Astrid Lindgren has written theatre scripts for many of her stories. Her commitment and personal involvement in the plays was strong and she had very clear views on how she wanted them to be performed – all to secure the best possible end result. To maintain this ambition for high quality worldwide is one of our most important tasks at The Astrid Lindgren Company.
Some people are wondering what process is involved in setting up a play by Astrid Lindgren. Here is a brief run-down.
A person or a group has an idea about putting on a play based on a book by Astrid Lindgren.
Before a play is performed publicly, you must ensure that the rights are available and find a script that you can use. Astrid Lindgren wrote many scripts herself, but there are several other approved versions available as well. All approved scripts can be accessed via our publishers. See below which publishing house you should turn to.
If the rights are available, you will receive one or several scripts from the publishers to look at. If you are unsuccessful in finding a fitting script based on the book you want to dramatise, you should apply for consent from The Astrid Lindgren Company to develop your own script.
It is not an obvious right to be granted consent to develop a new script, as it is a time-consuming and complex process. A theatre expert at The Astrid Lindgren Company will read your script making sure it follows the original story and the intentions of Astrid Lindgren as closely as possible.
When a script is chosen, or in exceptional cases newly written and approved by The Astrid Lindgren Company, a contract is signed with the publishing house. All rights and obligations are stipulated in the written contract.
For anyone putting on a play for a public audience, it’s important to know that no one else is doing the same or a similar piece at the same time, to avoid unnecessary competition. To keep track of all requests and rights, we turn to publishing houses specialising in theatre plays. They have all the approved scripts, and whoever wants to mount a play can expect good support in the process of choosing the right script.
In our opinion, a good script is one that reflects Astrid Lindgren’s story in a way that is clearly recognisable from her books, and that the author’s way of expressing herself is used in the play. The feel of the play should be the same as that of the book. If you stop and think about it, it is often through the language and dialogue that you get to know the literary characters, rather than the way they are described in the storyline. This means that you can never transfer lines between different characters, as if it were of no consequence who says what.
A key aspect that defines Astrid Lindgren’s approach to children’s theatre is that the child should always be able to understand what is taking place on stage. It’s about respect for children and that it would be rude to them to add jokes that are only aimed at the adults.
Astrid Lindgren was also adamant about having no new characters or events added to her stories. It is obviously not necessary to include everything from a book; it wouldn’t fit in a play. But it is not permissible to add new characters or events that do not exist in the original story. This also means that one cannot mix characters from different books in the same play.
If an external audience is invited, regardless of whether tickets are sold or not, the show is considered a public performance. In every such case the publishing company must be contacted for consent. The play must of course also follow an approved script – all available from the publishing houses.
All shows that are put up in front of a “closed circle”, for example, a “members-only” event, are still defined as public performances. If the public is invited, the show is considered public. Students in schools may without consent, put up plays based on rights protected scripts, if it’s done in front of the fellow students and the personnel at the school – with a limit of 50 people in the audience. Posters or any other promotions may not be used and if the student’s parents are invited, the show is considered public.