"Blue Planet" is an artistic project partly financed from EEA funds, and prepared by the Miniatura City Theatre in cooperation with the Association of Independent Theatres in Iceland. As part of the project, this cooperation will see the production of a play based on the award-winning book "The Story of the Blue Planet" by Andri Snær Magnason (with such awards as the Icelandic Literary Prize, the Janusz Korczak International Literary Prize and the West Nordic Children’s Book Prize), directed by Erling Jóhannesson, with the music of múm and the participation of the Miniatura Theatre's own artistic team. The premiere is planned for the 17th May 2014. The project will additionally include a few days' encounter with Icelandic culture, the programme of which will be prepared in close cooperation with the Icelandic partner. The performance will be given in Iceland on several occasions and will become a permanent feature in the Miniatura Theatre's repertoire.
The premiere will coincide with the launch of the Polish edition of "The Story of the Blue Planet", translated by Jacek Godek and published by EneDueRabe.
In a vivid, yet metaphorical and stimulating way, "The Story of the Blue Planet" by Andri Magnason tackles the issue of responsibility for the weaker and less privileged and talks about how the way we live influences others on an individual as well as a global scale.
"The Story of the Blue Planet presents children with a situation where the comfort of one community is assured at the cost of another. It raises the issue of how much we are prepared to sacrifice to fix this situation" – wrote a Toronto Sun reviewer about the Canadian premiere, while the jury of the Janusz Korczak International Literary Prize substantiated their verdict as follows: " We are awarding the prize to Andri Magnason, the author of The Story of the Blue Planet for an interesting literary parable which presents children with the choice between to be and to have".
At the beginning of 2013 Magnason's book received the honorary Green Earth Book Award by an American foundation The Nature Generation. "The Story of the Blue Planet" has been staged in Iceland, Switzerland, Canada (twice) and Finland (twice), enjoying great acclaim. In Toronto it was nominated for the 2005 Dora Awards in the category "Performance of the Year".
About the organisers of the project
'Miniatura' City Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Poland – in existence for over 60 years. Its repertoire, of high artistic merit, is aimed at the entire family and involves talented artists from Poland and abroad. Each year the theatre gives around 280 performances, watched by over 55,000 people. The plays produced include classical works as well as contemporary children's and young adult literature for audiences as young as 12 months. In addition, 'Miniatura' strives to undertake non-standard activities such as the production of a theatre detective series or activities aimed at entering the city's public space – open-air performances, for example. The theatre's repertoire is supplemented by events which accompany premieres or which are co-produced with other cultural institutions, publishers or non-governmental organisations. These include family workshops, open meetings, panels and debates, book fairs, festivals or theatre shows. Through its activities, aimed at both children and their parents, the theatre strives to participate in the process of education and upbringing as well as in the formation of intergenerational and intercultural relations.
Sjálfstæðu Leikhúsin is an Icelandic association of independent stage artists, an umbrella organisation, supported only by member groups and the city of Reykjavik. SL members consist of about 56 theatre groups, most active in the capital, Reykjavik, while others come from the rural part of Iceland. Some groups are active all the time, others not. Like everywhere else, some groups come and go, with the strong base currently consisting of around 25 groups. The independent theatre groups produce about 25-35 premiere productions annually, being the driving force behind the promotion of new Icelandic drama and without shying away from new experimental grounds in their approach to theatre and dance. For this reason, members of the SL, such as Vesturport and Shallala, have gained international recognition for their original style of theatre and dance.
Every year in Iceland and abroad, around 250,000 people take part in performances by members of the SL, which constitutes a significant part of the entire theatre audience in Iceland, given a total population of 300,000, and which proves that cultural life in Iceland cannot function properly without the participation of the groups affiliated to the SL. Over the last decade, the independent groups have become a growing force in Icelandic theatre and dance. For years, the association has been striving for recognition of their hard work and individual group successes from politicians and the authorities, which has resulted in slight progress in creating better working conditions, with the groups becoming more and more professional as a consequence.
The Association is currently operating in accordance with an official agenda published in 2012 and one of its main projects is managing the Theatre and Culture Centre for member groups in the Tjarnarbíó Theatre in the centre of Reykjavik.
Through EEA grants and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to the reduction of social and economic inequalities and the strengthening of bilateral relations with beneficiary countries in Europe. The three countries work in close cooperation with the EU on the basis of the Agreeement on the European Economic Area (the EEA Agreement).
In the period 2009–2014, EEA and Norway Grants totalled €1.79 billion, with Norway providing circa 97% of total funding. The grants are available to NGOs, research instututions, higher education institutions, both the public and private sectors of the 12 most recent EU member states as well as Greece, Portugal and Spain. As part of the scheme there is wide-scale co-operation with institutions in the donor countries, with schemes to be implemented by 2016.
The most significant areas of support include: environmental protection and climatic changes, research and scholarships, civil society, health protection and support for children, gender equality, justice and cultural heritage.
More information on: www.eeagrants.org
"Blue Planet" has benefited from the funding to the tune of 576,000 zloty, coming from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the grants. The project is aimed at cultural exchange between Polish and Icelandic artists, establishing longterm cooperation, strengthening the intercultural dialogue and creating a mutual artistic event: a programme promoting Icelandic culture and a theatre performance.