Espen Klouman Høiner

The actor's creative space – artistic strategies for the autonomous actor in a text-based and future-mythical theatre


Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Academy of Theatre

In my artistic research, I will explore a new type of theatrical presence of the actor, by developing concepts and strategies based on concepts the French theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes presents in his lecture series Comment vivre ensemble (1977, in english How to live together).

As the title of the lecture indicates, it is questions related to co-existence, tolerance and community, in parallel with thoughts about the organization of the individual life, and the individual's complex relationship to power, that interest Barthes. This is also the basis for my artistic research project.


A key word for Barthes’ text and for my project is the idea of Idiorrhythmy. Idiorrhythmy can be understood as a fantasy image that depicts different community structures where all individual peculiarities, habits and preferences are accepted and made room for. Like Barthes, I want to commit my project to such a fantasy - and use the theater space to reflect, experiment and fantasize - to outline alternative ways of living together, and being together.

Starting with the actor, and more specifically the creative actor's performative function in the text-based theater, My artistic research seeks to create and explore artistic alternatives to our contemporary societal and social structures, which increasingly allows market mechanisms and bureaucratic administration to decide how we look at, think of, and live our lives - alone, and in community with others.


Research questions

  • In what way can the development of strategies based on principles of idiorrythmy, double-performative dramaturgy and aesthetics of silence lay the foundations for a new type of aesthetic presence for the actor in the text-based theatre?
  • In what ways can staging of the actor in the public space help to increase the actor's individual and collective influence and status as a creative artist in the text-based theatre, in the performing arts field and in the public at large?
  • In what way can these strategies create structural alternatives to the prevailing standardized and hierarchical production model in the text-based theatre?
  • How can the development of these strategies lay the foundation for a more process-philosophical and ecocentric way of working in the text-based theatre?

My name is Espen Klouman Høiner (b. 1981), I live at Nesodden outside of Oslo, and work as an actor, writer and creative artist.

I have a three-year education from the text and writer line at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology (2006), and a bachelor's degree in acting from the Theater Academy v/KhiO (2010), with a subsequent one-year in-depth additional study in acting, also from KhiO (2011).

I am currently a research fellow at the Theater Academy v/KhiO (2022-2025) where I am researching artistic strategies for the creative actor in the text-based theatre.

In my artistic work, I combine the roles of stage artist, director, playwright, writer and actor. Alongside my own performing arts practice, I work as a film actor, and teach both text and acting courses. Although my artistry is interdisciplinary, the core of my work is that of the actor. In my work as a performing and creative actor within the institution and in the independent field, I have always been concerned with experimenting with different performative playing styles, audience contracts and fictional universes - an experimentation grounded in an ethical-aesthetic willingness to challenge the ideological and methodological structures and conventions that characterize text-based performing arts today.

My main work is as an actor, playwright and director in the performing arts company Klouman/Becker/Barratt-Due, where I make up the trio together with visual artist and scenographer Signe Becker and sound artist and composer Camilla Vatne Barratt-Due.

I won the Kanon prize for best actor in 2013 and won the Hedda prize twice. I received the award as an actor in 2013, and as a playwright in 2019 (for Vi, Folket supported by Dramatikkens Hus).




Artistic Research Spring Forum 2024

2nd presentation

Language: Norwegian

ENGLISH: This being my 2nd presentation, I want to give a brief account of the work I have already done during my PhD project, and invite the audience to dialogue about possible directions for my last PhD work, which will form the final part of a series of works.


I have followed two tracks so far in my PhD project.


One track has been a practical, aesthetic exploration and awareness of the multi-sensory potential of the actor (and the text) in the theater space. (Double performativity, aesthetics of silence, obscurity). The second track has had a more general function and has been dealing with the function, status and role of the actor both in and outside of the theatre space.

How to unite these tracks in the closing phase?



Da dette er min andre presentasjonen vil jeg kort redegjøre for de arbeidene jeg allerede har gjort i løpet av mitt phd-prosjekt, og invitere tilhørere til dialog om mulige retninger for mitt siste phd-verk som vil utgjøre den avsluttende delen av en serie arbeider.


Jeg har fulgt to spor sålangt i ph.d.-prosjektet mitt. 

Den ene sporet har vært en praktisk, estetisk utforskning og bevisstgjøring av skuespilleren (og tekstens) flersanselige potensial i teaterrommet. (Dobbel performativitet, stillhetsestetikk, dunkelhet). Det andre sporet har hatt en mer overordnet funksjon og handlet om skuespillerens status, funksjon og rolle både i teaterrommet og det offentlige rommet. 

Hvordan forene disse sporene i den avsluttende fasen?


Artistic Research Autumn Forum 2022

1st presentation


My presentation at ARF will reflect on my experiences and findings in my artistic research work so far, having created the stage productions “Den skinnende byen/The shining city” at Nationaltheatret (Oslo, Norway, 2022) and “Bartleby” at Trøndelag Teater (Trondheim, Norway, 2022) and written the text “Den mest realistiske teksten jeg har skrevet på lenge/The most realistic text I have written in a long time” (Norsk Shakespearetidsskrift, 2022).