Norwegian puppet theatre. This national touring company was founded in 1949 during the cultural restoration period that followed the German occupation. The Riksteatret created its own puppet ensemble in 1976, under the direction of Mona Wiig, who focused particularly on training for puppeteers.
The company produced significant shows, such as Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Margareta Niculescu. The celebrated children’s author Tor Åge Bringsværd wrote several plays for the troupe between 1978 and 1984.
By the end of the 1980s the Riksteatret, already suffering from internal conflicts and increased competition from the regional theatres, was also confronted with smaller audiences and diminished budgets. Subsequently, it invested in shows for children in order to regain the confidence of the public. In 1989, the company started a new training programme in the theatre with Irina Niculescu and John Lewandowski as principal teachers. Some of the newly trained puppeteers stayed on to reinforce the existing company, while others joined the recently opened Hordaland Teater near Bergen.
In 1995, Lisbeth Narud, puppet creator and scenographer, was hired and the Riksteatret company took a new direction. Den lille prinsen (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, directed by Anders Sundsteadt, was followed by Askeladden og de gode hjelperne (Askeladden The Ashlad and His Good Helpers, 1996), based on a Norwegian classic. Both productions were designed for large stages with visible puppet manipulation and changes of scenery and sets that transform before the eyes of audiences. These productions illustrate the renewed creative activity of the Riksteatret as it continues on into the 21st century.
- Helgesen, Anne Margrethe. “Animasjonen – Figurteatrets velsignelse og forbannelse. Norsk figurteaterhistorie” [Animation – Figure Theatre’s Blessing and Curse. Norwegian Puppetry History]. PhD Diss. Faculty of Art. University of Oslo 2003.
- Helgesen, Anne. “Riksteatret og figurteatret” [Touring Theatre and Figure Theatre]. Teater underveis. Riksteatret 50 år [Theatre Along the Way. Riksteatret 50 Years]. Ed. Bjørg Vindsetmo. Oslo, 1998.
- Helgesen, Vibeke, and Ragnhild Wang. Den magiske hånd [The Magic Hand]. Oslo: Pax Forlag, 2000.
- “Riksteatrets Dukketeater”. Ånd i Hanske [Spirit in the Glove]. No. 2, 1995.