A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Creative Team Behind One Of The World’s Most Famous Theatres

Theatre is so much more then just actors and plays: it’s props, it’s sets, it’s imagination and it’s taking a vision off the page and onto a stage in order that the audience become totally swept up into it. It is an art form. The Royal Danish Theatre, in Copenhagen, was originally built as the theatre of the king and has now evolved into the theatre of an entire country. Opera, ballet, classic concerts and dramas take place in the various locations of the theatre.


Director and photojournalist, Casper Balslev, had always been drawn to the theatre and it’s emotive energy. Using an Alexa Mini, he and his small team, had to condense the labrinyth of activity; the building, the buzz, the projects and the people into a series of short shots. “Having a small team was key to being able to work extremely efficiently and quickly”, Casper explained when he spoke to him, “we had many unit moves and endless shot lists in order to create the desired sequence and feeling”.

The behind-the-scenes insight into the daily hive of activity at the creative centre is fast-paced and exciting, offering the audience a considered snapshot of what happens in the background before the curtain goes up. “I wanted to create an explosion of emotions, energies and drama”, Casper, passionate about theatre himself, gushed, “I wanted to tell various stories of creation both on and off the stages”.

The aim of the film is to inspire people, to broaden their horizons to show people there is more to the theatre then acting, music and ticket taking. We defy you to not feel enthused by the idea of working at a theatre once you’ve watched the film for yourself.


We spoke to Casper about the process and the production.

The Plus: How did the video come about?
Casper Balslev:
The vision for this film was to create a mash-up, an odyssey of creation at The Royal Danish Theatre.
Once I was attached as director of the film, my production team and I started to do research at the theatre and enter into dialogue with the people there. I have worked with the theatre before, so I already had some ideas and indications of who, what and where to shoot. The Royal Theatre is a huge place, so planning was crucial. It was like walking into a candy store, but you can only pick a certain amount of candy. Some things was not ready, other things we could not access. But mostly it was a list of endless opportunities. In pre -production we had to narrow things down to the essence in order to capture it on film.


TP: How long did it take to film all the different clips? What was the process of putting these together?
The film was shot in four days. A bit of an intense journey through the theatre. It combines staged and documentary elements. Some scenes took very little time to shoot, others a bit more planning and set-up. It would also require us spending an entire evening documenting a ballet play from several angles, planning ourselves to be at the right place at the right time.
Using the many sounds of the theatre was thought into the process prior shooting it. We recorded many sound elements on set, but also added a lot in post- production. The sound and music was done by my frequent collaborator, Martin Dirkov.
The music that is building up is “Sarabande” by Händel, mainly known from Stanley Kubricks 1975 film “Barry Lyndon”. Im a huge Stanley Kubrick fan. Kubrick was also partly my inspiration for elements in the film. I wanted the film to feel very cinematic, visceral and real.


The editing process took many days for my editor, Anders Jon, and I to structure the film. It was a bit of a struggle to begin with – like trying to solve a rubix cube. We had all these bricks on the table. After a couple of days it slowly started to come together. Overall it was a structure, tonality and rhythm we had to find in the edit.

TP: How would you sum up your time working with the Royal Danish Theatre? What was your favourite aspect, or most challenging?
Fun and hard work. It was a great and rewarding experience. I have worked with the theatre and Wichmann/Schmidt the agency behind the campaign before when we did a film about “Swan lake” last year.

There has been a great support and trust from everyone at the theatre making this film. From on- stage performers to people behind the scenes. They gave me real access into everything and it has been a bit of dream, and a privilege, to get the opportunity to be involved.

TP: Do you like theatre, why?
Yes I like theatre. Its live, its right there in front of you.