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Post-industrial areas – with the “exoticism” of their slight decay, with their empty and unused spaces, with their history and architecture, with people living and working there and their stories – offer a rich inspiration for artists. They can choose these environments for their creation of very different motivations, from purely aesthetic to confrontational or provocative.
Member of IN SITU since 2014
Østfold Internasjonale Teater (ØIT) is a regional theatre based in Fredrikstad led by Artistic Director Thomas Østgaard. ØIT produces, co-produces, and presents a broad spectrum of artists within a wide variety of contexts. Since 2020 ØIT is the only regional theatre in Norway that focuses primarily on site-specific theatre and art in public space. Artistic residencies are central to the theatre's work, whether co-producing new works or tailoring the works of visiting artists to local contexts. These frequently emphasizes research practices that involve cross-sector collaboration, as well as the active engagement of inhabitants in both creative development and implementation.
In addition to the implementation of artistic works, ØIT endeavours to contextualise its work with complimentary activities comprising workshops, seminars, lectures, and philosophical conversations. Some of these ancillary activities are directed toward a general public, while others are tailored to cultural schools, high schools, universities, businesses, and professional artists in the region.
In 2014 ØIT (previously Scenekunst Østfold) became the first and only Norwegian member of IN SITU European Platform for Artistic Creation in Public Space. Since joining IN SITU the theatre has had an increasing emphasis on innovative, trans-disciplinary art in the public realm, exploring creative strategies in former industrial sites, urban areas undergoing transformation, and the natural landscape. Much of this work questions development and renewal in a provincial region that has undergone a process of deindustrialisation during the past thirty years, inviting inhabitants––directly or obliquely––to engage themselves in these processes through creative methods. These activities have enabled Østfold International Theatre to encounter new audiences, establish itself as a relevant actor beyond the common parameters of arts and culture, and to cooperate with a diverse new range of local partners
Artistic Director: Thomas H. Østgaard
Project Leader/ IN SITU curator: James Moore