peer gynt - a fable for our time

A tale of selfishness, duplicity and fake news. Ibsen and Grieg will be reunited in Endangered Productions' forthcoming performance of Peer Gynt using a new adaptation by the internationally recognised Norwegian dramaturg, Dr May-Brit Akerholt.

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Why Peer Gynt?

After the success of The Beggar’s Opera and the formation of Endangered Productions, the question was: What to do next?

Peter played a recording of the full Edvard Grieg score for Peer Gynt. Like many of us, he didn’t realise the magnificent music had been written to be performed with Henrik Ibsen’s iconic play.

The potential for incorporating Ruth’s innovative choreography and Sandy’s creative designs into the production meant it was ideal for our group and, as we discovered, the the play and the music were rarely performed together except in concert performances. We also recognised the play’s timeless themes of selfishness, self-indulgence and greed would ring bells for 21st century audiences.


The play

The play is a veritable blast of energetic action, colourful tableaux and spectacular events. It is a highly political and serious dramatization of a life wasted in pursuing dreams, fleeing from responsibility, seeking power instead of love.

Written as a dramatic poem, Ibsen in 1874 wrote to Grieg and told him he was ‘thinking of adapting Peer Gynt for the stage. Will you compose the music that will be required?’

"Ibsen dramatised the underbelly of his society and his plays found international relevance. And they remain relevant: the low underground rumbling of human experience has not changed much." (May-Brit Akerholt translator and dramaturg).

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The music

When Norway’s greatest writer Henrik Ibsen came up with the idea of recasting his dramatic poem Peer Gynt into a stage play with music, there are indications that the man he approached to compose the music considered the job too difficult. Although involved with other projects at the time, Edvard Grieg Norway’s greatest composer, began setting the pieces of the story that most interested him. He quickly found that Ibsen’s characters and settings stirred deeply-held feelings for his homeland and ended up composing about 90 minutes of music.

The 26 separate numbers, short and long, are interspersed throughout the sprawling, epic play. In every instance they intensify and magnify the dramatic situations. Grieg’s compositional skills are here given their finest outlet. With a combination of orchestral colour and vocal flair, he gives players and singers great and hugely rewarding music.


“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
"The attack on 'selfishness' is an attack on man’s self-esteem; to surrender one, is to surrender the other."
Ayn Rand

"Peer Gynt, inspired by Norwegian folk tales, is the most prophetically modern of all Ibsen’s plays. Like your typical American politician, Peer, is a figure of great bluster, ambition and duplicity."
New York Times

Peer's Norwegian heritage

If you lie, are you real?


Peer Gynt is a Norwegian folk tale that permeates the culture. The Peer Gynt Sculpture Park in Oslo, created in honour of Henrik Ibsen, is a monumental presentation of Peer Gynt, scene by scene.

More about Peer Gynt

True north

Internationally respected Norwegian Ibsen translator and dramaturg, May-Brit Akerholt joins us as consultant. She draws on her own production of Peer Gynt.

More about May-Brit


Edvard Munch


Edvard Munch's art was inspired by theatre.  He depicted many scenes from the plays of Ibsen and drew the program poster for the Paris production of Peer Gynt showing the two women - Solveig and Aase.

More about Munch and Peer Gynt

want to get involved? Volunteer!

Want to develop new skills?

Putting on a show requires all types of talents and capabilities – not just performers. Volunteers will be welcome to assist with administration, marketing, social media, catering, costume making, stage management, set construction and numerous other tasks necessary to mount a show. Theatre is a great environment to develop new skills.

Want to share your skills?

We particularly welcome skilled and/or retired Super Citizens for our creative volunteer base to act as mentors to those who are keen to learn.

work opportunities

Our productions will also provide work opportunities for professional musicians, singers, and actors.

We love sponsors!

By becoming a private or corporate sponsor you will contribute to the creation of quality, accessible music theatre in Sydney.

Contact us and we will get back to you directly about our upcoming production of Peer Gynt.

Tell us about yourself and the skills you can share or would like to develop.