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AN ARCTIC REQUIEM
Ice Ice Baby, the latest production from Jalostamo2, sees polar bear twosome Fritz and Knut spurred into action, because time is running out.
LOVEABLE IDIOTS AND ECOLOGICAL SERIAL KILLERS
A new dramatisation of Yuval Noah Harari’s bestselling book Sapiens takes its creative cue from nature documentaries.
How do you get up close and personal with a polar bear without disturbing them in their natural habitat? It turns out that the fate of the world’s largest land mammal has been to end up as a grim symbol of the ecocide taking place right now. Having decided that the time has come to move beyond symbols, the Finnish theatre-makers behind Ice Ice Baby are making the most of the dramatic means at their disposal and putting the bears and the people together on stage. This is not a story where humankind is set to come out well.
Something needs to be done, and Ice Ice Baby, a play-slash-road-trip-tale, is here to show us just what that means. This Arctic requiem draws on the creative team’s visit to the Norwegian mountains and Svalbard, the birthplace of the polar bears, Fritz and Knut. TINFO spoke to writer and director Anna Lipponen, who is also one of Jalostamo2’s artistic directors.
You could argue that, across the west at least, the polar bear is widely recognised as a symbol of climate change. In Ice Ice Baby, polar bears Fritz and Knut decide that the time has come for them to take action. Tell me a little bit about them?
Anna Lipponen: Yeah, I mean, the polar bear is certainly quite well established as a symbol of climate change, but if it was up to me, we’d replace it with an obese, fast fashion-wearing, gluttonous meat-eater that drives 100 metres so they can buy the exotic fruit that’s been flown across the world to rot on the supermarket shelf. I get that the polar bear is being held up because you need to be able to evoke some sort of emotional response in people, but the thing is that we’re getting to this point now where we just really need to act and act fast. Can you tell I’m getting all worked up already.
Fritz and Knut act off the back of their intuition, they’re animals after all. They rely on their instincts and take action, because they have to. That’s sort of the starting point for the play really. I felt quite moved recently when I read in the paper about the polar bears that had taken over a village somewhere in Russia because they were struggling for food. The human inhabitants then responded to this by declaring a state of emergency. Emergencies are an interesting concept, of course, because they’re totally man-made. That’s what we’re trying to talk about. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that polar bears have no natural predators except one another and us human beings with our guns and our climate disasters.
Like when I take out my mobile phone to take a photo, but the battery can’t cope with the cold or there’s no reception.
The way we present Fritz and Knut on stage does give them some human characteristics, but, more than anything, I want to show them as two polar bears that are trying their hardest to survive in this man-made world of oat milk and Rubik’s cubes. I want to show something quintessentially animal on stage, but also to represent the human way of seeing that animal. We do this by framing the story around a road trip; us humans, we travel, and polar bears can cover up to 50 km a day and spend hours swimming from ice floe to ice floe. That’s the link between the two that I’ve decided to explore and so the story takes us from Helsinki, via Norway, to Svalbard, where the pair were born.
You describe the play as an Arctic requiem. That has a real sense of finality about it. Not even oat milk is going to get us out of this one. Who or what is the requiem in remembrance of?
AL: I find the requiem a very interesting concept culturally, right down to the traditional structure of it. As I was writing this play, I spent a long time looking into Mozart’s Requiem and the sort of cultural tradition that it emerged from. I think it’s a really great way of summing up what humanity is all about. I’ve included it as a sort of subtitle, because the play also features Jouko, the last human on earth, and his motorhome.
Motorhomes are another thing that I think really manage to express something very fundamental about the human condition. I found it comforting and heartening somehow to write a story where everything is turned upside down, and it’s the human being that’s coming to the end of their journey, and the polar bears are seen heading back to the lands of their forefathers in Svalbard, returning to their very own paradise.
There is also an allegorical dimension to the play, where a dead polar bear is re-born as a white dog and after the white dog dies it comes back in the form of a white dove. So, to answer your question, this requiem is written in remembrance of all white creatures, whether hairy or feathered, and to some extent of us human beings, as we die of our selfishness and the sheer impossibility of our chosen way of life.
Many species are currently facing extinction, our climate is changing and the natural world is changing with it. We’re approaching the limit of what the earth can take. How do you see the role of human beings in all of this?
AL: I see a shift in the power dynamics; the animals taking back control from the humanimal. When I stop and really thing about what’s going on, I end up with this brittle, powerless feeling. I think, how is it possible for us to be so selfish that our actions are leading to this constant destruction of animal and plant life. How is it possible for us to still be navel-gazing like this?
I would argue that it’s something that’s bigger than all of us. Something extraordinary.
And then you leave Helsinki behind and take yourself off to the Norwegian mountains, and you look around and you’re reminded of just how tiny we really are in the scheme of things. That’s the reason we chose to shoot in the mountains. I have this need to be surrounded by something that is far greater than anything us humans have ever managed to create.
Why do you think you need that? Are we even allowed to want that?
AL: I guess some people turn to religion to experience that sense of grandeur, but what’s sacred for me is running or hiking up a mountain, or in winter skiing up it and then snowboarding down. Being small, being part of nature and putting yourself totally at its mercy. And also being respectful of that fact.
When I’m in the mountains, I always manage to tap into this sense of peace and calm that makes me really happy. It actually makes me laugh sometimes, when I find myself on top of a mountain and suddenly realise how tiny I am. Like when I take out my mobile phone to take a photo, but the battery can’t cope with the cold or there’s no reception. That’s usually the point where I remember to open my eyes and really take in the landscape. And breathe. To take a closer look and to realise that us human beings, we’re like a fart in the Sahara, as the Finns put it, just vanishingly insignificant. All of this existed long before we came along and will hopefully be here long after we’ve gone.
I often wonder whether animals feel the same sort of emotions that we do. Like, do they have special spots that remind them of something meaningful? I’ve watched my own two dogs on our various trips and, I’m sure I’m anthropomorphising wildly here, but I really want to believe that when Lumi, who’s 8 and who’s spent her whole life hillwalking with us, when she gets to the top that it means something to her, that she really gets it. I mean, does the air smell different to her too? Can she make sense of the views? Or does she just experience that moment in some physical, bodily way? We can’t know either way, but it’s clear that something happens to her in those moments. I would argue that it’s something that’s bigger than all of us. Something extraordinary.
We have no polar bears in Finland, but they do have them in Svalbard. In terms of Ice Ice Baby, what were you hoping to find in Norway and in Svalbard?
AL: Nature. That rugged majesty you get in northern Norway. That force that’s much greater than us. Our lighting designer Petri Tuhkanen and I have spent a few weeks in Norway every year for many years now. It’s an important place for us.
This whole thing started off a couple of years ago when Mama Laika, our incredibly ancient motorhome broke down and left us stranded up there. I thought it was apposite with the whole road trip thing to show human beings coming a bit of a cropper when the temperature drops and their battery freezes.
Visiting Svalbard didn’t sit completely easily with me because of the air travel it will involve and issues around tourism as well, but when the opportunity presented itself for July through an artistic residency programme, I just had to go for it. It’s going to be an experience that I think will allow us to generate huge amounts of really unique material for the stage.
The plan is to spend a week shooting up there. But I am nervous. I want to do everything I can to respect the polar bear habitats and make sure that we explore the area without disturbing a single bear. The good thing is that we’re working with professionals we know we can trust. So yes, northern Norway and Svalbard will certainly be very much a presence, both practically and thematically, and will form an important visual dimension for the play as well.
What I want to do is bring a little bit of that gorgeous nature, that sacred beauty and that indescribable feeling with me and put it right there on stage.
Jalostamo2 is one of five theatre companies chosen to take part in Theatre Info Finland’s (TINFO) MOTI project.
Jalostamo2 is a Helsinki-based theatre company. Their earlier artistic project, Narrien laiva (Ship of fools) was a collaboration with the NO99 group from Tallinn. Jalostamo2 is led by co-directors Anna Lipponen, an actor and writer, and lighting designer Petri Tuhkanen.
Jalostamo2 seeks to present artistically uncompromising theatre that remains in constant dialogue with contemporary society. The theatre company sets out to create plays that are not restricted to any one language, format or venue.
Ice Ice Baby opens in Helsinki on 21 November 2019.
(TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 20 May 2019)
Homo narrans, the storytelling human and ultimate survivor, represents a threat to the existence of itself and others because of the species’ hyperbolic desire for control. As it turns out, the immense verbal dexterity that once allowed Sapiens to survive now threatens the very future of our planet.
In a breath-taking feat of dramatic construction, a group of Helsinki-based theatre makers have taken the hundreds of thousands of years of human history compressed into Yuval Noah Harari’s 500-page Sapiens and condensed them further into just 1 hour and 40 minutes of storytelling for the Finnish National Theatre’s Main Stage.
TINFO spoke to director Anni Klein to find out more about the play, which is due to open in autumn 2019.
Anni Klein: Our play is based on a non-fiction title by the historian Yuval Noah Harari. The subtitle we’ve chosen describes it as “the story of a storytelling species”. What we’re doing is focusing on the ability of human beings to believe in fiction, in make-believe. According to Harari, a turning point for the human race came around 70,000–30,000 years ago, when a chance mutation meant that our species developed the ability to speak of abstract things and to tell stories. The new realities that emerged through these stories gave humankind the ability to work together, ultimately creating a force that is as creative as it is destructive. In his book, Harari recounts the history of humankind through the stories that we tell, showing how they both describe and shape our reality and how the stories themselves have evolved over time.
The production is perhaps best described as a nature documentary about the human species. It’s narrated by Jarmo Heikkinen, the Finnish David Attenborough. What history books and nature documentaries have in common is that both are attempts at telling a story, at bringing together complex and random events and rendering them meaningful and manageable. We found that when we combined theatre, the place where we all gather to imagine things together, with the nature documentary genre, it allowed us to unlock interesting new perspectives on Harari’s book.
The play shows human beings as loveable idiots and ecological serial killers and demonstrates how our particular brand of cruelty arises from our habit of classifying, controlling and dominating our living environment.
Authority, control, domination. Their opposite forces might be chaos, disorder and confusion. As a theatre-maker, how have you responded to your own attempts to impose some sort of creative structure on a topic that seems to defy all attempts at control?
AK: The human desire to control, to manage, to order and to classify is one of the key themes we explore in this project. All the action that you see on stage is driven by that desire. I could maybe also add that our nigh-on impossible task of forging a drama out of Harari’s nearly 500 pages of material is a pretty accurate reflection of the wider dramaturgical process that, by the time we open, will have been going on for two years.
It’s also true that when you’re putting a performance together, applying the dramaturgical thought process to something, you’re always, by definition, searching for some sort of structure, attempting to give shape to something that is inherently amorphous and disorderly.
To quote the play’s blurb, “humankind is behaving more irresponsibly than ever before”. What sort of vision for our future can we expect to glimpse at the National Theatre this autumn?
AK: This play takes audiences from the dawn of time to the very brink of now, right into the midst of the flux that we currently find ourselves in. Harari writes that Sapiens faces an existential threat from ecological crises, nuclear war and genetic and technological modification. Although we won’t be presenting any visions for the future as such, I do hope that the play will make people stop and think about where we are headed. Looking back, it’s clear that, as a species, we’ve managed to achieve almost everything we’ve decided to want. To quote Harari, now is the time for us to take a moment and consider what it is we want to want.
Sapiens opens in Helsinki on 11 September 2019. Preview performances will be taking place at the Performing HEL showcase 29 August–1 September 2019. Sapiens is co-produced by the Finnish National Theatre and the W A U H A U S collective.
W A U H A U S is a Helsinki-based arts collective, active in today’s performance field. They create their own work in various spaces, from small experimental theatres to huge stadiums. The works of W A U H A U S take on many different forms, but are often centred around materiality, the body of the audience member, empathy and strong audio-visual concepts.
The members of W A U H A U S are director Anni Klein, scenographer Samuli Laine, choreographer Jarkko Partanen and sound designers Jussi Matikainen and Heidi Soidinsalo.
W A U H A U S is one of five theatre companies chosen to take part in Theatre Info Finland’s (TINFO) MOTI project.
(TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 23 May 2019)
Oblivia premieres at the Hangö Teaterträff festival in Finland in June with Light & Easy - a work about being human.
The Hangö Teaterträff festival will feature the premiere of Oblivia’s new performance Light & Easy on June 8-9, 2019. It is a performance about time, death and loss, that is seizing and cherishing the moment. On stage, the three performers Timo Fredriksson, Anna-Maija Terävä and Annika Tudeer are creating a strong vocal soundscape.
Light & Easy is also an homage to Oblivia’s founding member Anna Krzystek, who died in a traffic accident in autumn 2017. Anna’s sudden death shocked the company. The performance deals with the grief and is a step towards the time without Anna among us.
“We started off by improvising around the theme - lightness - to see what was going on inside us at that very moment. The funny hand-movements that occurred to me stemmed from Anna in the performance the Room, that we made in 2002 together with Anna and Timo. Strong corporeal memories of Anna’s movements kept coming to me during the process. Some came from her early solos in the series The Wait and her favourite sound world: the white noise of a transistor radio. For a brief moment I became Anna. Then, the performance proceeds towards new landscapes. A deeply glowing ellipse was the sense of the emotion during that passing moment. Grief has many faces”, says Annika Tudeer.
Light & Easy is a part of a bigger whole: a series of experimental music theatre performances taking feelings and emotions as their theme. The next work Verdrängen, Verdrängen, Verdrängen is dealing with the mechanisms of and associations to the German word ”verdrängen” (to repress, to displace). The performance premiers in February 2020.
Oblivia, a Helsinki based performance company, was founded in 2000 and collaborates with national and international venues, festivals and artists exploring the world that we are living in through contemporary performance. The contact with the audience is at the core of the company’s work, and the significance of how the audience and performers can be together has only increased during the years. Oblivia’s performances are places for reflection and an invitation to imagine and perceive.
Devising & performing: Timo Fredriksson, Anna-Maija Terävä and Annika Tudeer
Costume design: Tua Helve
Light design: Meri Ekola
Premiere | Hangö Teaterträff | 8.6.2019 at 16:15
Second performance: 9.6.2019 at 12:00
Address: Astrea, Vuorikatu 4, 10900 Hanko
Duration: approx. 60 min
Preview | zeitraumexit, Mannheim | November 2018
The performances continue during autumn 2019 in Helsinki
Inkeri Rönnberg / Hangö Teaterträff
Katja Tolonen, Communications Agency Röd
katja(a)rodrod.fi , +358 50 492 2017
Helsinki-based theatre company sadsongscomplex:fi specialises in new drama and adaptations. In recent years, the company’s takes on Sofi Oksanen’s Purge, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Gambler and Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya along with Jari Juutinen’s Juliet! Juliet! and Kristian Smeds’ Sad Songs from the Heart of Europe have played to audiences across Europe.
The People’s Theatre in Celje, Slovenia is shortly due to stage Finnish novelist Sofi Oksanen’s hugely successful Purge. Directed and adapted by Jari Juutinen, the scenography, costumes, lighting and sound are designed by the sadsongscomplex:fi team, with actors from SLG Celje appearing on stage. Translated from Finnish into Slovenian by Julija Potrc and, the play is set to open in February 2020.
The Academic Drama Theatre in Novgorod, Russia, approached sadsongscomplex:fi to commission a Chekov-themed dramatic triptych. Of these three plays, Uncle Vanya was created in collaboration with young local actors, and the Gambler appeared at Novgorod’s Dostoyevsky Festival in 2018.
“We just go where the wind takes us,” is how artistic director, playwright and director Jari Juutinen describes the company’s approach to forging links internationally.
Festival appearances and other performances are always an excellent opportunity to meet new people, and sadsongscomplex:fi have found that these encounters often lead to further invitations. It is how the company ended up appearing at the Avignon and Edinburgh festivals and how Jari Juutinen himself came to direct at the Liberty Theatre in Tbilisi, Georgia. For its part, Sad Songs from the Heart of Europe has thus far been performed around 150 times in a number of different countries and in a variety of languages by actor Liisa Sofia Pöntinen, and the play now acts as a calling card for the company.
Sadsongskomplex:fi’s next smash hit may well turn out to be Juliet! Juliet!, a dramatic monologue that delivers a searing critique of money and its corrupting influence on the human psyche. Written by Jari Juutinen, it was performed at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York in 2018. A silent adaptation of the play is currently being produced in collaboration with a theatre in Madrid.
(TINFO 23 May 2019)
Theatre Info Finland (TINFO) carried out a survey called Power, Responsibility and Equal Treatment for employees in the fields of circus, dance and theatre. Its purpose was to examine the achievement of equality and equal treatment and the occurrence of emotional abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment in these fields. In the light of the survey results, performing arts are a much less equal and non-hierarchical field than is generally believed. Circus, dance and theatre can be seen as fields where employees are exposed to the risk of mistreatment. Employees in these high-risk fields often have temporary employment contracts or are hired to carry out specific assignments.
Judging from the survey results, the most serious issues are related to the high prevalence of emotional abuse and discrimination. In addition, there is lack of intervention into inappropriate behaviour: too often, people keep quiet and ignore the situation.
Of the respondents, 20% had experienced emotional abuse often or continuously, and 13% had experienced discrimination because of their age or labour market status, for example. More than 10 people out of the 526 survey respondents, or 2%, had experienced continuous sexual harassment. More than half (53.5–57.0%) of these cases had not been addressed in the workplace.
The respondents were also asked how often others had been subjected to mistreatment and to assess their own behaviour. The level of self-awareness of inappropriate, discriminatory behaviour and sexual harassment is low in these fields. Of the respondents, 21% said they had subjected others to emotional abuse (20% infrequently, 1% frequently), 11% had subjected others to discrimination (10% infrequently, 1% frequently) and 6% had subjected others to sexual abuse (infrequently).
Of those who had experienced discrimination, 52% reported their age as the reason, 51% reported another reason, such as personal qualities, and 44% reported their labour market status as the reason. Those who had experienced discrimination because of their appearance (18%) were found among dancers and actors in particular. Age discrimination had been experienced both by young and older employees in various professions and by women in particular. Performing artists are subjected to equality issues related to age, women more often than men.
The number of respondents in the survey was 526. Of the respondents, 68% were women and 28% were men, while 2% did not want to disclose their gender. Finnish was the native language of 88% of the respondents, while 10% were native speakers of Swedish and 2% were native speakers of another language. The questions were available in Finnish, Swedish and English and could be answered in one of these languages.
The respondents represented a broad range of performing artists working in the fields of circus, dance and theatre; employees involved in planning work in the arts; technical and administrative employees; and employees involved in teaching and research in various labour market positions. The questions were based on the premise that permanent and full-time employment contracts are just one form of employment and not the norm.
Employees in the fields of circus, dance and theatre are increasingly moving between labour market positions under various forms of work and employment: fixed-term employment relationships, gigs, hourly rates, rehearsal-specific or performance-specific rates, grants and self-employment. All of these fields suffer from and struggle with insufficient funding and increased efficiency requirements. Perceived influence is related to the employment relationship.
Permanent employment under a collective agreement means better equality, while an uncertain labour market position exposes employees to the risk of mistreatment. Inappropriate behaviour and the abuse of power are easier to address under the security of a permanent employment relationship.
Many respondents reported problems related to financial and structural inequality in the field of performing arts. Frequently reported issues included inequality in education and a hierarchical and non-transparent work culture, as well as non-transparent recruitment and salary policies. Employers’ statutory responsibilities, as well as statutory equality and non-discrimination programmes, which large employees are required to have in place, were regarded as ineffective formalities that are not monitored in any way.
There is a severe shortfall of information and identification field of performing arts. Despite legislation, as well as instructions and operating processes that are easy to find in case of emotional abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment, some workplaces are helpless or people do not know how to address such situations. The respondents to the Power, Responsibility and Equal Treatment survey stressed the importance of solidarity and peer support in situations where the employer does not seek to resolve issues.
The special nature of work in the arts has been used as an excuse to condone misconduct silently but consciously. The results of the survey provide us with information and suggestions to make our work culture healthier. This is a question of collective responsibility, as well as decision-making and guidelines related to cultural and art policies.
The results of the Power, Responsibility and Equal Treatment survey are only the beginning of the work that needs to be done. The survey was not carried out just to gather information; its results are intended to provoke discussion and, most importantly, action.
The survey report lists measures to create a framework for high-risk work in the field of performing arts. The suggested measures are intended for providers of public funding, decision-makers in cultural policy, various types of workplace communities in the field, supervisors and providers of education and information.
Equality and equal treatment must be taken into account more extensively than before in policies and decision-making. The measures are intended to make work in the field of performing arts more equal and equitable. The work to increase equality and eliminate discrimination must aim for a transparent, fair and ethically sustainable work culture.
TINFO will carry out additional small-scale studies based on the survey response material, which offers plenty of opportunities for further research.
The partners doing the survey with Theatre Info Finland (TINFO) include Centralförbundet för Finlands Svenska Teaterorganisationer (CEFISTO), Trade Union for Theatre and Media Finland (Teme), the Finnish Actors Union, the Finnish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, the Theatre Centre, the Association of Finnish Theatres (STEFI), Globe Art Point, Dance Info Finland and Circus Info Finland.
Appendix, in Finnish:
Power, Responsibility and Equal Treatment – Equality and equal treatment in performing arts (Theatre Info Finland TINFO, 2019)
Enquiries about the survey:
Theatre Info Finland (TINFO), Hanna Helavuori, Director, hanna(at)tinfo.fi, tel. +358 44 363 1722, or
Mikko Karvinen, Research and Administrative Coordinator, mikko(at)tinfo.fi, tel. +358 50 353 7874
360 Degrees – Focus on Lighting Design by Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy covers the history of lighting design and its education in Finland. It also explores visual perception, conceptions of transparency, the relationship between designer and technology, as well as the professional identity of lighting designers. The editors are lighting designers Tomi Humalisto, Kimmo Karjunen & Raisa Kilpeläinen, all working at the Theatre Academy's Degree Programme in Lighting Design.
The book was originally published in 2017 to celebrate 30 years of lighting design education in Finland. It is now available in English at Uniarts Helsinki’s library and online.
Art Collective KOKIMO has the privilege to be the curator of the Finnish entries for this year’s edition of the PQ, the largest international exhibition and event showcasing the most interesting examples of performance design, scenography and theatre architecture, taking place from June 6 till 16 in Prague.
As the national exhibition of Finland at the Countries and Regions Exhibition KOKIMO proudly presents Fluid Stages, an exhibition concept, that consists of a site-sensitive exhibition and a performative installation inside the Industrial Palace and of seven independent performative satellite artworks around Prague. The satellites are: Siru Kosonen, Hannah Maria Ouramo & Markus Lindén: Suck My Chair (2019); Milla Martikainen, Kati Raatikainen, Sofia Simola, Petra Vehviläinen & Eero Erkamo: Acts of Care (2017); Anna Nykyri, Félix Blume, Veli Lehtovaara & Andrea Valencia: Sonic Presence of an Absent Choreography (2019); Kalle Rasinkangas: World Space (2019); Alexander Salvesen, Eero Nieminen, Karoliina Kauhanen, Katriina Tavi & Pinja Poropudas: Mindscapes Landscapes (2017); Laura ja Veikko Sariola: Robot Loves – A Little Bit Closer (2019) and Marja Uusitalo: No Doubt (2019).
The starting point of the concept for Fluid Stages is an experience of the world as a scenographic landscape: as stage, as montage, as a series of scenes. By focusing one’s perception and sharpening the senses, the artworks included in the Finnish national exhibition enable a multisensory reading of various layers of existence. The PQ19 themes Imagination, Transformation and Memory are resonating with all of the artworks.
Furthermore, KOKIMO will present Liisa Ikonen's visionary and groundbreaking dissertation from 2006 as a part of Fragments, an exposition that recognizes and celebrates designs where the essence of the environment and the socio-political era is preserved, craft is perfected, and the artist becomes a beacon of the profession for their life achievements. Ikonen is a scenographer and the professor in design for the performing arts in Aalto University. Liisa Ikonen's Dialogic Scenography: Phenomenological Interpretation of an Alternative Work Process (2006) was the first doctoral dissertation concerning alternative scenographic working methods outside repertoire theatre and without a pre-written script in Finland. In the Finnish scenographic landscape her work has been pioneering. By choosing this physical object, Ikonen's dissertation in book form, art collective KOKIMO as the Finnish national curator for PQ 2019 wants to celebrate Ikonen's thinking.
Also three new publications from Finland will be launched at PQ19 as a part of Fluid Stages: Pasi Räbinä: The Print of Beauty. Aalto ARTS Books, 2019; Tomi Humalisto, Kimmo Karjunen & Raisa Kilpeläinen (ed.): 360 Degrees – Focus on Lighting Design. The Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, 2019 and KOKIMO: Fluid Stages Exhibition Catalogue, The Finnish OISTAT Centre, 2019.
In according to those there are also several Finns such as Kaisa Illukka, Teo Paaer and Niskanen&Salo representing Finland in different curatorial exhibitions. This year the Finnish student exhibition Kolo (2019) is a common creation by Aalto University and Theatre Academy students.
Exhibition Fluid Stages is coordinated by the Finnish OISTAT Centre and funded among others by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture Finland.
KOKIMO Art Collective is an independent group of artists, designers and curators, founded in 2010 and based in Helsinki, Finland. KOKIMO works collaboratively and site-sensitively.
First Session is a 2-day conference at the crossroads of arts and technology, with a special focus on immersive mediums and performing arts.
Among our speakers are awarded VR/AR director Gabo Arora, Magic Leap’s Director of Product Strategy & Business Development Kathy Wang, award winning producer at Royal Shakespeare Company Sarah Ellis, Head of Experiments in Art and Technology at Nokia Bell Labs Domhnaill Hernon, creative producer Sarah Brin, Managing Director of 59 Productions Richard Slaney and many more immersive experience specialists.
The conference is for anyone interested in advancements in digital technology and immersiveness and professionals working in performing arts, museums, theatres and musical companies.
With 5 full-length performances, 10 demos and 12 production pitches, the event will showcase the finest work from Finland right now. Performing HEL invites both Finnish and international presenters, programmers, directors and other performing arts professionals to discover a full range of Finnish performing arts, including circus, dance and theatre, also delivered in exciting yet difficult-to-define combinations.
‘On behalf of all the organisers and partners involved in the showcase I may say that we are in the midst of a very exciting time for performing arts in Finland, making it a pleasure to showcase them to international professionals in August. Selection processes are never easy, but this time the rewarding discussions we had during the multi-stage process were truly inspiring,’ explains Project Manager Riitta Aittokallio of Dance Info Finland.
The official program of Performing HEL will start on Thursday 29.8. afternoon and end on Sunday 1.9. around 3pm. We suggest that you join us on Thursday and stay until Sunday to get the full experience! Or why not to stay in Helsinki for a little bit longer? Performing HEL is happening at the same time with Helsinki Festival so the city is full of exciting art and culture experiences.
The 2019 programme selections were made by Dance Info Finland, CircusInfo Finland, Helsinki Festival, the Finnish National Theatre, the Swedish Theatre, and Espoo City Theatre.
Awareness towards power - Be an art policy influencer, make knowledge your tool. A get-together for performance and live art professionals in Turku on October 7th 2019. (9.00 - 20.30, Itsenäisyydenaukio 2, Turku)
PERFORMANCE DAYS 2019 AWARENESS TOWARDS POWER: Theatre Info Finland, TINFO and Arts Promotion Centre Finland are organizing the second annual Performance Days on the 7th of October 2019. We hope to reach the field of performance and live art across Finland – artists, groups and organizations.
Performance Days is a circulating professional forum aiming to serve the field the best we can. We hope to create a warm atmosphere for important conversations about the future, past and present of the field. Our most sincere wish is that Performance Days would be a place to connect with colleagues and feel at home. This year we meet in Turku under the topic of Awareness towards power. Please come and join us discussing how data can serve you in making an impact to the circumstances of the field.
The programme will be updated throughout the summer.
Call for Performances
Theatre Info Finland and Performance Art Bank are looking for a piece to be performed at Performance Days 2019. Performance and live artists can apply by adding art works to Performance Art Bank (performanssi.com) by the 28th of June.
Silence Festival gathers the most interesting performances and artists from Finland and abroad to Lapland. The multidisciplinary program of art and culture is spread in and around Kaukonen village. At the Silence Festival you will experience art, beautiful nature and a very special atmosphere.
The Association of ”The Theatre of Black and White” in Imatra has been organizing The International Black and White Theatre Festival since year 2004. Right since that time Black and White Theatre Festival has become well-known event for many people of the world. At the festival we could see the performing of different theatres from 44 countries, so far more than 200 shows and performances.
For 16 years, Black and White Theatre Festival has presented a huge variety of different styles: dance theatre, ballet, pantomime, circus, traditional drama, opera, puppet theatre and street performing. The purpose of the festival is – to represent the international theatre in all its manifestation and genres.
The Main Theme of the Festival 2019 is ”Emotions as a medicine for the soul”
The 17th Black and White International Theatre Festival takes place in Imatra 10. – 14.6.2020.
Hangö teaterträff is an annual festival where performing arts are presented, experienced, discussed and developed. The festival is one of the main events within the Swedish-language theatre of Finland, connecting the local, international, traditional and experimental. A gathering of performing arts in the small town of Hanko in the unique archipelago of the southernmost point of mainland Finland.
URB is an annual urban art and culture festival that presents the influence of ever-changing urban and youth culture on different forms of contemporary art. The festival is produced by Kiasma Theatre.
The precursor to Finnish city festivals, Jyväskylän Kesä has strived throughout its history to stay ahead of its time and try new things. At the core of our multidisciplinary art programme are classy and interesting performances best experienced on the spot.
Tampere Theatre Festival is the oldest and the largest professional theatre festival in the Nordic countries, serving as a display window for the most interesting and up-to-the-minute productions in Finnish theatre, and attracting leading international guests from all corners of the globe. Annually in the beginning of August the city of Tampere becomes the Finland’s theatre capital as local and international performing arts troupes take over the city’s stages and squares.
Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland, organised annually in late summer. The festival’s aim is to make art accessible for all. The programme line-up features classical and world music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts as well as a range of urban events.
Puppet Theatre Sampo is organizing the third International Puppet Theatre Festival SAMPO 2019.
The festival program can be found at www.sampofestival.fi and offeres performances for both children and adults, visual theatre and music as well as puppetry. Festival club in the evenings at Sampos Fairytale Café!
Our partners and collaborators in the festival are Helsingin Juhlaviikot / Helsinki Festival, The City of Helsinki, Teatteri Avoimet Ovet, Päivälehti Museum among others.
Follow our work and find out what is planned for upcoming festivals also on Facebook: @sampofestivaali!
The 18th edition of ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival will take place between 10th and 15th September 2019. Internationally celebrated, award-winning artists from around the world will once again present their projects in Kuopio. The rest of the programme will be published soon!
The theme and focus for the 18th edition of ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival is death. The programme traces various iterations of death in an attempt to open-up thinking around our relationship to it and to the many sets of phenomena that surround it. Ideas die, eras end, materials become obsolete, things break, technology supersedes itself, places are abandoned, the natural world is destroyed, social and political ideals are overthrown, and plant, animal and human life is finite.
Kulttuurimylly Festival 2019 is the first ever international street theatre and puppetry festival in Eastern Helsinki, Finland.
This festival will bring a bright beam of Cuban sunshine to the north as our dear friends and internationally acclaimed artists, puppet master and street theatre wizard Adan Rodriquez & extraordinary musician and magical theatre composer Raul Valdes with their team of street theatre artists from Cuba will join us. The festival programme will include Street Theatre & Puppetry Carnival, Cuban Puppetry and Street Theatre Master Class for professional artists, Art in Suburbs Seminar and other performances, workshops and special events.
We have now opened registration for artists. Programme is being updated through the spring and tickets for the shows will be available in August. Nordic puppeteers have a unique opportunity to join the festival through Meeting Point Finland 2019 project that offers artist grants.
The festival is hosted by East Helsinki bound visual theatre Maria Baric Company and cultural centre Kulttuurimylly and organised in co-operation with UNIMA Finland.
We welcome our next-door neighbours, strangers from the other side of the street, friends across the oceans and adventurous travellers of all kinds. Approach Finland’s capital from a whole new and inspiring perspective, experience Eastern Helsinki like never before and join us in creating something new and unique in this community!
The courses 2019 are now published, they can be found on the Courses page.
The festival program will be released in May.
This course approaches acting using the English language. It's an introductory course.
We start with physical exercises, move on to voice work, and then combine these in the scene study from a contemporary play in English. We will be focusing mostly on acting methods derived from Stanislavski, but will also use other approaches to widen the scope. The main focus of the course is on how to act and react intuitively, resolving in fully embodied acting.
The use of English as a language in acting is not just a question of language. A whole culture is codified in the how you use language, the how being what an actor mostly does. For non-native speakers this presents a fruitful acting challenge: when acting in a language other than your own you have a possibility to stretch your capabilities as an actor to the limits.
The working language throughout the course is English. This way you will learn to use the language as an organic and instrumental part of your overall expression. The course is meant both for those who want to try out English as a language in acting and for those to whom it's a native language.
FOR WHOM: The workshop is meant for everyone, but ability to work in English is essential. If you are unsure or have any questions, send a message to sami(a)centerforeverything.com before registering.
REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT: Both happen at the same time at The Center for Everything webshop at holvi.com/shop/everything
(In case you need to cancel your registration: You can cancel up to one month before and get 50 % of your payment back. If you cancel less than one month before the workshop, you will lose your payment. You are allowed to find another person to take your place, but they also need to be able to work in English.)
TIME AND PLACE: Fri 27. 9. at 5.30pm - 10pm, Sat 28. 9. at 1. 30pm - 5. 30pm and Sun 29. 9. 2019 at 1. 30pm - 5. 30pm at Eskus - Performance Center, Puhdistamo (building n:o 6) 2. fl. Official address: Kaasutehtaankatu 1/33, 00540 Helsinki.
PRICE: 100 ¤
TEACHER: Sami Henrik Haapala is an actor FIA, dancer, live art maker and a dj. They have produced, directed and performed 20 years both in institutions and as a freelancer in Finland and abroad. They graduated with an MA in Acting from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in the UK. They are currently finishing their artistic doctoral thesis in the Theatre Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki with a focus on acting in immersive and participatory performances. They are the artistic director of The Center for Everything.
ACCAC Global is running Everyone's Festival pioneer project in Finland in aim for more inclusive artist groups and artists with disabilities to be seen in Finnish Festivals.
We are looking for artists from Finland and from international field to be presented in our roster of artists. We are open to artists from all art fields.
The artist roster is found from Everyone`s Festival website.. It is currently available in Finnish only and will be translated into English soon.
We are already representing almost 30 artist and artist groups from over 10 countries and co-operating with various Finnish Festivals for 2019 and 2020.
We ensure the conditions of the festivals and accessibility in the back spaces and the back line by implementing an accessibility survey to each festival hosting our artists.
Feel free to suggest yourself or your group to us.
Please send us a presentation with photo and video links by email kirsi(a)accac.global.
The project is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture Finland.
Ehkä-production is looking for proposals for contemporary art space Kutomo’s 2020 program. We welcome submissions of guest performances, projects, workshops, discussions, co-produced premieres or one to three week residencies, and are open for other suggestions also. We mainly accept proposals from professional dance and performance practitioners. You can apply as an individual and / or as a working group.
The program of Ehkä-production and Kutomo builds up through different routes: informal proposals, open calls and collaborative work with different operators. The practicalities and realisation of the proposals chosen for the program through the open call will be negotiated between Ehkä-production and the artists. Everything in Kutomo’s program is based on collaboration where the artists working at Kutomo are required to have their own funding and additional support for the work. The resources which artist-run Ehkä can provide are limited and discretionary, and dependant on funding and resources available at the time.
The application period: 1.-31.5.2019
Send an informal proposition on what you would like to do at and with Kutomo to ehkatuotanto(at)gmail.com by 31.5.2019. You will hear back from us by the end of August.
The applications will be considered by the artistic planning group of Ehkä-production.
Live Art Society facilitates an Open Call for November 2019.
We are looking for performances, topics, practises, processes, suggestions and theme-year-ideas, that artist(s) feel right now inspiring and important. No limitations on form or technique, suggestion can be anything from art work's worshop period to installation sketch, or from practising matrix to making a performance. All fields of art are included, but suggestions are expected to include some kind of performative aspect.
Residency is a workingspace-residency. We offer the selected artist/groups a free-of-charge working space (Hall 4 from Esitystaiteen keskus (Eskus), Suvilahti, Helsinki). Applicant can be individual artist or group. Residency includes artist talk organized by Live Art Society before the working period and informal opening (demonstration/ open rehersal/ discussion/ lecture/ other) at the end of the period.
Residency time is two or four weeks (mon-fri) between 4.-29.11.2019. We can offer a place for 1-2 groups/suggestions. You can apply by filling up a form AND sending attachments to our address residenssi.esitys(a)gmail.com with topic AUTUMN RESIDENCY/”project name” at Friday 7.6.2019 latest.
We’d kindly ask you to fill and send in the next information:
You can apply for residency although you wouldn’t be a member of Live Art Society. Chosen artist(s) are obliged to join the Society before receiving the residency-place. We inform to all the applicants about selections latest on Monday 17.6.2019.
Playdate experiments with immersive art and artistic games.
These new bastards of art and pop culture cross-breed f.e. immersive theatre, installations, BDSM and new technologies in order to bring game worlds right under your skin.
Playdate is simultaneously a club and a platform for playtesting. Play tests here mean participatory, immersive and/or game performances or other concepts which are still in process, but they’ve already been developed far enough to enable play tests with an audience. They are not yet completed works. The approach to play test can be open, playful and exploratory.
For makers the event gives a possibility to play test with an unpredictable, but emphatic audience. For the audience Playdate gives a chance to try out new forms of participation, sociability and interaction in their most unpredictable and exhilarating phase of development.
The evening always also includes a discussion about a current topic related to game art, immersive performances or participatory art.
Playdate happens at Eskus – Performance Center on Saturday 12 Oct 2019 at 7pm – midnite.
The event has been organized previously in 2015 and 2018. It’s produced and curated by The Center for Everything.
What we're looking for
We’re looking for play tests for the program of the event. The theme of the event is non-binary.
Non-binary can relate f.e. to
You can also interpret the theme in other ways and suggest tests also beyond the theme.
What we offer
A space and tech for the test (light and sound).
The spaces available are the meeting room, lobby and four dance studios of Eskus which all have basic sound system. The spaces can be blacked out if needed.
You can also suggest a play test that uses the spaces of Eskus in other ways.
Ask for details for the available spaces: titta.halinen(a)eskus.fi
Form of a Proposal
You can suggest a play test in any of the spaces during the event on 12 Oct 2019 at 7pm-midnite. The duration of the test can be defined by you.
Tell in your proposal
We ask you to consider that we aim to send all the information in both Finnish and English. It’s possible to give f.e. the instructions to the audience in only one language, but if you plan to do so, mention it in your proposal so we can take that into consideration as we plan for the whole event.
The length of the proposal is max. one A4.
The rules of a safer space
Playdate is committed to the principles of safer space. This means respect for all genders, sexualities, backgrounds, bodies and abilities. racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or other oppressive behavior is not allowed.
We also hope the proposals take into account these rules. Eskus is accessible by wheelchair.
Send your proposal to office(a)centerforeverything.com by 9 June 2019 (24.00) the latest. You can also ask more information from that address.
Warjakka Artist Residency 15th - 26th July 2019 – Site-specific Collaborative Practice
TaikaBox, in partnership with Ervastinkylä Village Association and funded by Oulu City and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (North Ostrobothnia region), is offering a two-week long residency for three artists from different art forms - one artist from the Northern Ostrobothnian region, one from elsewhere in Finland and one from overseas. This residency will be for collaborative experimentation and is not suitable for artists wanting time to develop an already-existing project.
The residency takes place in the beautiful harbour of Varjakka in Northern Finland. Varjakka is a small village in Oulunsalo in the bay of Kempele. It is located 18km south of Oulu. You can travel to the area easily by air – Oulu Airport is only 7km from Varjakka, or by train to Oulu railway station. Arrangements can be made for pick up from/to the airport or railway station.
The Warjakka Artist Residency in July 2019 is the third of its kind in the area. The aim of the residency is to support creative experimentation and to bring new artistic experiences to the local community. In this year’s residency TaikaBox hopes to attract artists who have a track record of collaborative practice with other art forms. The Warjakka Artist Residency is also site-specific: We are expecting the artists to show an interest in the area, its history and environment and use these as starting points for their collaborative investigations and to include the local community in some way.
The selected artists are provided with:
The chosen artists are expected to lead at least one workshop or engage in other community-based work during the residency. The artists can choose to do this individually or as a group. The artists are also expected to participate in an evening picnic meal event arranged by the local village association at the end of the residency and introduce or show their work to a larger community.
Artists from any artistic background are welcome to apply. Send your CV and a letter of application (no more than one side of A4) which contains the following:
Applications should be sent to TaikaBox via email to: mail(a)taikabox.com by 31st May 2019.
All applicants will be informed of the decision by the mid-June.
FRESH is back! Initiated in 2018, New Performance Turku Festival brings back FRESH programme – the artistic development and performing opportunity for emerging performance and live artists based and working in Finland. FRESH-project is targeting performance art professionals who have been operating in the field under 10 years, or are currently shifting their artistic practice towards performance art.
We’re announcing an open call for performance proposals for the FRESH programme. Application procedure combines open call selection and invitations. Alltogether three performance works will be selected for a dialogical development process, and will eventually be performed at the New Performance Turku Festival in October 2019.
The development process of the selected works includes following phases:
– After the selection, the chosen works will get feedback from the programme jury.
– The chosen artists will have a possibility to discuss their work with the regional artist of live art Marika Räty, the specialist advisor of the FRESH programme and the artistic team of the New Performance Turku Festival
– All the three chosen artists will also be invited to a shared coaching weekend in Turku area, August 16-18th 2019
– The festival offers the participants a performance fee. The development process doesn’t include an additional fee, but the costs of the coaching weekend will be covered.
The performance works will be presented at the New Performance Turku Festival, 18-20th October 2019. The artist and the festival will negotiate the details of the work’s actualization, performing time and space.
You are invited to apply, if:
– you are a performance artist / live artist based in Finland
– you have been a practicing art professional under 10 years
– you have a possibility in committing in the residency weekend in August 2019 as well as the festival period in October 2019
– you are able to and willing to commit in a dialogical and collegial artistic process
– you are preparing a new work or want to significantly develop previously existing work
FRESH will offer the three chosen artists the mentoring of their performative work, the travel, accommodation and food costs of the coaching weekend, travel and accommodation costs of the festival weekend, performance fee, technical support, performance assistant and reasonable material costs.
The deadline for the applications is Sunday, June 16th 2019 at 23:59UTC+3.
Send your application email, including the performance proposal and a CV (both as single attachment, in pdf form), at: producer(a)newperformance.fi. NOTE! Please include a heading FRESH + your name in your application e-mail.
All applicants will be informed on the decisions by end of June 2019.
FRESH is kindly supported by Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund. In collaboration with Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Moving in November is the oldest and most significant contemporary dance festival in the Helsinki area. Each year, the festival introduces international and topical dance works in its program. The festival has had a pivotal role in developing the contemporary dance scene in Finland.
Moving in November is an independent festival with a visionary and bold program that is organized in collaboration with local partners. The organization behind Moving in November is Tanssiareena ry / Dance Arena association. Its member organizations are Esitystaiteen keskus ry (Center for Performance Art), Nuoren Voiman Liitto and University of the Arts / Theatre Academy Helsinki.
We are seeking an Artistic Director or a curatorial team with strong knowledge in Finnish and international contemporary dance, international networks, teamworking skills and experience in management. Good conceptual and communicative skills as well as motivation to develop the festival and international performance scene in Helsinki will be beneficial in this position. The festival’s working languages are English and Finnish.
The Artistic Director will be responsible for curating the program and the artistic vision of the festival. Together with the Executive Producer, they are responsible of the festival’s production and partnerships. The team takes part in the festival’s strategic planning that is led by the Dance Arena board.
You can apply for the position as an individual or a team. The position is part-time, and the annual salary is 15 000 ¤ (for both individual, or a team) The Artistic Director is a contractual 3-years fixed-term position. The current Artistic Director is in charge of the 2019 festival programme.
The festival wishes that the new Artistic Director could work together with the current Artistic Director for a transition period of approx. 1 month between September and December 2019.
"In all artistic doing, the only important thing is to do what you want. Now, it can be difficult to
a) understand what it is you want to do b) be capable of putting it into words (if it did not manifest itself in words and we’re dealing with writing a play or some other such work requiring textual expression)
c) be able to realize your will, in other words, depending on the case and in various arrangements and combinations, come up with methods of doing what it is you want to do and learn how to and then dare to use them."
Laura Valkama in a Future is Present showcase catalogue, Tampere Theatre Festival 2018
What Happened and Say Hello by Laura Valkama. Excerpt translated into English by Kristian London.
Take a look at New Plays from Finland for What Happened and Say Hello by Laura Valkama and other selected plays.
Theatre Info Finland (TINFO) awards grants for translations of Finnish plays. TINFO Grant can even be applied for the translation of subtitles.
Grant decisions are made four times a year. Deadline for the next round is 8 Sept 2019.
Grants for published works or anthologies can be applied for from FILI - Finnish Literature Exchange.
Have a look at a selection of new plays: New Plays from Finland.
TINFO Grant total amount is 25 000 euro in year 2019.
Recent translations of Finnish plays supported by TINFO Grant or drama agencies with links to the drama agencies for performing rights.
What’s going on in Finnish theatre at the moment? Here you’ll find a selection of current projects, including a brief introduction and a link to further information on the theatre company’s website.
Each year, professional theatres in Finland stage about 400 opening nights. There is also an active amateur theatre scene, which produces another 400 or so new performances every year.
In Finland our summer days are long and light-filled, and so theatre moves outside, too: summer theatre attracts audiences of about a million in the land of nightless nights. All in all, Finns are enthusiastic theatre-goers: three million theatre tickets are sold every year.
The website gives theatre professionals practical advice on producing a stage play and taking a show on the road. The toolkit includes budget examples, sample contracts, tips for distribution of duties and other essential production tools.
Case: Theatre Group W (TGW), run by a non-profit cultural organization, exempted from paying the value-added tax (VAT). TGW starts to produce a stage production and they want to tour with it after the domestic run of the show. Where and how will TGW find the resources (people, time, spaces, funding, etc.) to put together a stage production? Where to perform and how to expand the performance season? How to plan and manage a tour or a guest performance abroad?
Finnish performances available for touring.