Be a wolf

A story about a struggle of the mind, madness and redemption

Be a wolf! is a monologue for a large stage which received enormous attention when it premiered in Iceland in the middle of a pandemic. It received unanimous praise from critics and audiences, every show was sold out and had long waiting lists. The show just celebrated it’s seventieth show at the National Theatre of Iceland and is still running. The play won numerous awards at the Icelandic theatre awards Griman.

A personal, provocative and deranged show!

e a wolf! takes us on an insane journey throughdangerous parts of the mind, into a world of anarchy and desperation and back again. We gain insight into thestruggle of a man who manages to break out of a vicious cycle and turn his most horrifying experience into the strength that is needed in order to be able to change the whole system.

Script and promo package

Here you can download an english version of the script!

Here you can download a short promo package!


About the author

The production is based on the book Be a Wolf!, a new autobiographical narritive by Héðinn Unnsteinsson, which has received well-earned attention and was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Awards. The author has been active in issues concerning mental health for over two decades, advocating as an user and ex-user of the service, working for WHO (World Health Organization) as a technical officer and the icelandic ministry of health among others. For the last ten years Héðinn has been a senior policy analyst within the Prime Minister‘s Office.

Comments from the audience

„Tonight, I found out why they built the National Theatre of Iceland back in the day. It was so we could see Be a Wolf! with Björn Thors and everyone on his team, audience members included. The National Theatre split open, broke and blossomed. What we got to see was humanity, the humane and the collective.“

Elísabet Kristín Jökulsdóttir / Writer and recipient of the Icelandic Literary Awards 2021

„Theatre, at last. And such celebration, such generosity. Such acting! There is a great deal of compassion and resort in this play – for all of us!“

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir / Former Mayor of Reykjavík, Foreign Minister and Parliamentarian

The National theatre of Iceland


The NTI performs around thirty productions each season (new productions, re-premieres, co-productions and guest performances), comprising a varied repertoire of new Icelandic works, new foreign works, Icelandic and foreign classics, musicals, dance pieces, puppet theatre and children’s productions. The theatre produces around twenty new productions each year, and also collaborates with independent theatre and dance groups. The theatre serves an important role in the development of new Icelandic plays, and aims to develop youngsters’ appreciation of the theatre through productions especially intended for children and youth, and special visits to the theatre.

Ensemble and production

rnThe NTI is an ensemble theatre with around 35 actors employed on a permanent basis, and also works with actors with temporary assignments. The theatre runs its own efficient production departments that manufacture sets, costumes and wigs, as well as productive sound and lighting departments. A normal rehearsal period is eight weeks, the last four weeks on stage. The theatre works closely with schools on all education levels.rn


rnThe NTI is situated in downtown Reykjavík. Today the theatre performs in five separate venues: the Main Stage (Stóra svidid, 500 seats), the Black Box (Kassinn, 130 seats), the Small Stage for Children (Kúlan, 80 seats), The experimental space the Attic (Loftið, 70 seats) and The Theatre Cellar Cabaret Club (Leikhúskjallarinn, 100-120 seats). The theatre offers a variety of refreshments for guests. A little theatre book shop is run in the foyer.

International collaboration

The NTI collaborates internationally, notably with renowned directors and designers. Among international directors who have recently enriched the Icelandic theatre scene are Yaël Farber (My Brilliant Friend 2021), Benedict Andrews (Macbeth 2013, King Lear 2010), Stefan Metz (Tartuffe 2019, View from the Bridge 2016, Eyvindur and Halla 2015, The Crucible 2014, The Caucasian Chalk Circle 1999) and Rimas Tuminas (The Seagull 1993, Don Juan 1995, Three Sisters 1997, The Cherry Orchard 2000, Richard III 2003). Other collaborations are under way.rnrnIcelandic directors that work closely with the NTI have also gained international prestige, as theatre and film directors, among them Baltasar Kormákur (Adrift, Everest), Benedikt Erlingsson (Nordic Council Film Prize for Horses and Men and Woman at War), Una Þorleifsdóttir (Theatr im. Stefana Zeromskiego w Kielcach), Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Young Vic, Lyric Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, American Repertory Theater) and Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson (Volksbühne Berlin, Schauspiel Hannover).


The NTI often tours its productions around Iceland and many productions have also toured abroad, among them Tragedy at the Worlds Stages, Kennedy Center, Gerpla at The Bergen International Festival, Shimmer the Silver Fish at international children festivals in Sweden and Russia, The Sea Museum at the Centre Dramatique National d’Orléans and Peer Gynt at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo, Barbican Centre in London and Bozar in Brussels.

A diversity strategy for the years ahead

Gender equality, diversity and staff policy It is the shared ambition of the NTI´s staff that the work ethics at the theatre shall be outstanding. The employee team has a vision of a collective approach in the making of theatre, and makes every endeavor for a friendly and encouraging atmosphere in the workplace. The NTI strives for upholding equality and cultivating diversity among its staff and audiences, and in its artistic objectives. Gender equality is at the heart of the personnel policy. The theatre has an official gender equality plan and received an official Equal Pay certification in 2020. The National theatre is working on a diversity strategy for the years ahead. In 2018 a Pact of Communication was co-created by the NTI staff and now serves as a communal code of conduct within the workplace.

Artistic director, new artistic team and changes in 2020

The director of The National Theatre, from January 2020, is Mr. Magnus Geir Thordarson. Soon after his appointment a new artistic team and management was introduced. In the spring of 2020 a new strategy and organizational chart was introduced. Now, enhanced importance is placed on new writing, Icelandic work, international collaboration and the development of new audiences and education. In the autumn a new laboratory, Loftid, was opened, Kjallarinn became a new theatre-club-cabaret-venue, a Lunchtime theatre was introduced and the whole front of house was renovated with a new restaurant-area intended to offer the audiences a richer experience.

Opnunartími miðasölu

Miðasala Þjóðleikhússins er opin frá kl. 14 – 18 og til kl. 20.00 á sýningarkvöldum.

Hverfisgata 19, 101 reykjavík
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