Sámi Teáhter Searvi (STS) and Scandinavia House join together for a two-day festival to celebrate Sámi culture and
address topical political and social issues expressed through theater and dance, storytelling, traditional joik, poetry, and films from leading Sámi artists.
Visual Performance: Small Wings are also Wings
Directed by Indra Lorentzen and performed by Ánne Mággá Wigelius, Small Wings are also Wings is about a surreal world where one embarks on a journey of moods – moods in dreams for the future, the realization of the truths of the past, and dreams of slumber.
Storytelling: A Story about Gufihttarat
Gufihttarat are a mythical people unseen by humans and live in the Saivo world – an inverse world beneath our feet. Only a few people have had the opportunity to meet them and one of them is performer Ingá Márjá Sarre’s great-grandfather who fought one of the Gufihttarat and eventually became friends.
Storytelling and Poetry: When the Snow is Melting
Artist Sarakka Gaup recalls a dark evening when her grandmother felt old, restless, and fearful that the stories of her life would die with her. Through voice recordings, mixed with live stage performance and poetry, Gaup captures her grandmother recounting the stories of her youth, war, the reindeer herding life, and old Sámi myths.
Dance: Asking for Permission
Choreographer Elle Sofe Henriksen interviewed elderly Sámi people about movements and dance. The elders gave her vivid descriptions of movements that took place in living rooms and homes, by the fire, in weddings, and in spiritual settings.
Asking for permission is a Sámi tradition; humans should always ask for permission from the underworld and from spirits before settling to a new place. One can ask for permission when going to sleep someplace new, building a house, or perhaps performing in a new space.
Performed by Marte Fjellheim Sarre, this dance is our version of asking for permission from the three worlds – heaven, earth, and the underworld – and turning to the four corners of the universe. This dance is part of longer performance called Jorggahallan.
Poems, Yoik, and Photographs: Cradle of My Heart
The performance Cradle of My Heart is based on Sara Margrethe Oskal’s Sámi poems, read in both Sámi and English. Describing human fragility, these poems illustrate the difficulties one faces to fully be oneself, touching upon the human tendencies towards irrational, subtle, and incomprehensible inner worlds. The accompanying photographs by Matyas Le Brun provide an outside perspective from the Sámi culture and way of thinking.
Short Film: Sámi Bojá
Directed by Elle Sofe Henriksen (Norway, 2015). Sámi Bojá is about Mikkel, a reindeer herder who has the entire responsibility for his family’s herd. He has a tough shell like a Sámi bojá should have, but internally, there is chaos.
9 min. | In Sámi with English subtitles.
Short Film: Aurora Keeps an Eye on You/Guovssahas oaidná du
Directed by Sara Margrethe Oskal (Norway, 2014). Aurora Keeps an Eye on You is a brutal and beautiful children’s drama, mixed with Arctic magic. The film takes audiences into the world of the tangled and hurt mind of a big sister while also showing what consequences parental ignorance in a hectic everyday life can have for little brothers.
11 min. | In Sámi with English subtitles.
Poetry: Hey Hey Mister President
Hey Hey Mister President is a poem cut from a collection and a longer poem written by the late Sámi poet Nils Aslak Valkeapää from his lyric work The Trekways of the Wind/Ruoktu Váimmus (translated by Lars Nordström, Ralph Salisbury, and Harald Gaski). These written words – performed by Anitta Suikkari – are a protest camouflaged in a welcome speech that reminds listeners of the exploitation of land – and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Sámi Teámi Searvi (STS) is an association dedicated to uniting and supporting Sámis working within theater and performing arts and provides several funds and scholarships. STS is also member of the Sámi Artists Council, working alongside the Sámi Parliament in Norway to agree on the financial framework for associations, funds, scholarships, and other incentives that are in the best interest of Sámi artists.
STS Members – including actors, dancers, choreographers, playwrights, scenographers, costume designers, theater musicians, technicians, and directors, among others – become part of a network in the field of performing arts among the Sámi people and other indigenous peoples and are invited to take part in decision-making and influencing cultural politics and financial conditions for Sámis working within theater and performing arts.
About Sámi Teáhter Searvi and the presenting artists
Sarakka Gaup is from the Sámi village Guovdageaidnui (also known as Kautokeino) in Norway. She works with theater and Sámi culture as a stage performer. Gaup is the recipient of several art scholarships from the Norwegian Culture Council and the Sámi Parliament. She has also worked as an actress for the Sámi National Theatre – Beaivváš. Gaup is currently studying Sámi language and literature.
Elle Sofe Henriksen is from Guovdageaidnui, Norway. Henriksen works with dance, choreography and films. She engages her work to impart Sámi expression to a wider audience through dance and film. Henriksen holds a Master’s degree in Choreography from The Norwegian National Academy of the Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from The Laban School in London. Her films and performances have been shown in China, Greenland, Russia, Canada, Hungary, Finland, and Sweden.
Kenneth Hætta is a photographer and playwright. His first play is being produced this year at the Sámi Theater in Sweden. He has also been working as a musician, collaborating with other Sámi artists. Thematically, he often works with tradition in conjunction with modernity. He will be documenting the festival and its programs at Scandinavia House.
Ada Einmo Jürgensen is a choreographer and stage director and served as the former theater manager and co-founder of the South Sámi Theater for 20 years. She creates works of contemporary dance and performances, fusing traditional Sámi yoik, languages, and other traditional expressions into contemporary/avant-garde stage performances and outdoor theater. She is also the Holder of the Norwegian Art Councils Grant for Dance Artist until her retirement and is the Chairman of Sámi Teáhter Searvi. Jürgensen is also the host of the festival at Scandinavia House.
Matyas Le Brun is a Breizh (a minority people from western France) film-maker, photographer, author, and translator. He has worked in feature films in France and abroad, writes poetry and novels, and directs movies and projects from an indigenous point of view. Le Brun also translates essays, poetry, and books in English, French and Brezhoneg (the Breizh people’s Celtic-based, endangered language). He continues to contribute toward the development of his culture’s artistic and literary field.
Harriet Nordlund is from Jokkmokk, Sweden. She is an actress, playwright, and director and has worked in theater and music since she was 17-years-old. Nordlund is currently directing a family performance of Faust and acting in the performance The Daughter of the Sun about the Sámi creation story.
Sara Margrethe Oskal is an actress, performance artist, writer, and filmmaker. She received her Doctoral degree in Performing Arts from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Oskal has performed in multiple theater and film projects and is also an established writer having written scripts for television and theater and published several books of poetry. She has also directed theater performances and recently released her first short film.
Hilde Skancke Pedersen works as a visual artist, set and costume designer, and a writer and playwright. In all these genres, she has been influenced by the mental and physical marks that human beings leave behind and the signs of life that can be found in barren regions. The Sámi National Theater has performed two of her plays. Pedersen’s visual art can be viewed as the commissioned focal art-piece in the Sámi Parliament building in Karasjok, Norway.
Ingá Márjá Sarre is a television, film, and theater actress and a yoiker and storyteller from Guovdageaidnui, Norway. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Acting from Nord-Trøndelag University College and has also studied storytelling and yoik at the Sámi University College. Since 2000 Sarre has participated as an actress in several plays for Beaivváš – The Sámi National Theater.
Marte Fjellheim Sarre is from Karasjok, Norway and works as a freelance dancer based in Bergen. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Dance and Teaching from the University of Stavanger. Sarre attended Yoik Movement – a symposium organized by The Sámi Theater Association, worked as a dancer in Jorggáhallan by Elle Sofe Henriksen, and has the leading role as Njuorju Niilá in the play of the same name at Beaivváš – The Sámi National Theater.
Mary Sarre is a Sámi stage and film actress and a singer/yoiker.
Hailing from Sweden, Erik Steen has worked as a composer and musician since 1980. Having worked with some of the most renowned flamenco artists from around the world, in 1989 Steen started his own company – Erik Steen Flamenco Fusion. The group has recently toured Croatia, Mexico, Holland, and Colombia. Steen was invited as a soloist at Suma Flamenca – the largest flamenco festival, held in Madrid, Spain.
Anitta Suikkari was born in Finland as a descendant of an evacuated family from southern Karelia, a town now belonging to Russia. As an actress and sometimes director, she works in various theaters, groups, and projects throughout Norway and Sweden. Suikkari has been nominated for the Norwegian Amanda Film Award and the Norwegian Huda Theatre Award for her acting and has performed in several award-winning productions. For the past 18 years, Suikkari’s work has concentrated on Sámi issues and theater.
Ánne Mággá Wigelius is an actress that has previously worked at Beaivváš – The Sámi National Theater and is on a world tour with Philippe Genty’s successful production Forget Me Not. She also works on her own creations in partnership with theater director Indra Lorentzen.