Svenge Berkland was for several years a prominent figure in Bergen’s cultural life. in December 2021, left as President of BIT Teatergarasjen due to a serious illness.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina learned that he slept peacefully on Monday morning. He is 62 years old.
Birkeland leaves behind a wife and adult son.
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About their former leader, they wrote: “Sven Aje was an extraordinary man, who lived fearlessly and joyfully, enjoying every moment of his life, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues from near and far.”
Kulturbyråden: – Incredibly sad
Bergen City Council of Culture, Catherine Nodvedt (MDG), announced its condolences.
– It was very sad to hear of Sven Aji’s passing. He meant a lot to the cultural city of Bergen, and was an important partner of Bergen Municipality. Ideas now go to those who were closest to Sven Åge and his family, friends and colleagues at BIT, Nødtvedt tells BA.
Tone Tjemsland, director of Carte Blanche, was a close friend and colleague of Birkeland. A friendship of 40 years, which began when they both studied theater studies in 1982.
The following year came the idea of the Bergen International Theater Festival, which they started with Preben Fay Schöll. This later became what we know today as BIT Teatergarasjen.
– Sven ge was a good friend of his friends. A very loyal friend, says Tjemsland to the BA, he continues:
He was someone who spoke to everyone. He communicated with everyone, no matter where in the world he was and whether he was a cleaning assistant or a manager. He saw people and was incredibly good at making relationships.
Theater director for 38 years
Birkeland was born in Kristiansand, but moved to Bergen in the early 1980s.
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For 38 years he was theatrical director of the Bergen International Theater Festival (BIT), and in 2020 he received an honorary award from the Hedda Committee with Knut Ove Arntzen.
In November 2021, Birkeland was made a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Culture.
“For over 30 years, Birkeland has contributed to the promotion of French art and artists in Norway through his work for BIT Teatergarasjen, but also as curator of many other festivals, theatres, museums and galleries,” The embassy wrote on its Facebook page.
It was also a very central driving force for the city to have a performing arts arena, a project that eventually landed on Sentralbadet.
- BIT Teatergarasjen was founded by Sven Åge Birkeland, Tone Tjemsland and Preben Faye-Schøll in 1983.
- In the spring of 1990, BIT went from being an annual festival to being a year-round theatre.
- Sven Åge Birkeland has been theater director from the start, and Tang Fu Kuen will hold the presidency until the summer.
- BIT Teatergarasjen arranges the performing arts biennial OKTOBERDANS and METEOR, and is behind PrøveRommet.
We will remember him and celebrate him
“He has dedicated his life to the performing arts, and to helping achieve great things at BIT Teatergarasjen, to be enterprising, persistent, breaking endless new horizons, making bold choices, with strong vision, constant curiosity and loyal support for many artists and artistic visionaries. “
BIT invites all friends and colleagues who wish to remember and celebrate Birkeland to celebrate during the Oktoberdans, an international dance festival organized by the theater house every two years.
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”