Fun theatre happening marks Museum Nord’s 20th anniversary

29 February 2024

This year, Museum Nord celebrates its 20th anniversary, where each museum has its own anniversary event. On Sunday 4 February, the first event took place at Øksnes Museum where visitors showed up for a celebration out of the ordinary, which also marked the start of the cultural year 2024.

Mange gjester er samlet rundt en stasjon der det serveres kaffe og boller. Mange har på festhatter. En karakter i maske serverer kaffe.
Publikum blir servert boller, kaffe og bløtkake som feirer både Museum Nord 20 år og Andrea 29 år. Foto: Halvard Toften.

The performing artists Gina Lindås Theodorsen and Sebastian Warholm from Sannan Teater directed a crazy, humorous and playful theater happening for all ages about the giant Stor-Johan Arnt and his smaller wife Andrea.

Innendørs på Øksnes Museum i et stort rom, publikum står langs veggene og ser på to karakterer. Den ene sitter i en svær hånd midt på scenen, ikledt rosa fiskerklær, og har langt blondt hår. Hun synger. En annen svært høy karakter ikledt oransje fiskerklær spiller på en veldig lang lur.
Stor-Johan spiller lur for Andrea. Foto: Halvard Toften.

Stor-Johan is an already well-known and mythified figure in Alsvåg, who was said to be 214 cm tall and very strong. Here he was played by Warholm, who grew a few heads taller with the help of stilts and extra-long pants. This appeared as a fictionalization of a character that people from the village are familiar with, and was an artistic and fun experience. There was clearly a good atmosphere among the audience!

The day is February 16, 1904, and we’re celebrating Andrea’s birthday. Present are her great-grandfather (who, among other things, provides the large box of party effects), a figure who serves buns and instructs everyone in round dance, another who leads the way with singing and tributes to the birthday girl, and last but not least, the museum director who keeps a close eye on everything and makes sure that the content is modest.

These were played by talented artists with education in theatre, music, dance and singing: Gina Lindås Theodorsen and Sebastian Warholm himself, Ivar Beddari, Mathilde Caeyers, Stéphanie Turcotte, and Eirik Vildgren.

En karakter sitter i en kjempehånd og er ikledt rosa fiskerklær og blond parykk. Hun strekker seg og soler seg i glansen hun får på bursdagen sin.
Andrea soler seg i oppmerksomheten man får som bursdagsbarn. Foto: Halvard Toften.

The program serves as a combined birthday celebration for both Andrea and Museum Nord, where the public is given party hats and served buns, cake, soft drinks, and stockfish. Andrea sits in a giant hand in the middle of the room, based on the fact that it was said that the real Andrea was small enough to sit in Johan’s hand. The children in the audience also get to have a seat in the hand.

There were many musical performances and songs for the birthday child, dancing with and without stockfish, and other festivities where the audience is invited to participate. The event ends dramatically when Stor-Johan feels unwell and goes to bed, but is pronounced dead soon after. Andrea and the others then choose to leave Norway for good and try their luck in America, and they “sail off” in the Nordland boat.

Mange mennesker står i ring og holder hender rundt en kjempestor hånd.
Publikum blir selvsagt med på dans. Foto: Halvard Toften.

The event was part of OPENING IN Ø, a project by Sannan teater, which seeks to develop Northern Norwegian performing arts, and investigate the potential of the High North as a geographical and artistic center. In 2024, Bodø has been named European Capital of Culture. This is the first time a city north of the Arctic Circle has been chosen as the cultural center. The project consisted of a parallel opening ceremony in Alsvåg on Saturday evening, and a family event on Sunday. The project was a collaboration between Sannan Theatre, Museum Nord and Øksnes Municipality, and was supported by Bodø2024, the Norwegian Directorate of Culture, and the Cultural Collaboration in Vesterålen. All photos are taken by Halvard Toften.

This was the first in a series of events on the occasion of Museum Nord’s 20th anniversary. See the rest of this year’s events and read about the anniversary here:

Museum Nord’s 20th anniversary

Museum Nord 20 årsemblem og kart

Visit Øksnes Museum

Øksnes Museum

Visit Øksnes Museum, take a tour through the beautiful farmhouse Alsvåggården and enjoy a coffee in historic surroundings.

More News

Registration session with William

The collection group has this week travelled to Svolvær for a registration session with William at Lofoten War Memorial Museum.

Rigid heddle weaving in Narvik

On Wednesday 17 April, the first course evening in rigid heddle weaving took place at Narvik Museum!

A new European feather in the cap for Museum Nord’s research repertoire

The project “Culturality” addresses cultural heritage in rural and peripheral areas to promote creative tourism and sustainability.