Three excited artists from Chicago’s own Akvavit Theatre Company crowded around a small table as they described their enthusiasm for translating Nordic theatre performance.

The company devotes all their energy into producing contemporary Nordic plays and showing their audiences a different view of the world. “They take so many more risks than you see in American playwrights. They put it all out there, and it’s so exciting,” says Breahan Pausch, who works with the internal relations of Akvavit.


While researching Nordic plays, Kirsten Franklin, actress at Akvavit, came upon a Norwegian playwright by the name of Jon Fosse. They contacted his manager and received 2 of his plays. The group read through the first one casually around a dinner table, and immediately was enamored with it. After they read the second, they quickly requested a third. They found that these three plays were interconnected, and decided to produce all of them.

“The craziest thing a theatre company can do its produce three shows, with three different casts and three directors at once,” says Pausch. Akvavit is producing A Summer’s Day, Autumn Dream and Winter, a set of plays by Jon Fosse.

After reading the plays, they realized that they needed a new translation. Through a series of events, Franklin came upon an old classmate that happened to be studying Norwegian playwrights and was able to translate for them.

Both Pausch and Franklin became interested in Akvavit in part because of their Scandinavian heritage. “Once I went to the website and saw that it was a Nordic theatre company, I thought that it was so cool. I have always been in touch with my Scandinavian side, and it was very exciting it come back to it,” said Franklin.

“I was looking forward to using Akvavit as an opportunity to learn more about my danish heritage as well as contemporary European theatre and theatre in translation. I think there is great work being done that doesn’t make it back to the states, because no one speaks Norwegian. It is really exciting to be a part of an organization that does that.”, said Pausch as she explained her connection with Akvavit.

Akvavit Theatre Company has 11 members and is growing quickly, says Pausch. There is a lot of buzz around what they are doing and they feel that Chicago has a place for a company like Akvavit.

“I think that theatre in translation is an underserved area and bringing new work over to the States,” said Franklin.

They see themselves as a channel for getting the Nordic theatre into America, and then dispersing it outwardly so that other people will take interest in producing these plays. Akvavit pulls plays from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.

The three plays by Jon Fosse will be open on February 28th at the DCASE Storefront Theatre in Chicago.

For more information about the Akvavit Theatre Company, please email