In 1990 Stein Winge, then director of the National Theatre, established the Ibsen Festival, which is held every other year in August/September. The National Theatre presents its latest Ibsen productions, and also invites the top international stagings of Ibsen’s plays created during the previous two years The Ibsen Festival alternates with the Contemporary Theatre Festival, which presents modern drama through own and guest productions. The festival was held for the first time in 2001. It was cancelled in 2003 due to a lack of funding, but was held again in 2005 in cooperation with Norway’s other national theatre, Det Norske Teatret.
The Bergen International Festival is Norway’s oldest festival. While it is primarily a music festival, performing arts such as dance and theatre have been prominently featured as well.
Grenland Friteater, an independent company in the small township of Porsgrunn, organizes the annual Porsgrunn International Theatre Festival which presents productions by both Norwegian and international independent companies.
In Northern Norway, the Stamsund International Theatre Festival was founded in 2001. This festival promotes cooperative exchange between Norwegian and international companies, arranges workshops and conferences and produces at least one theatrical performance with international participation annually.
In Kristiansand, on Norway’s southern coast, the regional dramatic centre Agder Theatre arranges an International Festival for Puppet Theatre every other year. The puppet festival alternates with the Assitej Festival, which is specially designed to present theatre for children and young people.
Teaterhuset Avant-Garden (Avant-Garde Theatre House), a venue for contemporary performing arts in Trondheim in central Norway, arranges the performance festival Bastard. BIT-Teatergarasjen (Bergen International Theatre Garage), Bergen’s venue for the performing arts, arranges the Meteor Festival for Norwegian and international avant-garde theatre groups.
Both Bergen and Oslo host festivals for contemporary dance. CODA, Contemporary Dance Festival is held in Oslo at the end of September, and one of the outstanding companies presented in 2002 was the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The Bergen festival is arranged by BIT-Teatergarasjen and is called October Dance.
Oslo’s ULTIMA Contemporary Music Festival is primarily dedicated to music, although it also presents contemporary dance.