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Erik Kristen-Johanssen

State theatre under Erik Kristen-Johanssen

Erik Kristen-Johanssen took over the Director’s seat in 1961. He was a businessman and had been the National Theatre’s Financial Director since 1948.

Making friends and large cuts at the same time proved difficult. First to go was Lille Scene (The Small Stage). Kristen-Johanssen hired an artistic council at the theatre. Under his leadership, the National Theatre changed from a private theatre receiving public funding to a theatre owned by the state and local authorities.

The rehearsal space in the old amphitheatre was rebuild, and Amfiscenen opened in 1963. This stage could host different kinds of plays than Hovedscenen. Kristen-Johanssen managed to turn the theatre’s finances around, and the accounts from 1962 show a profit. The opening show at Amfiscenen on the 28th of August 1963 featured three one-act plays: A Report to an Academy by Franz Kafka, The Virtuous Burglar by Dario Fo, and The Kind People on the Bridge by Fernand Berset.