Nora Nûre

In 2009 Jale Karabekir and Tiyatro Boyali Kuş (Theatre Painted Bird) received an Ibsen Scholarship for the project "Nora Nûre."

Nora Nûre

The number of classical theatre productions in Kurdish is limited in Turkey today. This project, “Nora Nûre”, aims to stage Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in Kurdish and show the performance both in Turkey and in Oslo, Norway. According to Theatre Painted Bird this will be the first production of an Ibsen play in Kurdish in Turkey. The target audience in Turkey will be people who have little access to theatre of both political, economic or geographic reasons, or because of barriers in language. In Oslo the target audience will be the Kurdish migrant community.
In addition to the performance, Theatre Painted Bird wants to publish a book about Ibsen’s life and plays, and the full text of Nora in Turkish and Kurdish.

About the applicant

Jale Karabekir, born in Istanbul, Turky, in 1975, is a dramaturgist and the artistic director and founder of Theatre Painted Bird in Istanbul, Turkey. She is educated within dramaturgy and theatre criticism and has a MA in sociology within the topic “Performance As a Strategy for Women’s Liberation” from the Istanbul University.

Tiyatro Boyali Kuş (Theatre Painted Bird) is a professional feminist theatre established in 2000. The theatre is a member of the International Organization of the Theatre of the Oppressed, and is organized in the Magdalene Project, Network of Women in Contemporary Theatre. The theatre has a feminist policy. Theatre Painted Bird prefers at least 75 per cent of their staff members to be female. They provide paid and unpaid internship opportunities for women and support other feminist and queer performance companies in Turkey. They also organize theatre workshops with women and the Kurdish youth and children.

The jury’s conclutions

Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House treats, amongst other themes, the freedom to have your own opinions and to make your own decisions regardless of a person’s sex and/or gender.
The Theatre Painted Bird works in an artistic way with different topics related to both women’s issues and ethnic minority’s rights in Turkey today. One of their main arguments to stage A Doll’s House is that their performance will be of great importance to the contribution of the oppression experienced by the Kurdish community and especially by the Kurdish women. In this regard, the performance will address important issues like emancipation, subjectivity and independence of Kurdish women in Turkey today.


Ibsen's A Doll's House in Kurdish.

The performance Nora. Nûrê by Theatre Painted Bird was the first production of an Ibsen play in Kurdish in Turkey.
Nora. Nurè combines the story of the two women Nora and Nûrê. The performance challenges the boundaries between classic and contemporary visions, the East and the West, the traditional and the modern. The similarities between the stories of Nûrê, originally told by traditional Kurdish storytellers, and the Norwegian Nora add a universal dimension to Ibsen’s play.
Nora. Nûrê premiered in Batman, Turkey on 3 March 2010 and has since been staged in Diyarbakir, Ankara, Izmi, Mersin and during the International Istanbul Theatre Festival 2010. The performance also visited Skien during Skien International Ibsen Conference in  2010.

Now a written translation of Ibsen's A doll's House, Bir Bebek Evi, has been published in Turkey.

Nora Nûre keeps slamming doors

Turkish Translation and Dramaturgy: FERIDE ERALP, JALE KARABEKIR
Kurdish Translation: AYDIN ORAK
Costume and Mask Design: KÜBRA ERISIR

Theatre Painted Bird’s voyage with Henrik Ibsen’s Nora, a symbol of the women’s liberation movement, is still far from over. Nora’s words have not yet been exhausted and her struggle for liberation still continues, in Turkey as well as all over the world. Which is why Theatre Painted Bird once again presents “Nora/Nûrê”, which is Ibsen’s “A Dollhouse” performed in Kurdish, in a way which challenges the boundaries between classic and contemporary, the east and the west, traditional and modern in the staging of plays. After being accorded the 2009 Ibsen Award and traveling within and outside the country with this play, Theatre Painted Bird shall once again “slam many doors,” as Nora sheds her masks, casting off all the roles of mother, daughter and wife assigned to her by the patriarchy: Nora’s and Nûrê’s combined voices, which have echoed through Batman, Diyarbakir, Van, Dogubeyazit, Kars-Dagpinar, the Istanbul International Theatre Festival and the Ibsen Conference in Skien, Norway, are now ready to make themselves heard in Kumbaraci50, Istanbul on the 13th and 20th of October, then once again in the same venue on the 10th of November as part of the Pera Theatre Festival (Pera Fest) and also in the International Ankara Theatre Festival taking place between the 26th of November and 6th of December.

“A Dollhouse” may be a play written by a Norwegian playwright in 1876, but the story of Norwegian Nora is not limited to that specific time and place only. It confronts us in a Kurdish classic, the tale of “Saliho and Nûrê”, carried on by dengbej - Kurdish story-tellers, the bearers of tales - such as Semdin, Karapete Xaco and Sakiro... When Saliho, Nûrê’s cousin and lover, gets jailed in Diyarbakir, Nurê goes and talks to prosecutors and judges, writes petitions and bribes judges so as to save him; but the moment Saliho is free, the first thing he does is kill Nûrê, right in the middle of the town, in front of the Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii); because, according to him, “Nûrê has not known her place as a woman and meddled with men’s affairs, trespassed into the male society.” “I shall kill you, because you dare appear in front of the government.”  is what he says. By poking her nose into ‘men’s affairs’ Nûrê has dishonoured Saliho.  Just like Nora dishonoured Torvald… Nora/Nûrê. These two women not only share the same name – since Nora comes from Eleonora, the Latin word for light, while Nûrê comes from Nur, the same word in Arabic – but also the same story. Even though time and place may differ, this story of womanhood essentially remains the same. Today as well as in Nora’s or Nûrê’s day... Our aim is to express Nora’s, Nûrê’s and our own words and to tell these stories together within one play. All we strive to do is recount one tale in the language of the other and shed light on the universal story of womanhood.

Jale Karabekir


Review in Turkish news paper Radikal

Nora Nûre

Nora Nûre opens in Batman, Turky on March 3rd 2010.
Responsible for the project is director Jale Karabekir and Theatre Painted Bird.The performance will also be playd in Diyarbakir, Ankara, Izmir and Mersin, Turky and during The International Istanbul Theatre Festival 2010.

Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş/Theatre Painted Bird

Theatre Painted Bird (Tiyatro Boyalı Kuş), a member of the Magdalena Project: International Network of Women in Contemporary Theatre and International Theatre of the Oppressed Organisation, is an Istanbul-based theatre company established in 2000. Today, Theatre Painted Bird is the oldest active feminist-identified theatre company in the country. It is also one of a handful of forum theatre companies in the world that focus on women’s issues. We have been awarded an Ibsen Scholarship for our last project, an adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Developed by Ertug Altinay and staged by Jale Karabekir, this will be a feminist production of Ibsen’s masterpiece in Kurdish. Until a few years ago, it was banned in Turkey to publish or broadcast in Kurdish language. Since the repeal of the ban, there has been a significant increase in stage productions in Kurdish. However, as a consequence of the decades of oppression, the impact of these productions have been rather limited. Thanks to the generous support from the Ibsen Scholarship, we will be able to stage one of the first major stage productions in Kurdish in the country. We will be staging the play not only in Istanbul but also in the Southeast of the country, where the majority of the population speaks Kurdish. Currently, we are in the process of establishing contacts to stage the play in European cities with Kurdish populations. Visit their website here.