The Mountain Bird stages Henrik Ibsen´s incomplete 1859 opera libretto, under the direction of Lars Øyno and featuring an original score by Filip Sande. The production has toured extensively since its world-premiere by Grusomhetens Teater in 2009, performing as part of Nationaltheatret´s International Ibsen Festival and Den Norske Opera, as well as festivals and theatres in Sweden, France, Britain, Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, India, and Japan. It was last presented on March 2017 at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York.


The Theater of Cruelty’s performance, The Mountain Bird, is a world premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s unfinished opera libretto from 1859. Ibsen’s libretto is based on a medieval legend about a young woman on the farm Birkehaug in Justedalen. She was the only survivor in the valley after the Black Death, and several years later, when an expedition from the neighboring parish found her, she had become, in her solitude, ‘shy and wild as a bird’, and was then named “The Justedalen Grouse”.


Using a national romantic text as the foundation for this performance the company searches for a new theatrical expression and concept. By immersing ourselves in the silence of ages past, new meaning can emerge. We share something in common with the poet, Arthur Rimbaud’s ideas about the Alchemy of Words, where contemporary art is dethroned in favor of a mystical world lost to time. Can a new and dangerous poetry be created out of lost relics so that art can be an active means of reasserting and rediscovering life, as Artaud put it in his manifestos?



Henrik Ibsen


Lars Øyno


Filip Sande

The Mountain Bird

Hege Tunaal


Miguel Emilio Dobrodenka Steinsland
Odille Heftye Blehr
Jimmie Jonasson
Stig Zeiner-Gundersen
Silje Breivik
Hanne Dieserud
Nina Eileen Sponnich
Johanna Øyno


Lars Pedersen: dulcimer, glockenspiel, flutes, and drums
Laura Ellestad: Hardanger Fiddle Maja Gravermoen Toresen (2017)


Gjøril Bjercke Sæther


Marianne Thallaug Wedset
Jan SkomakerstuenI


Tormod Lindgren

Masks and wigs

Trude Sneve

Chorus instructor

Therese Kinzler Eriksen

Folk-dance instructor

Trine Sjølyst

Assistant set designers

Thor Eriksen
Kåre Brynjulvsrud
Gisle Harr
Astrid J. Johannessen
Clement Bourderie

Costume assistants

Idun Skogstad
Fariba Jazi
Birgitte Erikson

Stage manager

Janne Hoem


Thomas Sanne


Nils Ivar Martila
Brendan McCall (2015 - 2017) Claudia Lucacel (present)

Graphic Design and Web
Paul Brady
Hege Vadstein