Catarina and the Beauty of Killing Fascists. Photo: Joseph Bandaret

Tampere Theatre Festival announces its Main Programme 2024

The 55th Tampere Theatre Festival hits the city in August with a banging selection of Finnish and international theatre. The 2024 Main Programme of Scandinavias biggest theatre extravaganza features nineteen productions including five foreign entries. Guest artists will be arriving from Sweden, Portugal, Belgium and Holland. This year’s festival is scheduled for August 5–11.

Alongside the international acts, the festival showcases a stellar domestic lineup including the likes of Q-teatteri and the city theatres of Kajaani, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Turku and Kotka, and also plays host to various joint productions, creative teams and independent theatre groups, such as the Carl Knif Company and KokoTeatteri.

The selections have been made by the festival’s artistic team of Taija Helminen, Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen and Tanjalotta Räikkä together with executive director Hanna Rosendahl. In their words:

”The Main Programme is about questioning the norms, perceptions and stories that – at least seem to – make us what we are. It’s a loaded lineup of plays, physical theatre, contemporary circus and documentary theatre that pushes us towards change. The productions are here to sharpen our memory: Whose views become mainstream, official history, so-called truths?”

An international selection featuring a stirring dialogue play from Portugal, contemporary circus daredevilry from Sweden and exceptional physical and documentary theatre

Portuguese actor-director-playwright Tiago Rodrigues is one of Europe’s leading theatremakers and the current artistic director of the world-renowned Festival d’Avignon. Catarina and the Beauty of Killing Fascists, co-produced by the Festival d’Avignon and Teatro Nacional D. Maria II from Lisbon, revolves around our personal and collective responsibility for the future of democracy.

Swedish circus art pioneers Cirkus Cirkör present their newest work. Tipping Point, directed by Alexander Weibel Weibel, is about structures – the very things that hold our democracies and societies together.

Also from Sweden, actor-director Iggy Malmborg delights us with a playfully autobiographical solo piece called SATAN.

A creative duo based in Brussels, Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere approach their subjects with methods resembling those of journalists and documentarists. Out of the Blue consists of via-satellite conversations with vessels in the Pacific. It paints a clear and informative picture of ocean exploitation.

Transit is a surreal physical theatre piece about being in limbo. Dutch talents Tom de Ronde and Nick Deroo draw inspiration from the traditions of physical theatre and mime, as well as from pop culture and their shared love of cinematic theatre.

Finnish theatre from the capital and across the nation

This year’s domestic selection features 14 productions from virtually every part of the country.

Q-teatteri’s Some Discussions on Meaning is another masterful mix of laughs and melancholy from director Akse Pettersson. Produced in partnership with the Finnish National Theatre, and featuring an all-star team of actors Elina Knihtilä, Tommi Korpela and Pirjo Lonka, dance artist Jyrki Karttunen and musician Ringa Manner.

Plup Plup, by actor Samuli Niittymäki & team, takes us to a test lab to witness the last days of a rat called Splinter. Premiered at Takomo Theatre in 2021.

The prizewinning Red Nose Company fills the stage with absurd clown philosophy in Mieletön – No mind, crazy, amazing. Directed by Niina Silllanpää, and co-produced by the Tampere Hall.

KokoTeatteri’s The Play of Norms shakes the rules of gender and sexuality. Written by Finlandia-nominated playwright-novelist Marjo Niemi, and directed by Anna Veijalainen.

Dilemma, an intricate piece by Masi Tiitta & team, revolves around a chance meeting and the difficulty of making choices. Premiered at Helsinki City Theatre’s Stage for Contemporary Performance in 2023.

Rautavaara, a monologue written, performed and co-produced by Timo Ruuskanen, tells the story of a poor, working-class boy who became a top athlete, actor, singer and a traveling national treasure. Co-produced by Avoimet Ovet Theatre & Riihimäki Theatre.

The festival showcases a fine display of regional productions, such as Jyväskylä City Theatre’s rendition of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, an intense relationship drama directed by Perttu Leinonen.

Kajaani City Theatre and the Routa Company update a Minna Canth classic. Fusing together Anni Mikkelsson’s directorial vision, dance artist Maija Viipuri’s movement material and visual artist Veera Kopsala’s wood reliefs, Anna Liisa makes a point about women’s right to autonomy over their bodies.

An engaging mix of powerful visuals and movement, Oulu Theatre and the Carl Knif Company’s adaptation of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice tells the story of an aging author’s final attempt to find a new path. Directed by Carl Knif.

Written by Kati Kaartinen, and based on Jari Järvelä’s novel, Kotka City Theatre’s Aino A. turns the spotlight on architect Aino Aalto. Directed by Sini Pesonen.

Turku City Theatre’s musical Sisterhood deals with womanhood and the impact of hormones. Written and directed by Satu Rasila, music by Anna-Mari Kähärä.

Adapted and directed by Mikko Roiha, Defiance is based on Tommi Kinnunen’s Finlandia-nominated novel. It tells the story of Finnish women returning from Norway after working for the German army during the Lapland War. Co-produced by Tampere Theatre, Kouvola Theatre, Turku City Theatre, Lahti City Theatre, Seinäjoki City Theatre, Hämeenlinna City Theatre & Vapaa Teatteri.

Two productions bring more local flavor to the festival:

Juha Siltanen’s Vieras eli Julmurin suviyö takes us back in time, to August 1942 when SS leader Heinrich Himmler made a secret trip to the heartlands of Finnish Tavastia. Produced by Tampere Theatre.

Specialized in theatre for young audiences, Tampere's Ahaa Theatre presents Blue and the House of Friendship, a family-friendly show directed by Katja Krohn, and based on Katri Kirkkopelto’s popular children’s books.

Festival tickets are on sale at Lippu.fi and the Tampere Theatre Festival ticket office. The music-filled lineup of TelttaLab is also out. Additional programming will be announced during the summer.

A fully detailed Main Programme on the Tampere Theatre Festival website

More info:
Executive director Hanna Rosendahl, +358 40 594 4600
Head of PR and marketing Tiina Hurskainen, +358 40 865 5852, tiina.hurskainen@teatterikesa.fi

Tampere Theatre Festival is Scandinavia’s biggest theatre festival. Since 1968 it’s been a showcase for the hottest and most topical domestic and international productions. The festival is held annually in August, this year on Aug 5–11.

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