Messíana Tómasdóttir  /  Professional information

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Born 1940 in Reykjavik.  Icelandic

Vesturströnd 2
170 Seltjarnarnes

tel. +534 551 8959 / cell phone +534 891 8959


1981 Puppet Theatre: Institut de la Marionnette (Charleville, France).

1968-70 Scenography: Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts.

1967-68 Textile: Det Jydske Kunstakademi (Ĺrhus, Denmark).

1965-67 Graphics: Elinborg Lützen (Faroe Islands).

Scenographic work 1968-2007 (appr. 80 productions)

The National Theatre of Iceland; The Municipal Theatre of Reykjavik; The People's Theatre, Reykjavik; Grima Experimental Drama Society, Reykjavik; The Drama School Theatre, Iceland; The Icelandic Opera; The Akureyri Theatre; Icelandic TV; Nukketeatteri Peukalopotti, Vasa, Finland; Sjonleikarhusid, Nordic House and Grima Theatre, Faroe Islands; Aalborg Theatre, Denmark; Ohio Northern University.

The String Theatre

founded 1982 by Messíana Tómasdóttir, has commissioned the following works by contemporary composers and/or writers. In these productions Messíana Tómasdóttir is producer, writer of most librettos and manuscripts, director or assistant director, scenographer and maker of puppets, masks and costumes:

2010: Stray Bird (Farfuglinn), an electronic opera for teenagers by Hilmar Ţórđarson, built on The Mother by H.C.Andersen and Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore. Performed in Salurinn in Kópavogur and in Gerđuberg in cooperation with Music for all.

2007: The Track of the Rainbow (Spor regnbogans), a puppett play without words, built on the alto flute piece Spor by Karólína Eiríksdóttir, performed in The Nordic House and Gerđuberg, Reykjavík; Salurinn in Kópavogur and in schools in corporation with Music for All.

2006: Shadow Play (Skuggaleikur) by Karólína Eiríksdóttir, libretto by Sjón, who received the Nordic Council's Prize for Literature in 2005. Built on The Shadow by H. C. Andersen. Performed in, and in cooperation with, The Icelandic Opera. The opera was nominated for the Icelandic Music Award 2006 and for the Nordic Prize for music 2008.

2005: Under the Dragon´s Wing (Undir drekavćng), an opera for small children by Mist Ţorkelsdóttir. Performed at Gerđuberg on Dark Music Days, Reykjavík; Salurinn, Kópavogur and in Vestmanna Islands. Performed in Swedish in Finland and Sweden 2006.

2004: Three Marias (Ţrjár Maríur), a one-woman performance about Maria Callas, Maria Magdalena and Mary Queen of Scots by Sigurbjörg Ţrastardottir, directed by Catriona McPhie.

003: Hang On (Dokađu viđ), an opera for teenagers by Kjartan Olafsson. Libretto based on poems by Theodóra Thóroddsen, Ţorsteinn frá Hamri and Pétur Gunnarsson. Performed in, and in cooperaton with, The Icelandic Opera. The Board of Education published the music and the libretto on the internet as educational material for Icelandic schools. Recorded for CD.

2001: Ophelia's Shadow Theatre by Lárus H. Grímsson, a children's opera built on the story by Michael Ende, performed in, and in cooperation with, The Icelandic Opera. Educational material published by The Board of Education for Icelandic schools.

1999: Man Alive (Mađur lifandi) by Karolina Eiríksdóttir and Árni Ibsen (libretto), an opera based on the medieval morality play Everyman, performed in the Municipal Theatre, Reykjavík. Director Auđur Bjarnadóttir. The Opera was nominated for the Scandinavian Music Award for 2000.

1994: Sónata by Hjálmar H. Ragnarsson, a children´s opera, performed in The Icelandic Opera in Reykjavik. Recorded for CD and Video. The Board of Education holds the rights to use the video, the CD and other educational material in Icelandic schools.

1987: Seven Reflections (Sjö spegilmyndir) by Patrick Kosk, performed in Hlađvarpinn, Reykjavík; in Sjónleikarhusiđ, Torshavn (Faroe Islands); in Gallery F15, Moss (Norway); in Plaza Mimscen, Stockholm; in Sveaborg, Helsinki; and in Pyynikinlinna Art Center in Tampere (Finland), during The Theatre Festival 1987. 1986: The Last Supper, performed in Vasa, Finland and in Poland and Japan.

1983: The Blue Girl (Bláa stúlkan), music by Karólína Eiríksdóttir, performed e.g. in the Art Centre of Reykjavík; Nordic house, Reykjavík; 1984 in Oslo during The Assitaj Festival; in Vasa during Vasa Summer; and in Helsinki. Filmed by Icelandic TV 1984 and also shown in Norwegian TV, Finnish TV and Swedish TV 1985 and '86 and in Cannes 1986.

Solo art exhibitions

2010: Strings, puppets, masks and costumes of The String Theatre, in Culturecenter Gerđuberg, Reykjavík. 2003: New crosses, watercolour in gallery Edinborgarhús, Ísafjörđur. 2002: Red Colour, plexiglass sculptures in gallery Hús Málaranna, Seltjarnarnes.  2001: Cello, plexiglas sculptures, theatre work and own music in Hafnarborg, Hafnarfjörđur. 2000: Blue, plexiglas reliefs and own music in Stöđlakot gallery, Reykjavík. 1999: Collages in Mokka Gallery, Reykjavik. 1998: Squares and crosses in Akureyri. 1996: Costume designs in Reykjavík Municipal theatre, Reykjavik. 1995: Reliefs and own music in gallery Stöđlakot, Reykjavík. 1988: Installations, paintings and performances with own poems and own music in FIM gallery, Reykjavik. 1982: Scenographic works in Reykjavik.

Joint exhibitions

2009: Plexiworks during Artweek in Seltjarnarnes Library. 2000: This is what I want to see, works chosen by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir in Gerđuberg, Reykjavik; 1991 and 1987: Scenographic works in Praque Quadriennale; 1981 and 1979: Scenographic works in Reykjavik.

Educational work: Teaching arts and crafts in Icelandic State Secondary School 1973-'78 and in Higher Secondary School 1984. External Examiner in the textile dept. of Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts 1989.

Courses and Lectures on various aspects of colour theory, scenography and puppet theatre:

Reykjavik: The culturecenter Gerđuberg 2010; Iceland Academy of the Arts 2005; The Reykjavík School of Visual Art 2011, 2003 and 1984; The Drama School of Iceland 1987 and 85; Icelandic Teachers' University1983;

USA: Ohio Northern University 2003;

Norway: The Oslo Academy of Architecture 1997; Norwegian Puppet Theatre Association and University of Plastic Arts 1984 and 83;

Finland: Vasa Summer Art Festival 1985, 83, 82;

Poland: University of Dramatic Art, Wroclaw 1985;

Faroe Islands: The Nordic House, Torshavn 1985.

Administrative work

Chairman of the Scenographic Dept. of the Association of Icelandic Actors 1983-87; Scenographers' representative in the Theatre Association of Iceland 1984 -87 and in the Theatrical Council of Iceland 1984-88 and 1991-97; Artists´ representative in The Icelandic Theatre Museum 2003-2011; Chairman of UNIMA Iceland 2010-2013.


Reykjavik City 2009, 2006, 2003, 2001,1994 and 1982;

Reykjavik Culture City 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2001;

Atelier in Cité International des Art s, Paris 2004;

Seltjarnarnes Artist in 2002;

Artist Salary from Icelandic Cultural Ministry 2007, 2005, 2003, 2000, 1998, 1993, 1988, 1985;

Childrens´s Culture Foundation 2008, 2005, 2004 and 2001;

The Scenographers Union 2006, 2004 and 1998;

Grant for theatre groups from Icelandic Cultural Ministry 2001,1998, 1994, 1987;

Reykjavik Artist 1982;

Various travel grants from Icelandic Cultural Ministry 1978-2010;

Atelier in Suomenlinna (Finland) 1986 for 6 months with travel grant and residential stipendium;

Travel grants from Association of Icelandic Actors 1996,1982 and 2011;

Travel grant from Reykjavík Airbridge 2006;

Nordic Theatre Committee 1987;

Letterstedtska Foreningen 1987 and 1984;

Icelandic Finnish Culture Fund 1986;

Finnish Cultural Ministry 1987;

Stockholm Cultural Committee 1987;

Cultural Committee of The Stockholm Regional Council 1987;

Three Icelandic cultural associations in Finland (SIDS, IRIS, ISLANDIA) 1987.

Works in public ownership

Iceland Academy of Fine Arts; The University in Ada, Ohio, USA; The National Theatre, Reykjavik; The Municipal Theatre, Reykjavik; Hafnarborg Artmuseum; Hafnarfjordur Music School; Seltjarnarnes Art Collection; Icelandair Art Museum; Leikminjasafn Islands; The Aalborg Theatre; The National Theatre of The Faroe Islands; Icelandic State Television; Freed center for the Performing Arts (Ada, Ohio, USA; The Theatre of Possibilities, Iceland; The Akureyri Theatre.