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Frontpage News 2016 Bringing contemporary culture to a broader audience

CZ06-0041 Snipers Lake © Vojtech Brtncky (2)
Photo credit: Vojtech Brtncky

Bringing contemporary culture to a broader audience

  • “This has been a unique experience. The cooperation has been mutually rewarding. We’ve challenged each other’s artistic perceptions and learned from each other’s cultures.”


    Morten Walderhaug is Artistic Director of Baerum Kulturhus, a performing art centre close to Oslo. The Centre has been collaborating with a renowned dance company in the Czech Republic (Spitfire Compani) since 2014. The result is a highly acclaimed co-production of a new dance performance called ‘Sniper’s Lake’.

    The dance centres on the realities facing refugees, using the power of movement to express their escape, fears and hope. The cast includes three Czech and two Norwegian dancers. It premiered in Oslo in March 2015 and Prague in April. Further performances have been held in Oslo and Prague.  

    CZ06-0041 Snipers Lake © Vojtech Brtncky Photo credit: Vojtech Brtncky

    Refugee communities in both countries have been closely involved in the development of the show. They were invited to recount their stories and have also come to see the performances.

    Powerful performances

    “When we started collaborating, we had no idea that the refugee issue would become so topical. While it is sad that it has, we are happy that we have been able to use our creative expression to tell their stories on stage. It has been very powerful and very moving,” said Walderhaug.

    The success continues, with the collaboration opening other doors. Spitfire is now cooperating with other venues in Norway. New performances are planned to enable more people to be able to see the dance.

    ‘Sniper’s Lake’ is one of 58 projects financed under the culture programme in the Czech Republic. Arts Council Norway is the programme partner, advising on the design and management of the programme and helping to find partner organisations to get involved in projects. Almost 80% of all the projects funded have a partner from one of the donor countries. The aim of the programme is to make culture more accessible to wider audiences, with some notable achievements:


    • 78% (45 out of 58) projects have a donor partner
    • 144 creative workshops being organised
    • 69 cultural performances or exhibitions being held
    • 21 cultural heritage buildings being restored
    • 18 cinematographic works being restored or digitalised


    Czech country page

    Czech cultural heritage and contemporary arts programme

    Overview of EEA Grants culture programmes

  • Country:

    Czech Republic

    Project title:

    Sniper's Lake

    Project number:


    Priority sector:

    Protecting Cultural Heritage


    € 121825



    Project promoter:

    Bezhlaví (Headless)

    Type of Institution:


    Project duration:

    15 months

    Project cost:

    € 184,584

    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    This project aims to enhance cultural dialogue and strengthen European identity by highlighting the topic of people in extreme situations and the vulnerability of an individual. The project Sniper’s Lake is a Czech-Norwegian collaboration project, where major performing art organizations from the Czech Republic (Spitfire Compani) and Norway (Baerum Kulturhus, performing arts center & regional center for dance) co-produce a new performance. The cast will include 3 Czech and 2 Norwegian dancers, and the performance will be created during several periods in the Czech Republic and in Norway. The main topic of performance Sniper’s Lake is refugees. Thus, the dominating part of the choreography will be the running. Different modes of running will serve as carriers of the choreography. The dancers will not stop throughout the whole performance. Important chapter is the musical production, which will be created on the rhythmical background of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. However, only the symbolism of the swan, representing vulnerable and uprooted beings similar to refugees will be preserved, the original romantic conception will be completely deconstructed. On their way to the premiere and staging of the performance both in the Czech Republic (a premiere and 13 reprises) and Norway (a premiere and 4 reprises) , the partners went through the 3 workshops, 3 residencies, 2 open rehearsals for local dance community and several additional meetings and a meeting with refugees. The project supports the entire creation of the performance including the dramaturgy, choreography, scenography and the music. The newly created performance will resemble the effect of direct influencing of experience between partners´ organizations.