Ghent will be transforming the famous play by Maurice Maeterlinck into an exhibition.

Together with the Libris Literature Prize winner Bernard Wulf and the actors of NTGent, Saint Peter’s Abbey will take on the challenge to bring Maeterlinck's L'Oiseau bleu to life in an original way. Like the pioneering theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky did in Moscow in 1908.

At its first performance L’Oiseau bleu captivated audiences and took the world by storm. It was translated into twenty-five languages and is still immensely popular from Russia to Japan. In 1911 it persuaded the jury in Stockholm to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to Maeterlinck.

After World War I the opera adaptation of the work in New York resulted in a true Blue Bird craze, which was only slowed down by the Walt Disney Studios. From the silent film by Maurice Tourneur in 1918 to Gust Van den Berghe's Blue Bird in 2010, its universal story proved to be a source of inspiration for several directors.

Now, and for the first time ever, St Peter's Abbey will present Maeterlinck's philosophical fairy tale as an exhibition. In L'Oiseau bleu. Op zoek naar geluk (Blue Bird. In Search of Happiness) visitors can discover the timeless masterpiece not from their theatre seats, but as they wander through a stage set design with the text by Maurice Maeterlinck on their audio guide. To achieve this, designs for the earliest performances discovered in Moscow, London, New York and Brussels, were used.

The exhibition takes you back in time and completely immerses you by way of word and image in the fairy tale dream of two children, who set out in search of the Blue Bird. L'Oiseau bleu. Op zoek naar geluk is a blue extravaganza but also an initiation into Maeterlinck's ideas about the mystery of life.

L’Oiseau bleu. Chasing Happiness is part of the comprehensive programme of the Maeterlinck Year 2011 programme, organised by the Department of Culture of the City of Ghent as part of the 100th anniversary of this literary Nobel prize.