The Way Forward: Armchair Adventurer Series Returns with Nansen of the North at Cascades Theatrical Company in Bend

(Photo above: FRIDTJOF NANSEN, POLAR EXPLORER | courtesy of Armchair Adventure)

Nansen of the North will be performed April 14 at the Cascades Theatrical Company, 143 NW Greenwood Avenue in Bend. Doors open at 7pm.

In 1893, a Norwegian explorer sailed his ship to the New Siberian Islands and deliberately allowed it to be frozen into the Arctic pack ice. Until that moment, being frozen into the pack ice was essentially a death sentence. The tremendous forces of the Arctic ice had crushed and sank dozens of ships and sent the sailors on board them to icy graves. But this ship was different. This ship was The Fram, which means “forward” in Norwegian, and it was the strongest wooden vessel ever contrived. Specially built with a rounded hull and two pointed ends, Fram was designed to pop up out of the clutches of the ice. There was no place for the ice to get hold of her, no way she could be crushed. The explorer was Fridtjof Nansen, who had theorized the existence of an east-to-west current across the Arctic Ocean. His radical plan was to work with that current and allow it to carry him straight to the greatest geographical prize of his day: the North Pole.

Fridtjof Nansen was an originator, an outside-the-box thinker, a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. Before Shackleton and Amundsen and Scott ever dreamed of the regions of ice and snow, Nansen emulated the ways of the Greenland Inuit and became the father of polar travel, the oracle, the one who showed them all how it could be done. Nansen, the twelve-time Norwegian cross-country ski champion. Nansen, a pioneer in neurobiology who described the structure of the central nervous system. Nansen, who made the first-ever crossing of Greenland on skis. Nansen, who locked his ship in the ice and set a new record for the Farthest North. Statesman. Diplomat. Humanitarian. One of the founders of the League of Nations. The League’s first High Commissioner for Refugees. Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nansen, who famously said, “It is better to go skiing and to think about God than it is to go to church and think about skiing.”

Nansen of the North is the seventh installment of Portland Story Theater’s highly successful Armchair Adventurer series, which transports audiences into the scenes of some of history’s greatest adventure and survival stories. Begun in 2008 with the highly acclaimed Shackleton’s Antarctic Nightmare, the series has gone on to include Alone on the Wide Shores of the World, the story of Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic journey; Polar Opposites, the epic tale of Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott and their race for the Pole; as well as recounting the infamous and mysterious 1885 murder trial of John “Babbacombe” Lee, “the man who could not be hanged;” The Essex, the real-life story of a whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820 and was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick; and the story of the Ross Sea Party, those valiant men on the other side of Antarctica who gave everything they had to lay down the precious depots of food and fuel for Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic party. Carefully researched and enthusiastically performed, Howard maintains that Nansen of the North “…is not history lesson, but a gripping story.”

Nansen of the North will be performed April 14 at the Cascades Theatrical Company, 143 NW Greenwood Avenue, in Bend, Oregon. Doors open at 7:00. The performance begins at 8 pm. Visit for more details.

Portland Story Theater is a 501(c)3 and was launched in 2004 to bring the urban community together to hear and tell true stories that stimulate the mind and rouse the heart. Portland Story Theater uses a unique collaborative approach to co-create story theater that is drawn from real-life experiences. Authentic. Honest. Urban. Portland Story Theater is building empathy, compassion and understanding by transforming our community narrative, one story at a time. 

For all media inquiries in reference to Nansen of the North please contact Portland Story Theater, 1-503-284-2226 or by email at

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