Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Minnenes Museum Day 1

Iva, Guri, Kai Kenneth and Marie in first days of rehearsals.

The lunchroom in Dikemark. The space we are working in is the community center inside the grounds of what was former Norway biggest mental hospital. Nowadays its only the most dangerous patients left, and of course us…..

Elke and Kieran decided to go to get a table tennis table and stopped by in our house. My two kids did not want them to leave. More on table tennis in the next post.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Museum of Memories

While we wait for the welders we decided with Elke and Katja to make a room in cardboard. This is half a day of work showed in 9 minutes. Next week there will be actors as well!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Hansel & Gretel: set design

Alex met with Steffi today (our set designer and one of the performers in Hansel & Gretel performing this Christmas at The Junction) to talk in detail about ideas for the set design. We will transform the theatre into a forest so we are currently talking to local tree surgeons about using bits of cut-off branches in our set. Steffi has also been working on some beautiful puppets which we use in the show:

Here they are in our office at The Junction, Cambridge with a head still to be added to little Hansel!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Back in the south.

After an amazing time in the north we made it back to Oslo. We used today to do some planning for the next stage of development on North North North and on some NIE future projects.

We also managed an hour of fishing.

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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Made it back

We made it back to Oslo without seeing a polar bear. The NIE van will now nurse us home.

We are headed south south south.

Alex and Kjell.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Last day in the town at the end of the world

North North North

It really feels like this town is at the end of the world - it is the last stop on the plane route - you can only go back from here or head out on foot for the north pole.
This is the hut on top of the hill behind Longyearbyen

And this is part of the glacier with a huge crevasse

This kern is at the top of the hill behind Ny Byen where we stayed.

We want back to museum this morning and I got a book about the various (and mostly disastrous) balloon missions the north pole.

Our plane has landed now so off we go back to Oslo.

The Abandoned Pyramiden Mining Town

On Thursday we went to the abandoned mining town called Pyramiden. It used to be a thriving Russian colony with hundreds of miners and a fully working community with a school and a clinic and all that stuff.

The Russians left in January of 1998, they left almost everything behind including lots of personal stuff - I think there was a tight limit on the amount of stuff that they could take with them, they had only a weeks notice of the decision to move them out. They left all of the mining gear and the buildings have been empty since then. Our guide Victor told us that many buildings were now locked up because too many people had taken souvenirs away with them.
We got there in a small Arctic Circle boat that Victor drove, that meant back into full exposure suits and a very cold and windy hour out on the Fjord.
The mine is a beautiful location with a view of a huge glacier just across the water but the mine itself must have been big, ugly, noisy complex when it was working, now it looks a bit forlorn.
You can see here it was quite a big complex - with its own farm for pigs and chickens and cows, a school and a swimming pool, there are still a few people staying there to look after visitors and they run a small bar....
The walk into town from the old dock took about 5 minutes.

Victor told us that this was a dangerous place because bears could sometimes be in between the buildings or around the mine and you could not see them coming in the same way that you can in open country. He carried his gun all the time. We did not see a bear, just lots of seagulls who seemed to have taken over some of the buildings.
The mine was once the pride of the Soviet system and a very popular place to work because the pay was good and the people were well looked after.

In the main square there was a children's area next to the school and an area of grass that had been shipped in from Siberia and planted here - this grass does not normally grow here (at least thats what Victor told us)
The square had a number of monuments with a kind of arctic, communist feel.

And was overlooked at the top by this bust of Lenin - looking out to the east over his Polar domain.
The sports hall was huge and impressive given the size of the community and also housed a big cultural / performance space as well.
There was also an impressive swimming pool.
Some of the buildings still had lost of stuff left inside, these are pictures of the some of the mine staff, there we also shift books and all sorts of papers in this machine room.
My favourite were the safety posters in the access walkway, some had been stolen but there were still lots left - maybe some one out there can translate this one for me?

We made it back to Longyearbyen by about 4pm. The way back was much harder in the small boat as the weather was getting worse and the wind made the weaves much bigger. Winter is coming very soon to Svalbard. Victor told us to come back in March or April to see the frozen sea and the snow.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Barentzberg - the Russian Colony

Today we went to Barentzberg - the Russian mining town about one and a half hours by boat from Longyearbyen.

It is a working mine town and everyone who works there is employed by the mine company -even the girls working in the hotel bar. The people working here get all the meals and other needsprovided by the company, so it is a small society without any cash because there is nothing to buy.
It has a proper old soviet feel - like going back to the 1980's in the middle of Russia. The people that we met were really nice to us although most of them seemed to be down the mine. We did not get time to see the most northerly pig farm in the world but we did see lots of other stuff.
This is the school - which is painted to look like Noah's ark

This is a painting of a forest to remind the workers what a forest looks like.

This is a sculpture about the future, in front of one of the mine administration buildings.

Kjell and Alex

At the top of the mountain

The view from the top was really worth the climb - we could see for miles and miles.

We stopped my this small hut at the top which had been used as a monitoring station - as everything older than 1949 is classed a cultural heritage and protected we were told not to take anything. The hut was locked but I suspected that there was a Starbucks inside that Inge didn't want to tell us about.
We also saw some Arctic Grouse at the top - they were not scared of us even though Maud the dog was very interested in them...

On the way down we saw some goose hunters going up the plateaux for an evening of hunting.
They took this picture of us near the bottom the first climb.