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The Prize of Hope for Aprilfestival - The Prize of Hope 2021

The Institute for Public Theater & Dell'Arte International invites you to The Prize of Hope [Håbets Pris] at Aasen Theater in North Jutland, Saturday 31st of July 2021. The party starts at 14.00 and lasts with a feast dinner, awards ceremony, theater, exhibition, music and bonfire until sunrise.

The Prize of Hope will be given to a person or a theatre who has worked for human hope; daring, loving, vulgar, serious, poetic...with sparkling energy against habitual thinking, which is the gravest threat to our culture: For a world where people use their own eyes, ears and voices.

The Prize of Hope is an international award. It has been given in Denmark since 1989 and in the US since 2008. The prize is given every second year at Aasen Theatre and every other year in the US at Dell’Arte Theatre in California. The vision of The Prize of Hope is to promote a living, vital, sharp and innovative popular art.

The Prize of Hope for the April Festival [Aprilfestival] - the world's largest theater festival for children and young people
Every year, the April Festival creates a theater event around Denmark for children and young people, which is decentralized and for everyone. It is also a utopia about a theater that embraces the whole country. It deserves light and support. April Festival is a unique gem.
There is an April Festival one afternoon in 2019 in the countryside in North Jutland. Teater TT shows in Tornby Hallen the performance, "The Shadow", about a man playing with his own shadow. What one notices before the performance are the many strange spectators. Among other things there are at least 10 adult Chinese people. They have come, we understand later, because they want to see the show with a view to a tour in China. This is not unique thing in recent years. April Festival is now the world's largest theater festival for children and young people, which attracts many international guests. It creates inspiration, dialogue and development across borders. At the same time, Danish theaters for children and young people are invited to festivals and tours in many countries around the world. Torkild Lindebjerg from Teater TT has performed in places like Washington D.C., Beijing and 150 performances in Japan. Aprilfestival is a large meeting place locally and at the same time a success for art at child height internationally.
In 1971, Kaj Ove Jensen is chairman of Herning Theater. He has started TEAM Teatret, the first local theater in Denmark. One day, K.O. is sitting together with the secretary, Wenzel De Neergaard, during a break of a meeting in the Cooperation Committee for Touring Theater Business in Copenhagen. The committee is primarily for the touring adult theater, but they have also been entrusted with the dissemination of the emerging children's theater. The idea of ​​a nationwide gathering for children's theaters pops up. The ideas sparkle and grow. Before the break is over, the two have made a battle plan for what will be the Children's Theater Festival. The actors coul sleep at Herning Folk High School. Plays would be performed at a school in the city. As K.O. says today: "It was a wonderful time where everything was possible."
The children's theater festival becomes a reality. Groups from all over the country participate. Morten Danckert, Artibus, comes from Ribe, rolling in with a theater in an old bus. It is the theater that is going out to the children - not the other way around. 15 theaters play 32 performances with free admission. People who take part in the festival describe the experience as something extraordinary!
It was a sign of the times and bound to happen. Benny E. Andersen and Kirsten Ewaldsen had founded the first touring children's theater, the Comedievognen, in 1967. Comedievognen and the theater group Banden, had held forerunners in Haderslev, Holstebro and in Copenhagen at Blågård Seminarium. Here attended, according to the author, Ester Nagel, who wrote pieces for Comedievognen, 2000 children and 1000 adult spectators. This is a breakthrough!
The Children's Theater becomes a movement that brings together creative people. For many years, the children's theater festival is deliberately put in cities that do not have a professional theater in advance. All theaters play for free.
Theater is something you are passionate about, something you show to each other, and to all the many new faces that come to watch. The network spreads with fine streams throughout the country, where librarians, teachers, educators, children and parents come and watch year after year. It is a relationship which means that performances are seen, bought and performed in the whole country.
This is also the case in April 2019, when the Aprilfestivalen - as it is now called - is held in Hjørring Municipality. 105 theaters play 628 performances. When you get to the city, it's like everything's upside down. All children in the municipality's many schools and kindergartens get a theater experience. Theater is played on the streets, in squares, in churches, in libraries and in the new theater house in Vendsyssel Teater. In the large foyer there are theater people and guests from many countries.
This is not because one cannot create unique children's and youth theater experiences in other countries. But with April Festival's size and quality, Denmark has been given a special place. International children's and youth theater specialists travel around the world to follow the latest developments and bring home performances. It is in Denmark that they meet for a children's theater festival in April. Here, they find academic quality and inspiration.
This is not least due to Teatercentrum and its former leader and general secretary of AS-SITEJ, Michael Ramløse, who had a vision and was a driving force in the development of the April festival. This work has been continued in the finest way by the current Theater Center with Henrik Køhler at the wheel.
Every year, the April Festival creates a theater event around Denmark for children and young people, which is decentralized and for everyone. It is also a utopia about a theater that embraces the whole country. It deserves light and support. April Festival is a unique gem to be cherished.

The Prize of Hope is for all those who, through hard work for now 50 years, have made the April Festival a huge event. You have created a special forum and realized a vision of theater art for children and young people from the largest urban communities to the middle of nowhere. At the same time, you have opened up for dialogue with citizens wherever you have come. It's real theatrical dissemination. You bring a hope that can ignite in a child and shine far into the future.
Congratulations on the Prize of Hope 2021 for the Aprilfestival - the world's largest theatre festival for children and young people.

On behalf of The Institute for Public Theater - Aasen & Dell`Arte International
Lars Olsen and Birthe Rosenfeldt


Prize of Hope for a living, popular theatre.

30.  Aprilfestival, Denmark 2021.
The world's largest theatre festival for children and young people.

29.  Kitt Johnson, X-act Copenhagen, Denmark 2019
Kitt Johnson is a shaman of our time.
28. UNIVERSES Theater Company 2018, New York, USA.
They are a source of change, a continuing struggle for equality on the theater scene in the United States.

27. C:NTACT & Henrik Hartmann 2017. Frederiksberg, Denmark.
C:NTACT creates intercultural encounters between people who otherwise would not have met: Every person carries a hope and a wish to succeed.

26. Cornerstone Theater Company 2016. Los Angeles, USA,
Cornerstone Theater Company creates theater art, which brings people together regardless of race or background.

25. Théâtre du Solei & Ariane Mnouchkine 2015. “La Cartoucherie”, Paris, France.
For 50 years, as an independent theatre collective, to have shared life, work and art, and together created a world class popular theatre.

24.  Clowns Without Borders 2014. Bringing joy and hope to needy children in the shadow of war.

23. Christian Lollike 2013. Dramatist. Copenhagen, Denmark. For a radical reinterpretation of popular theatre with taboo as the means and dialogue as the aim.

22. Geoff & Dan Hoyle 2012, San Francisco, USA. Individually, they are amazing performers and as father and son, they are a multi-generational force for good. 
21. Eugenio Barba and The Odin Theatre 2011, Holstebro, Denmark. They have created an important contribution to the cultural heritage of the world and have been a cornerstone in Danish and Nordic theatre for almost half a century.
20. David Simpson, Jane Lapiner and Human Nature 2010, Petrolia, USA, received the Prize of Hope 2010. They have created original theatre pieces about significant environmental and climate change.

19. Suzanne Osten, Unga Klara 2009, Stockholm, Sweden, received the Prize of Hope 2009 because she has worked with theatre from the perspective of the child and other vulnerable groups all her life. She is part of the reason that Scandinavian children's and youth theatre is amongst the best in the world.

18. Tim Robbins and The Actors' Gang 2008, Los Angeles, USA, received the Prize of Hope 2008 for leaning into the wind with their combination of contemporary immediacy, public engagement and great theatrical craft created with a profound hope for changing the course of life for better. The event was hosted by Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, California on June 21.

17. Set designer Poul Fly Plejdrup 2007, Odder, Denmark, for his magical open theatre. The open theatre is the space of living theatre and the theatre of hope.

16.  Dell’ Arte International 2005, Blue Lake, USA. They have created a physical theatre school of an international standard in the far North of California's Redwood district, which attracts students from all over the world. 

15. Finn Hesselager 2004, Nørre Snede, Denmark. For his significant contribution to the development of  Danish theatre, television and film, through his teaching of an entire generation of Danish actors.

14. Bådteatret (The Boat Theatre) The Prize of Hope 2003 went to Bådteatret, with its three brave captains Tue Biering, Rolf Heim and Emil Korf-Hansen 2003 because they insist on performing. In spite of financial cuts, they continue to perform political theatre in the spirit of our era.

13. Helle Ryslinge 2002, film director, Copenhagen, Denmark. For pioneering work within Danish film, uncovering societal taboos with her microscopic attention to detail.

12. Klaus Hoffmeyer 2001, Artistic Director at the Royal Theatre Copenhagen, Denmark. For keeping his core intact whether on the student scene or at the Royal Theatre of Denmark.

11. Åsa Simma 2000, Sámi theatre and film, Sápmi. Through her art, she awakens resources hidden in the rituals and images of the ancient mountains of Sámi culture.

10. Randi Patterson 1999, Living Movement & Nyt Dansk Danseteater, Copenhagen. Founder and pioneer of modern dance in Denmark.

9. Chris Torch 1998. Intercult, Stockholm, Sweden. Founder of Earth Circus & Shikaste. A pioneer in intercultural scenic art in Sweden, the Nordic countries and Europe.

8. Grenland Friteater 1997, Porsgrunn, Norway. For twenty years of pioneering work in group theatre in Norway - in a continuous search for identity in modern post-war Norway.

7. Hans Rønne 1996. Teatret, Odder, Danmark. For his solo performances as a distinguished landmark of Danish children's and youth theatre in the year of the cultural city.

6. Hans Hellberg 1995. Narren, Stokholm. Sweden. Founder of group theatre in the Nordic countries and its first important architect.

5. Arne Aabenhus & Asger Hulgaard 1994. Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke. Founder and creator of Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke (Danish Amateur Theatre Cooperation) for many years.

4. Iben Nagel Rasmussen 1992. Odin Theatre, Holstebro, Denmark. For being a pioneer of new acting in Denmark and for the performance ITSI BITSI.

3. Tage Hind 1991. Institut for Dramaturgi, Aarhus University, Denmark. For being a pioneer in the establishment of a new vision of theatre and founder of Institut for Dramaturgi at the University of Aarhus.

2. Aleksander Jochwed 1990. Theatre workshop Den Blå Hest, Aarhus, Denmark. Because the theatre breaks down barriers in the mind and between the East and the West.

1. Trevor Davies 1989. Festival of Fools, Copenhagen, Denmark, for creating a popular space for theatre and the Festival of Fools, as a cultural mediator and force to be reckoned with.


Institut for Folkeligt Teaters teater- and institutional members:
Odin Teatret, Holstebro, Aarhus Teater, Aarhus, Sort/Hvid, København, Teater Nordkraft, Aalborg, Aalborg Teater, Aalborg, Vendsyssel Teater, Hjørring, Holberg Teatret, Sorø, Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke, Odense, Kaospiloterne, Aarhus, BAS, Brønderslev,  Teatret, Hans Rønne, Aarhus, Danseteatret NordenFra, Hjortshøj, Teater TT, København, Dell'arte International, Californien, Brønderslev Erhverv & Turisme, Brønderslev, Det Flyvende Kuffertcirkus, Bælum, Vrå Højskole, Vrå, Kulturhus Kappelborg, Skagen, C:ontact, Frederiksberg, Musikteatergruppen Ragnarock, Espergærde, PixlArt, Østervrå,