons-baserte dramatikken.

Kulturrådets fokus på nyskapning må utvides til også å inneholde nytolkning og tolkning. Fokuset på det radikale og aggressive må utvides til å inneholde det subtile, det forsiktige, det opphøyende.

Det frie feltet må få lov til å omfavne den internasjonale dramatikken, ikke tvinges til å produsere ny tekst hvis en egnet tekst allerede finnes.

Internasjonal dramatikk
Endringen som er nødvendig går ikke bare på definisjonen av hva som er nyskapende. Det handler også om den internasjonale dramatikken.

Hvorfor skal institusjonene ha enerett på å få bestemme hvilke dramatikere det norske publikumet skal få oppleve? Hvorfor skal de få bestemme hva som hører til i den kontemporære kanonen? Hvilke historier som er relevante? Hvilke stemmer som fortjener oppmerksomhet? Hvem som har noe å si til det norske folk?

Også her trenger institusjonene konkurranse. Også her må det frie feltet få anledning til å gå institusjonene i møte og si: Nei. Det er ikke bare den semi-komersielle giganten Yasmina Reza som er verdt å sette opp. Publikum må også få se de andre, små, rare, spesielle, fantastiske dramatikerne som finnes der ute.

Det frie feltet har andre kontakter, andre nettverk og andre prioriteringer. Dette påvirker stykkevalg. Dette vil gi et mangfold som er gunstig, levende, utfordrende, mangfoldig – og nyskapende. Det frie feltet må få nyskape teksttilfanget.

Kulturrådets kriterier bør derfor endres til å inkludere “tekster og verk ikke satt opp i Norge før”. En norgespremiere bør per definisjon være like positivt for bredden i norsk teater som det en urpremiere på et devised verk er.

Uten denne bredden står norsk teater  og det frie feltet i fare for å bli insulær, provinsiell, seg selv nok. Norsk scenetekstproduksjon må eksistere i samspill med den samtidige verdensdramatikken. Og den må derfor ikke begrenses av institusjonenes prioriteringer, smak og publikumsjag, som påvirker deres stykkevalg.

– Øystein

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New play available for production

pip-and-oystein-predictions-press-photo-3As from 2016, Thorne and Brager are focusing their collaboration more on co-writing than co-directing. Here’s info on our first finished play:

A Magician’s Death

Roles: 2 W / 4 M
Length: 67 pages

The famous magician William Elsworth performs the infamous Bullet Catch Routine – and gets shot dead. The fiction of the theatre turns rapidly into bloody truth, but off stage the lies still flourish, as no one wants to admit to murder…

This play merges new writing with a taut crime story.

Interested in reading A Magician’s Death or inquiring about rights? Please get in touch via implodingfictions (a) gmail.com

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Short story collections

Joint artistic director of Imploding Fictions, Øystein Ulsberg Brager, has just published two short story collections, one in English and one in Norwegian (with enitrely different stories). You can purchase them from blurb.com in print or in eBook-format, or from the Apple iBooks store.

This year’s Christmas present, perhaps?

– Oystein

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ungTEKSTakershus – play writing competition

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OIT recommends: ungTEKSTakershus – PLAYWRITING COMPETITION
Application date: 30th September 2016
Send your application to: oubrager [at] akershusteater.no

Do you write plays, performance, hip hop theatre, musicals, slam poetry? Plays and performance texts exist in a myriad of genres!

Join the competition and win a five month, weekend based play writing course led by Øystein Ulsberg Brager from Imploding Fictions, alongside other guest teachers. The competition is run by Akershus Theatre and is open to everyone between 15 and 25 who live in or close to Akershus County, Norway.

To apply for the competition you have to send us:
– A synopsis (max 1 page)
– A short excerpt of text (1-4 pages)
– A little bit about yourself (½ page)

Criteria
– You must be between 15 and 25 when you apply.
– You must be available to attend the course if you win. It will take place approximately every second weekend between October 2016 and February 2017 at Akershus Teater in Lillestrøm, Norway.
– There are no genre conditions.
– You do not need previous experience.

BONUS! Everyone who applies for the competition are invited to a complimentary one day crash course in writing for the stage on the 22nd October at Lillestrøm Kultursenter, 11:00 – 16:00.

Any questions? Read more here:
http://www.akershusteater.no/event/manuskonkurranse/

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– Oystein

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