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The DESK (Dette Skrev Kvinder/Women wrote this) project's aim was to rediscover, reread and create interest in plays written by women from around the 1870s onwards. This work was going to lead to complete theatre productions of these plays. 

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In the spring of 2010 the young actors Cecilie Lundsholt from Norway and Nina Åkerlund from Sweden were looking for novels that could be dramatized. They had an interest in female writers from the 19th century, and Cecilie was convinced that there were no female playwrights from this time period: "Then we must have heard of them!"

With their research they found seventeen Norwegian female playwrights, who together wrote more than seventy plays from about 1870-1910. And they had only just started looking - it would turn out that there were more.

Teigen was included in the project, and wondered what kind of stories would these plays reveal to us? After all, it was mostly women of the bourgeoisie, with their finances in order, who had the opportunity to spend their time on writing. Did they have anything to say?

At Dramatikkens Hus on 3 September 2010 excerpts from Undine (1904) by Alvilde Prydz, September (1903) by Hanna Butenschøn and Folk (1890) by Asta Graah was presented. After each drama reading, instructors and actors had the opportunity to discuss the text with literature professor Torill Steinfeldt, sociologist Tone Hellesund and the audience, and the event ended with an hour's debate about the relevance of the DeSK project in the present day.

At the beginning of 2011, the first reading circle for actors was organized at Forfattrenes Hus. Hulda Garborgs play Edderkoppen (The Spider) was read, and everyone was captivated by the text and shoked that it had not received more productions than the premiere at the National Theater in 1908.

But how should the DeSK project be continued? After all, Swedish guests had brought success stories from the Swedish theater field. What was clear was that these projects success was beacuse they were founded in theater institutions such as the Swedish Riksteatern, the regional theaters Östgötateatern as well as Dramaten, Stockholms Stadsteater and Gothenburg Stadsteater.

It turned out that it was not easy to create interest in Norwegian theatres. What were they really going to say? That the drama was very good? Better than Ibsen? They got straight into a problem related to quality concepts and quality discussions. What is good and what is bad? Why and how?

The great theatres are constantly developing, but not by playing other old, safe classical pieces plays. How to convince that there were alternatives to the tried and tested classics? What did they themselves think was important about these old plays? Why did they have to be played?


In addition to continuing reading circles for actors and digitizing the works, the next step for the DeSK project was to create a professional seminar for theater practitioners and academics, lead by Teigen.

The seminar's main aim was to discuss which discourses are used when talking about these women, this drama and the time period. The project wanted to find strategies for communicating knowledge and interest to theater practitioners and researchers. Furthermore, they wanted to initiate research that could combine a gender perspective with theatre-historical, literary-historical and dramaturgical knowledge.

In 2012, several plays were published as well as a collection of articles about the project, based on the seminar held at the University of Oslo.  A very well-attended launch of these books at the National Theatre, where a number of actors read extracts from four of the plays, showed that there was a great interest among the public in the forgotten playwrights and their texts. The initiators of the DeSK project want as many theater people as possible to create as many theater productions as possible based on these plays.

The DeSK dramatists wanted to show that these dramatists were independent people with all the diversity of feelings and thoughts that a human being has. Women are different, and the plays women write are different. The playwrights found in Norway are very different.

If you want to read more, Teigen's article "The Desk project, some tendencies in drama" is under Articles.


Artistic director, dramaturg, director and produser
Artistic director, actor, producer and initiative. 


The Norwegian Centre for New Playwriting - NCNP), The National theatre in Oslo, University of Oslo

Fritt Ord, Kulturkontakt Nord

2012: Vidarforlaget, Dette Skrev Kvinner

Garborg/Kieler/Munch/Prydz: Edderkoppen, Mænds af ære, Sorte svaner og Undine, Transit Forlag 2012 

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