City Guide: Reykjavík


A guide to Reykjavík by Salóme R. Gunnarsdóttir who plays Blundhilde in F*ck the Polar Bears.

Best place to see new plays, new work and why…

Tjarnarbíó (The Pond-Cinema) is a little theatre by Reykjavík’s central pond (hence the name). Most of Iceland’s independent theatre scene has, through the years, been roaming from place to place, finding spaces for each new piece that emerges, but since the renovation of the old cinema by the pond, the independent scene now has the lovely option of this black box theatre, smack in the city’s centre, with a great bunch of people running it who are ambitious and nurturing.

Best place to have a coffee and learn lines?

Oh boy, this is a hard one. It really depends on how much work you want to get done. Reykjavík has a good bunch of cosy cafés (with dangerous but yummy free refill on drip-coffee), and in most of them I will probably meet a few people I know and fall into accidental conversations. For do-not-disturb sessions, I like to go to Kaffibrennslan, a small corrugated iron house on the main street. Upstairs is calm, with just a few basic tables and chairs, and a lovely window for people-watching when my brain needs a break.

The playwriting/theatre artistic community in Reykjavík is…


Salóme in F*ck the Polar Bears

Salóme in F*ck the Polar Bears

Where would you go to get inspired?

Is this just about Reykjavík? Because I would leave the city. Well…. “city”.

Three Reykjavík Essentials:

1) Swimming pools. We’re good at swimming pools. Sit in warm water and saunas and listen to old people discussing politics in a language you don’t understand.
2) Standing in line outside an ice-cream shop in the middle of winter. We do that for some reason.
3) Go see a local band in a café somewhere. Or better yet, go to Iceland Airwaves and see bands in all the cafés everywhere.

Favourite local writers or artists?

There’s a small publisher in Iceland called Meðgönguljóð, or Partus Press. They’re a group of people with a passion for words, who give emerging writers just enough support to get some of their works published, through simple and beautiful homemade bookbinding and small events. I think that’s wonderful.

Where would you go to escape the city?

Anywhere, really. Find a friend with a car and see how far you can go before you need to be home. Just leave the city and breathe in some mountains, moss, rivers, old lava flows, black beaches, caves, whatever crosses your path. But always respect nature, it is as dangerous as it is beautiful.

And could you find us an image that represents Reykjavík for you?

The neighborhood I grew up in. The mountain and the darkness lit up by the snow. This will always be home.


F*ck the Polar Bears runs here at the Bush til 24 October. To find out more and book tickets click here.