The International Ibsen Award: Back to Back Theatre

Type of post: Association news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Helena Grehan
Status: Current
Date Posted: Thu, 14 Apr 2022


International Ibsen Prize 2022

Back to Back Theatre

ADSA warmly congratulates Back to Back Theatre, and recognises their extraordinary achievement in winning the 2022 International Ibsen Prize, awarded biennially by Norway's Nationaltheatret to an individual, institution or organisation that has brought new artistic dimensions to the world of drama or theatre. This award places Back to Back in exalted company: previous winners of the award include Taylor Mac, Christoph Marthaler, Forced Entertainment, Heiner Goebbels, Jon Fosse, Ariane Mnouchkine, and Peter Brook. This is not only a ringing endorsement of Back to Back's international reach, but also a victory for the visibility of Australian and neurodiverse artists on the global stage.

Many ADSA members have deep intellectual and professional links with Back to Back, and members of the company joined us in conversation at our 2018 Conference at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. In the Committee Statement that accompanied the award, the judges even cite long-time ADSA members Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall and their edited collection We're People Who Do Shows: Back to Back Theatre — Performance, Politics, Visbility. The Statement reads:

Back to Back have consistently and defiantly challenged social and cultural perceptions and constructs. They have unsettled the politics of normalisation by making uncompromising work that stimulates, contests, entertains and engages, challening the interdependence of myth and history and the grand narratives that ground Western culture, as well as those stories that have been repressed, forgotten, or erased. 

On behalf of the membership of ADSA, the Board toasts the success of this most remarkable company. If you haven't had the chance to experience their work yet, The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes is currently on tour, with upcoming dates in Melbourne, Canberra, Vienna, Brussels, and (fittingly) Oslo.