On Stage

Theatre, dance and music

On stage offers the visitor the chance to step into the world of theatre, dance and music - in front, as well as behind the scenes. We present historical and contemporary highlights from the diverse fields that constitute Swedish performing arts. Objects, images, video and audio: each with their own stories to tell. These are interspersed with interactive elements where visitors can put both themselves, as well as various instruments in motion. The exhibition is divided into four sections - dance, theatre, music and puppetry - and extends over three floors of the museum in the 16th century building. The artifacts come in different forms and from different centuries. A costume from Louis XIV's court ballet may be found, as naturally, alongside rapper Erik Lundin's handwritten lyrics, as a dolls house from a production by Suzanne Osten.

Stagecraft’s craft

One of the exhibition's connecting ideas involves the craft of practicing and developing the skills that are at the foundation of the professional performing arts. Many hours of hard work lay behind every performance, but it is not all about repetition and automated muscle memory. By what manner does the transformation take place from copying and repeating a movement, a sound, or a text, to the representation and expression of something artistic? The exhibition scrutinises the art of creating songs as well as instruments, the dancer's tireless body practice and the actor's complex rehearsal process. Each stage also has a curtain, and the work that takes place behind the scenes is a prerequisite for the arts that are eventually presented for the audience. The exhibition offers visitors an insight into otherwise invisible workshops, highlighting for example, the important roles of mask and costume makers.

Interactivity and objects

What happens when you place your face behind a mask? How does it feel to stand, face to face, with a dancer from another century, in exactly the same pose? Some 20 interactive stations in the exhibition turn the spotlight on the visitor's own creative abilities. A nine-metre-long glass wall filled with instruments, combined with an interactive surface and a number of dice-like objects, allow visitors to discover, play and combine instruments from the museum's large collections. Another installation reverses the usual relationship between music and dance - instead of letting the body respond to music through movement, visitors can use dance to activate tones and rhythms, thus creating their own music.

A number of items can be seen at the museum but the vast majority of the items are stored in spaces that can be visited by requested appointment.

Where is the limit?

Another path in the exhibition focuses on ideals, on breaking new ground and on challenging norms. What is a stage? Who has access to it? We encounter groups, productions, and individuals who, in different ways, have challenged and expanded the limits of what theatre, dance and music can be - for how it can be created and transmitted.