Top prize for play that incorporates academic research

  • October 3, 2017
Top prize for play that incorporates academic research

Ragnhild Freng Dale was researcher and assistant director on a play which scooped one of Norway's top theatre awards.

I see theatre as not only playing a role in getting vital academic research across to a broader public, but also to develop new understandings for everyone involved.

Ragnhild Freng Dale

A Gates Cambridge Scholar whose research contributed to a theatre production has seen the play that she worked on and helped to direct scoop a top theatre prize in Norway.

Ragnhild Freng Dale was the researcher and assistant director on The Trial of the Century, a play which deals with the upcoming court case over the 23rd licensing round for petroleum in the Norwegian Barents Sea.

Norwegian environmental organisations Greenpeace and Nature and Youth have contested the licenses on the grounds that they are unconstitutional. The theatre production staged the trial in Kirkenes, Northern Norway, posing the dilemma to people in the region who will feel the effect of the decision, whatever the outcome in the courts.

The play has won the Norwegian Critics' Association prize for theatre with the jury praising it as 'one of the most important reference works in recent political Norwegian performing arts'.

For the production, which took place in February, Ragnhild worked with director Morten Traavik of traavik.info and Pikene på Broen as co-producers. Other academics and scientists were also involved in the play as witnesses, acting as themselves on stage alongside politicians, oil workers and other expert witnesses.

Ragnhild [2013] is doing a PhD in Polar Studies focusing on issues of conflict and consent around the rise of petroleum and mining industries in Northern Norway and Sápmi.

She has always been intrigued by the possibilities that lie at the intersection of arts and academia. She says: "To work with traavik.info was a chance to bring what I’ve learned through my PhD research into a project that both functioned as an arts piece in its own right and yielded new insights into my thesis work. It's been a very rewarding experience with a great team of collaborators."

Ragnhild has had smaller collaborations in the past in the UK and Germany and she recently contributed to the development of SOS Dobrie by author and playwright Siri Broch Johansen. Johansen toured in Sápmi with scripted readings before staging the piece as her MA production at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts this spring.

Ragnhild adds: "I see theatre as not only playing a role in getting vital academic research across to a broader public, but also to develop new understandings for everyone involved."

*Picture credit: Ole Gunnar Rasmussen

Ragnhild Dale

Ragnhild Dale

  • Alumni
  • Norway
  • 2013 PhD Polar Studies
  • Hughes Hall

Latest News

Provost wins top Royal Society award

Gates Cambridge Provost Professor Barry Everitt has been selected for the Royal Society’s premier award in the biological sciences. Professor Barry Everitt FMedSci FRS has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture 2021 for his research on the application of his findings on brain mechanisms of motivation to important societal issues, such as drug addiction. […]

Addressing energy injustice in the Global South

A new framework which uses artificial intelligence to analyse textual data on energy use and behaviour could help policymakers develop a deeper understanding of energy injustices in the Global South. The study, Grounded reality meets machine learning: A deep-narrative analysis framework for energy policy research, was led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018] and is published in the journal Energy Research […]

Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power. Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which […]

Developing a farm for impact model

Shadrack Frimpong has not yet started his PhD, but already his and his team’s work has earned him awards from the Queen, the Clinton Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Foundation. The awards are for their outstanding work in creating a potential new development model for rural crop-growing communities starting from Shadrack’s own village in Ghana. […]