New Plays from Finland

Juha Jokela

Juha Jokela (born 1970) is a modern Finnish playwright whose surprising humour, compelling narratives and nuanced characterizations are tightly bound to the present moment. His characters and their surrounding worlds vary greatly, with some of his texts taking place in the world of business while others are in a more abstract, spiritual realm; the combining factor is Jokela’s understanding and portrayal of his characters’ inner lives and personalities.

Jokela began his career in television, from which he started to become more widely recognized for co-writing the tv-show Pulkkinen (1999-2002) which won the Venla Award in 2000 for best comedy series. His first play, Mobile Horror (2003), received great critical acclaim, and his 2006 play named The Fundamentalist (Fundamentalisti) received the Nordic Drama Award. Jokela's highly anticipated play Performance Economy (Esitystalous, 2010) premiered in Espoo City Theatre. This satire dealt with performance as a basic element of society, politics and business. Performance Economy 2 (Esitystalous 2, 2013) dealt with the same issues, but instead focused on workshopping a brand and a story for the city of Espoo. The trilogy’s third and final part, Performance Economy 3 - Radio (Esitystalous 3 - Radio, 2018), focused on transformation and the power of the voice within society.

His most recent play, Dosentit (rough translation: The Docents, 2020) will be premiering in the Finnish National Theatre. During the 2020 pandemic, Jokela started a virtual theatre group named Koronankohottamat (rough translation: Uplifted by Coronawhich provides people access to alternate, digital forms of theatre through social media during the quarantine. 

Plays