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In collaboration with the Philip Loubser Foundation, Toneelgroep Amsterdam has founded the International Ibsen Fellowship. This three-year exclusive Fellowship supports and enables international young directing talent to develop to the highest level.

The International Ibsen Fellowship (IIF) will be granted to a talented and promising young director every three years, in order to enable him/her to evolve optimally, study and be trained in the art of directing large-scale productions, acquire international knowledge and thus expand his/her directing career abroad.

Toneelgroep Amsterdam has selected Maren E. Bjørseth as the first person to receive this prestigious new Fellowship.

Ivo van Hove, director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam: ‘I am honoured that, in the Philip Loubser Foundation, Toneelgroep Amsterdam has found a generous partner for the structural and long-term support of the professional development of directorship. Maren Bjørseth was an evident choice. Her dedication and her thirst for knowledge and craftsmanship already stood out during her work as an assistant at After the rehearsal/Persona. Her thesis directing of A doll’s house allowed her to express her quirky talent and with A bride in the morning, she achieved a spotless performance that was embraced by both the press and the audience. I watch her grow and evolve with every performance and am therefore proud to grant her the very first Fellowship.’

The Philip Loubser Foundation (PLF) has a tradition of supporting young talent in dance and music, in collaboration with renowned international institutes such as the Royal Ballet School, the English National Opera and the Royal College of Music. With the IIF, this will be the first time for young talent in theatre to be supported.

Michael Loubser on behalf of the PLF: ’It’s a privilege to participate in such a project with the TA – now recognised as a leading worldwide repertory company. This Fellowship in the name of one of the greatest dramatists is a unique opportunity for a top theatre talent to grow and flourish under the mentorship of Ivo van Hove. A very exciting project.’

Maren E. Bjørseth: ‘It is a great honour to be allowed to become the first Fellow of the International Ibsen Fellowship. The fact that it’s called ‘Ibsen’ makes it even more special to me. As a Norwegian, there has always been a natural connection with Ibsen. I graduated on directing one of his plays, so one could say he literally helped me enter the profession. By being granted the Fellowship, I don’t just get the opportunity to develop as a director by creating performances under the guidance of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, but also the chance to delve into the world of theatre outside Norway and the Netherlands. I am curious about the theatre and the methods in other countries. I look forward to meeting colleagues and ‘fellows’ from abroad and the experiences that await me. I hope and believe that I will be inspired and challenged and that this will help me along in my own work as a director.’


Maren E. Bjørseth (1984, Norway) studied Directing at the Theaterschool Amsterdam and presented her own style with her thesis directing of A Doll’s House in 2012: a radical, playful and form-conscious reinterpretation of Ibsen’s classic. Immediately after, she directed the intriguing The Slope (Carl Frode Tiller), the rugged Ten Liefde (Ko van den Bosch), the cheerful yet macabre Faith Love Hope (Ödon von Horváth) and Ibsen’s The wild duck at Frascati Producties. She chooses plays about small people in an absurd and confusing world. She uses an absurd acting style and an abstract form that are just an inch away from realism. Bjørseth directs in her home country as well as in the Netherlands, because it provides her with the greatest possible freedom to ‘optimally explore the advantages of both theatrical cultures’. In Norway, she directed e.g. La Ronde (Arthur Schnitzler), An enemy of the people (Henrik Ibsen) and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which earned her a nomination for the Heddaprisen for best director. In October 2016, there will be the premiere of Agota Kristof’s The Notebook in Trondheim. Her directing of Hugo Claus’s A bride in the morning at TA-2 – Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s platform for the development of young directorial talent – was selected for the National Dutch Theatre Festival in 2015. ‘She delivers a spotless, slightly absurdist performance, in which the actors manage to let each and every one of Claus’s characters shine in all their hope and despair,’ according to the Nederlandse Toneeljury. For the next four years, Bjørseth will be one of the permanent directors at Toneelschuur Producties, creating four performances, two of which in collaboration with TA-2/Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The first in the series - Emilia Galotti – premiered in January 2017.


NRC - Maren E. Bjørseth wint Ivo van Hove als mentor - 1 sep 16
> to the website

Theaterkrant -Toneelgroep Amsterdam start stipendium voor internationaal regietalent - 1 sep 16
> to the website

Parool - Eerste Ibsen Fellowship voor Maren Bjørseth- 1 sep 16
> [download] .pdf

NRC Next - Regiebeurs voor Maren Bjørseth - 2 sep 16
> [download] .pdf

Dagblad van het Noorden - Beurs voor regisseur 'feestelijke tragedies' - 2 sep 16
> [download] .pdf


'Being a PLF Fellow, I not only have the chance to pursue my doctorate at the Royal Academy of Music being the first flutist in the history of the course, but I also am lucky enough to have become part of the PLF Family. On the past week-end, I could experience the preciousness of days spent together with other fellows; we were sharing essential moments of our lives as artists and beyond, creating a foundation for long-term and meaningful connections between each of us.' - Noemi Gyori, PLF sponsored PhD student, Royal Academy of Music

'It was really fascinating to exchange thoughts with fellow artists from various disciplines about subjects that concern us all, but in different ways. How a pianist deals with stage anxiety, how a ballet dancer prepares for the competition of a lifetime, how a flutist discovers fascinating new repertoire for her instrument, how a conductor behaves on a first rehearsal with a new orchestra and so on. I felt that we didn't just get to know each other more thoroughly, but also were able to benefit from each other's experience. It was exactly how I imagined!' - Gergely Madaras, former ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow

'It was a great weekend filled with love, happiness and fun! This celebration had a big influence on me! I am really happy that I met new friends and great people full of enthusiasm! It was very useful for me to discuss with everyone as I got many new ideas about the future and career! Really look forward to the next event when will meet all together!' - Nikola Aramovich, RCM Benjamin Britten Piano Fellow

'It's so rare that musicians, especially pianists and conductors whose time spent studying and practising is so solitary, get the chance to come together for such a genuine exchange of their loves, thoughts, motivations and ideas. Thanks to the warmth and generosity of Michael and Cathy,  we all felt like part of an extended family (or fellowship), one in which everyone has the chance not only to learn more about each other, but also to grow individually through being inspired by one another.' - Toby Purser, ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow

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