Ingvild Rømo Grande

I am Historical!

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU),  Department of Art & Media Studies

/Volda University College

Key words: Theatre studies, visual dramaturgy, costumes.


Research interest/research question: In the face of inherited clothing of the past, I ask: What images and stories will young people today pass on to their grandchildren? And – what does it actually  mean to be historical?


The christening gown exists

The graduation coat exists

The wedding dress exists

The silver wedding dress exists

The Golden Wedding Dress Exists


The ski jacket exists

The barbecue suit is available

Everyday dresses exist


The white dresses exist

The blue dresses exist

The black dresses are available

The floral dresses are available

The trousers exist

With the clothing collection inherited from my 98 year old grandmother, Alvhilde as a starting point, I want to investigate which stories can be deposited through clothing, and how this can influence the process of costume making. Central to the study will be two women with the same name (Alvhilde), from the same family, from two different generations, with two different bodies. The examination of the personal material forms the basis for a scenographic installation with contributions from two generations of audiences and their own clothes and stories.


One ongoing experiment started last autumn; working with young people and their inherited clothes and stories, we put the original backstage work of making costumes; sewing, cutting, and treating garments on stage and looked at potentials for a dramaturgy steered by this 1:1 process. The idea is to investigate this further, together with professional costume makers and actors at theatre institutions. The two parts of the research process/questions go parallel to each other, yet without a clear idea on how to merge.


Ingvild Rømo Grande is ducated as scenographer at The Danish National School of Performing Arts in 2005, I have been working as a freelance scenographer on theatres in Denmark and Norway, and from 2014, as co-founder of the Theatre Company Sir Grand Lear in close collaboration with my partner Lea Burrows, working in the space between social art and theatre performance. From 2019, I have been teaching young theatre students at NTNU, in the Department of Art & Media Studies.


Through my work as scenographer and costume designer, I have worked together with actors, technicians and tailors in fitting rooms backstage and during rehearsals on stage, wondering how I could come even closer to how clothes and costumes really effect the audience´s connection to the people on stage.  I am interested in how clothing and costumes can be looked upon as a process,more than product and link this to an interest in people, storytelling as well as the dramaturgy of costumes.


For the last four years I have focused on meeting this challenge in different ways. In the performances by Sir Grand Lear, we have developed concepts where the audience has been asked to do the costumes (following simple rules) and sometimes wearing costumes themselves, to lower the barrier between them and us.The PhD project, continues to search for methods on how to involve the audience into co – creation scenographic processes. 




Artistic Research Spring Forum 2023

1st presentation

Language: Norwegian

“How can narratives of/from inherited everyday clothes produce new dramaturgies for costumes on stage?”


Working as scenographer and costume designer for many years, I have focused on how different costume strategies, could be used to reduce the distance between the audience and performers onstage. The Phd-project builds on further to this approach.

“I am Historical!” is based on the idea of unfolding a repertoire of clothes - consisting of around 100 items (dresses, blouses, hats, underwear) most of them from post 2nd World War - inherited from my own 98 years old grandmother, Alvhilde, and involve a young audience in this investigation of how stories, narratives and dramaturgical structures can deposited through clothes and family photos. Being the mother of a teenage girl, also named Alvhilde, I have observed how the younger body stretches and grow into the clothes, fitting them perfectly, while the elderly body is about to collapse, leaving the clothes behind her. This movement – almost choreographic – from one body to another, from one time / space to another, leads to the core of the project; looking at heritage as something productive, innovative, changeable, theatrical and political, that connects past, present and future.


A comparative study between the elder and younger Alvhilde (a1 & a2) will be combined with a series of workshop with actors, performers, and young theatre students investigating the unique ability of costume to perform, challenge and re-think matters related to human life through its tangible material and bodily dimensions, impacting upon the society as a whole.


In the presentation at ARF 2023 I will suggest possible methods for the research, touch upon the ethical concerns, and discuss how the project could contribute to the field of costume, scenography and visual dramaturgy.