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Carl Fredrik Engelstad

Carl Fredrik Engelstad and backstage drama

In 1960 Carl Engelstad, theatre critic and European history scholar, was hired as Artistic Director.

His vision was to give the dramatic arts back some of their lost imaginative power and vitality. This was no easy task, as the theatre’s finances were so strained. He hired some new actors, but when the supporting stage Centralteatret was shut down, they too had to leave.

It is said that this time saw more drama backstage than on stage. The financial situation took its toll on everyone. A committee was founded in December 1960, with Jens Christian Hauge as chairman. The committee made a recommendation all theatres agreed on: on the condition of debt cancellation and a solid increase in public funding, theatre management would come under greater public control. The organisation would change so that the state, local authorities, and shareholders would each control 1/3 of the share capital and two board members each. This new organisational model would be in effect from 1962. Due to the financial situation, Engelstad stood down already in 1961.