The Kinn Pageant - An Outstanding Experience In the municipality of Kinn you can discover a paradise of islands, skerries, mountains, cliffs and sea. As far west as you can go, where the sky meets the sea, you will find an old church from the 11th century. Every third weekend in June there is an outdoor theatre with 150 actors performing a pageant about love, treason, faith, doubt, hope, hopelessness, rebellion and suppression and Vikings conquering Ireland. The Kinn Pageant is performed in Norwegian. The play can be entertaining to an international audience since it is possible to follow the story without understaning every word.
History and legends form the background and the natural and sheltered slopes behind the church at the foot of an imposing cliff - together with a changing sea and sky offer you a unique and wonderful atmosphere, a setting you have never experienced in any theatrical performance.
Every year four thousand people have enjoyed The Kinn Pageant since its first opening performance in 1985. The Parish Council of Kinn and The Sogn og Fjordane Theatre are happy to invite you to Kinn during the third weekend of June. This cultural event has been blessed with good weather, but do remember that there in summer might blow a cold wind from the north - so please wear suitable clothes. In case of rain the Pageant is not cancelled. On the contrary the performance has a new dimension, a new and very special setting. Between performances you are welcome to guided tours in the church and around the island, concerts, evening prayers and a service on Sunday. The church is the only one in Scandinavia still having a "rood-screen". The front is decorated with very well preserved wooden carvings showing Christ surrounded by his apostles and two angles on the Day of Judgement.
The altar piece is in the baroque style from 1644, the memorial plaque from 1639 and the pulpit, the naval ship and the chasuble from about 1700. You are welcome to go for walks on your own. The most popular walks is to Kinnaklova, a mountain which seems to be cut with an axe thus making a cleft which is 125 metres deep, 25 metres wide at the base and twice as wide at the top. It also plays an important role in the Pageant. Do enjoy the good meal you have carefully prepared for the trip or have some refreshments in the kiosk. Many people come to Kinn every year to meet people and enjoy the special atmosphere of the island and the very special drama in the extraordinary setting made by God.
You are brought from Florø to Kinn in 25 minutes by six or seven fast, comfortable boats. The boats leave Fugleskjærskaia (the main dock), where you can park your car or leave the bus. On Kinn you will appreciate one kilometre's walk in beautiful scenery to the church. Our assistants on Kinn will help you with transport by car if needed! The Pageant The main theme is the introduction of the Protestant Reformation by the Danish king in 1537. The King's bailiff informs the congregation of Kinn that they have to accept the "New Faith", that all church properties are taken possession of and that Norway has lost her independence and become a part of Denmark. Through "a pageant in the pageant", a performance which the parishers themselves were going to present at the very moment of the bailiff's arrival, we witness how, Sunniva, a Christian Irish Princess, flee from heathen Vikings. The legend says that she was forced to marry a Viking king. She escaped by secretly leaving Ireland with her friends in three ships. When they were out at sea, they threw away all sails and oars and prayed to God to lead them to a safe place. All ships stranded on the Norwegian coast. Sunniva's sister or chambermaid came to Kinn where she built the church in gratitude for being saved. Old Icelandic sagas also tell us about the worship of Holy men of Kinn and Selja. It is therefore assumed that Kinn is one of the oldest Christian places of worship in Norway. Sunniva stranded on Selja, further north, and she became the Patron Saint of Western Norway. The first bishopric in Norway was the Diocese of Selja and the present Catholic Bishop of Norway is "Bishop of Selja". Even though this is a legend, it is very likely because Irish hermits who founded new monasteries on the Scottish coast, also sailed to Iceland and the Faroe Island. Is it not possible that some of these monks might have drifted across the sea to barren and isolated islands in Norway? "Songen ved det store djup" (The Kinn Pageant) is performed by Sogn og Fjordane Theatre and one hundred and fifty amateurs on the isle of Kinn near Florø.
Text: Rolf Losnegård Director: Rolf Losnegård Music: Per Janke Jørgensen