Borealis is closely monitoring advice from national and local public health authorities in Norway regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and following their guidance.

A decision has been taken in consultation with Bergen Emergency Health Centre, Norwegian Public Health Institute and Bergen City Council to cancel involvement in the festival of artists from areas of continuous transmission of COVID-19. This includes areas in Northern Italy. The artists concerned agreed to this decision even though none of them have shown symptoms.

The festival will provide antibacterial gel dispensers at ticket desks at the entrance to all venues for audience use, and information posters about general handhygiene have been hung in all our venues, and distributed to all visiting artists and delegates.

We encourage all our audience to keep up to date with the advice of public health authorities.


Doing Not Saying is an artist led project that has brought different perspectives to our organisational structures. Together with artist, activist, musician and choir leader Jenny Moore we’ve looked at how we can make an amazing festival full of great art and music, but that also makes the world less racist and sexist. Read more about Doing Not Saying!

Doing Not Saying at Borealis 2020, is a series of talks, open workshops and physical engagements led by our artist in residence Jenny Moore and her anarchist, intersectional feminist punk choir, F*Choir, that use active methods of engagement to break patriarchal hierarchies and enact queer social structures in our every day life.

STOP TALKING ABOUT IT START DOING SOMETHING challenged artist and musician Jenny Moore as we started working together on this year long project – if we want an amazing festival full of great art and music, but that also makes the world less racist, less sexist, how are we going to actually do that?

We started with bee-dances and screaming in to buckets of water and travelled via difficult questions, gang signs, occupational therapy and boxing. Jenny prodded us gently through conversations and walking, crying and workshops to think about how the organisation that we run could be different. 

Doing Not Saying is an artist led project that has brought different perspectives to our organisational structures, and at the end of our year together there’ll be an underground feminist militia meeting regularly in Bergen, a punk choir sharing their activisms and expertise, and some practical resources for us to renew our commitment to equality and social change. 

“But how are you different now?” asked Jenny 
We made a list: 

  • No art happens in a vacuum, and we must question the implications of every decision we make
  • Learning that we benefit from racist structures and we must work to reduce the racist harm we cause in the world 
  • Seeing my/our individual privileges more clearly, and working to end them
  • Learning that our good intentions to have a more open and diverse festival can pigeonhole marginalised people in negative ways
  • Realising we must make our structures diverse – change the way we WORK not just how we TALK
  • Seeing how we are negatively socialised in to gender roles, and working against that
  • Doing Not Saying is about learning to listen more. To know when to be quiet, to just listen. Now we have to figure out how to act. 

    * Doing Not Saying at Borealis 2020, is a series of talks, open workshops and physical engagements led by our artist in residence Jenny Moore and her anarchist, intersectional feminist punk choir, F*Choir, that use active methods of engagement to break patriarchal hierarchies and enact queer social structures in our every day life.

    Doing Not Saying events at Borealis:

    Wednesday 4 & Friday 6 March: Doing Not Saying: Yoga

    Thursday 5 & Saturday 7 March: Doing Not Saying: Boxing

    Friday 6 March: Doing Not Saying: Take Both (workshop)

    Friday 6 March: Doing Not Saying: Listening Club with F*Choir

    Saturday 7 March: Doing Not Saying: Open Choir Rehearsal with F*Choir

    Sunday 8 March: Doing Not Saying: Swim & Film

    The 2020 Programme Book is now available. If you haven’t yet gotten a hold of a physical copy, you can read it online too. Click underneath:

    Week 6 Borealis will move office to Verkstedet for 1 week. We’ll welcome you with coffee, cakes and a chat about the festival programme! Are you interested in volunteering, or just need some insider info on which shows are gonna be sold out first, dont be shy, come say hi! We are also selling our great festival merch: bottles, t-shirts, gym bags and caps!

    *Borealis Open Office*
    Monday 3–7 February – 10.00– 16.00
    Come by for a coffee and a chat. We’ll inform you about this year’s programme + you can get your hands on our amazing merch. You can also just hang out, and work.

    *Events happening at Verkstedet this week*
    Tuesday 4 Febryary – 16.00
    Andy Lock : Between our Words I will trace your presence, a live radio experiment presented in collaboration with Bergen Kringkaster.

    Wednesday 5 February – 19.00
    Programslippfest Borealis 2020. We’re celebrating the fact that it’s only 1 month left untill the festival kicks off. Come grab a welcome drink and a programme book, there’ll be live music and a guidet tour of the 2020 programme by Artistic Director Peter Meanwell. Special discounted Festival Pass on sale ONLY this evening! Are you curious about Borealis? Then this is the perfect event for you.

    *Borealis 2020 Festival Office*
    During Borealis 2020 the 4–8 March, Verkstedet will house our ticket and festival office, as well as Doing Not Saying: a series of talks, open workshops and physical engagements led by our Artist in Residence Jenny Moore and her anarchist, intersectional feminist punk choir, F*Choir from London.

    All Borealis events at Verkstedet are in collaboration with Carte Blanche (NO) and KODE

    On March 7th and 8th Borealis is hosting the award winning opera performance Sun & Sea, and we need you to take part!

    The setting is a sunny afternoon on a beach, kids play, dogs bark and sunbathers lie around in their swimsuits as singers sing songs about the changing climate around us. As we build our beach (inside!) in Bergen, we need people to join the performance, and spend a day or two on this unique beach. Having won the Golden Lion at this summer’s Venice Biennale, critics around the world have praised Sun & Sea for its mix of ecological awareness and powerful impact – “This year’s showstopper, whose deep ecological engagement comes with irrepressible joy” said the New York Times.

    In order to build up the beach community for the Scandinavian premiere of this work, we are looking for a diverse range of people, and if you would like to join this unique project, then please fill out the form below so that the artists can make their casting decisions! The piece needs to represent all of us, so all bodies are welcome, and those with dogs or kids can bring the family too! No skills or experience needed, only your own swimwear. The performances takes place at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, UiB on the 7th and 8th of March, and run between 11.00 and 16.00. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your availability to take part in one or both of the performances.


    Sun & Sea © Andrej Vasilenko

    35 events – 15 venues – 5 days

    We’re happy to announce the full programme of the 2020 festival! Join us in March!

    Exhibition opening:
    Friday 31 January, 20:00, free entrance

    Exhibition tours:
    Every Sunday 14:00
    Every Sunday 13:00 – families
    Thursday 30 January 18:00, members only

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday–Sunday 11:00–17:00
    Thursday 11:00–20:00

    Free entrance to Bergen Kunsthall’s exhibitions with valid ticket to the festival

    Sunday 8 March, 13.00, Bergen Kunsthall:
    Conversation: Adelita Husni-Bey on Radical Education

    At Bergen Kunsthall Adelita Husni-Bey presents an installation and workshop titled Maktspill. A film, Agency, in the centre of the installation chronicles a 3-day intensive role-play with students from Manara High School in Rome, produced in 2015, in which the students enact some of the assumed roles in a democracy: politicians, journalists, workers, activists and bankers. Through a set of rules, the participants play out and modify the power relationships between the groups, creating coalitions and negotiating their impact and dependencies through the game. Agency asks the crucial and ambivalent question: how is ‘agency’ – the ability to enact change in society – intertwined with power? During the exhibition period, the screening room will be used as a workspace and classroom for a new iteration of the role-play, involving groups of young people in Bergen. Photographic backdrops are used here both as a screen for the film and as elements against which the workshop takes place and leave its trace during the exhibition run.

    The difference in context – Italy and Norway – and the time that passed since the first workshop play a significant role in the exhibition. In some ways the project in Rome predicted developments that are characteristic of contemporary neoliberalism. The participants in Agency anticipated the rise of populist movements and the effects of austerity measures in their reflections on how power is shared and taken, but more importantly: how it can be redistributed. The new iteration in Bergen will draw from its own specific context, through introductory sessions with local experts and the use of news headlines from Norwegian politics. How do these power dynamics play out differently in the context of a Nordic welfare state? What has changed in the past five years that have seen drastic developments in the use of media, also in politics? In the installation, visitors are invited to follow this process, and speculate on their own. What will shift in order to create new scenarios for coming generations? What is the result of the neoliberal restructuring of sociality?

    Adelita Husni-Bey (b. 1985, Milan, Italy) works and lives in Italy and New York. She represent-ed Italy at the Venice Biennale (2017) with a video rooted in anti-extractivist struggles.

    Presented in collaboration with Bergen Kunsthall.

    Photo: AGENCY, 2014, stills from HD video, 27″.
    Workshop framework and film editing: Adelita Husni Bey, with the participation of students from Manara Highschool, Rome.
    Courtesy Galleria Leveronica.

    Stine Janvin creates SOLD (a dog and pony show) for Borealis 2020 – a comprehensive performance concert with a bombastic and flashy stage show composed by a specially crafted rhythm light organ manoeuvred by Morten John, Sami fashion designer for Ramona Salo, computer graphics by Erik Ferguson, dance choreographed by Stephanie Mowinckel, self-confessed pop star dreams, cynical overtrap, group dynamics, longing, togetherness and love – and of course her “very strong and bright voice” , as she describes it.

    Tickets are on sale now!