Will Convey Performing Arts in the North With Gigantic Lavvu

This is what Northern Norway's new mobile arena for performing arts looks like on the digital drawing board. The Davvi – Center for Performing Arts' ambition is for the lavvu to serve as the framework for showcasing various projects across the region, as well as partake as additional infrastructure at large cultural events. (Illustration: 3RW Arkitekter)

The Davvi – Center for Performing Arts in Northern Norway sets out to build the world's largest lavvo after receiving funding of NOK 6 million. It will serve as a nomadic cultural arena across the region. That way, dance, theater, and other performance arts can be experienced in small places that lack a stage of their own.

Norsk versjon.

The performing arts in the North will have a new large-scale arena in the time coming.

Davvi Stage/Davvi Lávdi, a planned giant lavvo for touring performances, has now been fully financed with grants of a total of NOK 6 million.

Its stage floor will be 174 square meters, making it the world's largest. It can accommodate 30-60 seated or 100 standing audience members.

This is reported by Davvi Center for Performing Arts, which is behind the project. The center is a hub for expertise in and visibility of performance arts in Northern Norway.

"This is a paradigm shift in how we work to create major performance art experiences in small places," states Director Susanne Næss Nielsen.

Today, the region is characterized by an extensive lack of suitable rehearsal and production premises for performance arts, particularly dance performances.

"We are now given the opportunity to produce where there is no existing infrastructure. This also makes it possible to respond to our regional responsibility to an even larger degree. Just as importantly, we can also offer this stage lavvu to cooperation partners without access to such premise but who wish to create attractive artistic experiences where they are," she says.

Director Susanne Næss Nielsen (third from the left), Chair Maria Utsi (fourth from the left), and artists at Davvi – Center for Performance Arts' headquarters in Hammerfest, Northern Norway, are excited about contributions from Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge, among others, to the Davvi Stage/Davvi Lávdi project. The center also has branches in the cities of Tromsø and Bodø. (Photo: Håkon Steinmo/Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge)


The new stage lavvu will be brought to life with the following contributions:

  • NOK 3,5 million from the regional bank Sparebank 1 Nord Norge, Samfunnsløftet
  • NOK 2 million from the Arts Council Norway
  • NOK 500 000 from the foundation Nordenfjelske Bykreditts Stiftelse

This project is a proper Kinder egg, states Gudrun Gulldahl in Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge. She refers to the lavvu's world scale and its potential to strengthen and make Northern performance arts visible. 

"The free performance art field is very significant in terms of creative diversity, and this project provides brand new opportunities for cultural experiences across Northern Norway," says Gulldahl, who until recently was the head of the group's community department and is now bank manager in Tromsø.

"Davvi Stage/Davvi Lávdi will provide local communities with an amazing arena that enables the art to be practiced across the region. We are really looking forward to the experiences that will be created on this stage," she underlines.

With Davvi Stage/Davvi Lávdi, performance artists such as choreographers and dancers will be able to revel in a unique framework also in rural parts of Northern Norway. (Illustration: 3RW Arkitekter)

Excited artists

Stage performers in the North also highlight that Davvi Stage/Davvi Lávdi opens up new variations within spatial art dissemination.

One of them is the internationally acknowledged Sámi choreographer and filmmaker Elle Sofe Sara, who is based in Kautokeino/Guovdageaidnu, the Norwegian side of Sápmi.

"For my artistry, a nomadic stage will entail me being able to show dance in places where there is no stage. It means being able to reach all kinds of people," says Sara and continues:

"Perhaps we could even show dance in this lavvu during reindeer migration. Every year, many families move from Inner Finnmark to the coast. It would be crazy to be offered a performance there."

Great enthusiasm is also expressed by the Tromsø-based choreographer Eva Svaneblom from Northern Sweden:

"Having a nomadic stage in Northern Norway feels incredibly beautiful. I grew up in a small town myself, and I know how important it was for me to be visited by performance art companies, as the local performance art community was limited. Imagine this lavvu stage reaching smaller places around the region!"

Choreographer and film creator Elle Sofe Sara sees exciting opportunities to showcase the art of dancing in Northern Norwegian geography, such as at home in Finnmark/Finnmárku. (Photo: Astri Edvardsen)

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