Bjarni Jónsson and Ragnheiður Skúladóttir are the driving forces behind LÓKAL performing arts Reykjavík. In addition to programming an annual festival they write, produce, direct, mentor and advice.
BJARNI JÓNSSON was born 1966 in Akranes, on the west coast of Iceland. After working as a seaman, a construction worker and a journalist he moved to Munich where he finished a master degree in theatre studies in 1992. He wrote his first play, “Corkman”, in 1989 (A staged reading at the Icelandic National Theatre in 1992), but Jónsson´s first performed play was “Mark” in 1994. In 1998 his play, “Coffee”, was staged at the Icelandic National Theatre. The production was invited to Bonn for the New Plays in Europe Festival and subsequently produced as a radio piece at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk.For “Coffee” Bjarni Jónsson was nominated for the 2000 Nordic Drama Award. In 2004 his play, “Down the Burning Road”, was staged at the Icelandic National Theatre and in 2005 the Reykjavik City Theatre staged “Where The Winds Dwell” and “Tree Of Life”; Jónssons´ adaptations of two major novels about Icelandic immigrants in 19th Century Canada. His play “Mishap!” opened at the Icelandic National Theatre in September 2007. For this play Jónsson was nominated for the Icelandic Theatre Prize and the 2008 Nordic Drama Award. The play was published in the Polish Theater Magazine DIALOG in April 2009 presented as a staged reading at the Nordic Spaces Festival in Chicago in 2010 and produced by the Akvavit Theater in Chicago in 2014. The play was done as a staged reading at the Scandinavian American Theatre Company in New York in 2015. “The Vote”, commissioned by the Akureyri City Theatre, premiered in January 2009 and a little later “The Soft Serve Machine” was produced as part of the Icelandic National Theatre´s project for young actors. His last play, "Sending", will open in September 2016 at the Reykjavík City Theatre.
Bjarni Jónsson has translated numerous plays and novels by authors such as Harold Pinter, Mark Ravenhill, Neil LaBute, David Gieselmann, Marius von Mayenburg, Thomas Bernhard, Roddy Doyle, Henrik Ibsen, George Tabori, Tennessee Williams, Günter Grass and Hertha Mueller.
He has frequently worked as a dramaturg and a director of radio drama. In 2007 he wrote and directed a trilogy for radio: “The Key”, “The Sprinter” and “The Blogger”. For this trilogy Jónsson received the Icelandic Theatre Prize in the catagory "Radio Drama".
In 2004 Bjarni Jónsson was awarded the Nordic Prize for Radio Drama for “The Wheel Of Sleep”, a production done in collaboration with the band Múm. He has produced two other works with múm; "Maid In Secret" (2010) – nominated for Prix Europa 2011 – and "Here" (2013).
Bjarni has worked as a dramaturg and co-author with theatre groups and collectives such as Kriðpleir Theatre Group, Kviss Búmm Bang, and the Dublin-based Brokentalkers.
He is co-founder and co-artistic director of the LÓKAL Theatre Festival Reykjavík, an annual event that brings new theatre to the Icelandic audience and connects Icelandic theatremakers with the international scene.
RAGNHEIÐUR SKÚLADÓTTIR was born and raised in Reykjavík. She finished her BA in theatre and multimedia at the University of Iowa in 1991 and her MFA at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1996. Following her studies she moved to New York City where she lived and worked for four years. In 2000, following a 13 year stint in the U.S, she moved back to Reykjavík after being offered the position of Dean of Department of Theatre and Dance at then newly founded Iceland Academy of the Arts. Ragnheiður worked at the Academy until 2011, initiating new programs in contemporary performance practices and contemporary dance. In 2008 she co-founded the LÓKAL International Theatre Festival, an annual event that presents new local and international work in the field of theatre and performance. She was artistic director of the Akureyri City Theatre from 2012 to 2015.
Ragnheiður has years of experience as teacher and mentor (at IAA, University of Syracuse, Academy for Scenekunst in Fredrikstad, MAKE Ireland).
She is currently covering a maternity leave, as managing director, at Iceland Dance Company.