Theatre bridging the Baltic Sea
Q&A with Jukka Hyde Hytti, theatre producer par excellence and international projects executive at TINFO since 2012.
Hyde, you’ve got decades of experience in amassing cultural experience and networking, and latterly in collaborating with theatre makers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. You’re a bridge builder. Which productions and which people are using this bridge just now, and who do you see crossing it in the future?
Hyde: The line up at the Latvian Homo Novus festival in early September included the Live Art Society’s Listening, Samuli Laine’s Nurture and Terike Haapoja’s Festival School – Journey. So, what we’re seeing at the moment is a lot of performance art crossing that bridge over to Latvia. As for the other direction, our colleagues from Latvia will shortly be visiting us for the Baltic Circle festival in Helsinki.
We’re shortly going to be entering into negotiations with the Sirenos Festival in Lithuania to potentially add a Finnish dimension to their 2022 programme. In November, Elli Salo’s Alina, Tuomas Timonen’s Stabbed for Complaining about the Noise and Mika Myllyaho’s Garage will be given a dramatic reading at the Lithuanian National Theatre.
Maija Hirvanen, Juha Valkeapää and for instance the WAUHAUS collective are really well-known and popular over in Estonia. A whole bunch of Finnish theatre makers will be over in Rakvere for the biennial Baltoscandal festival in early July.
We have a series of partnership agreements in place with Latvian and Lithuanian theatre festivals and TINFO’s Lithuanian counterpart. The Vabaduse Festival launched in Narva in August, and we’re already thinking about collaborations for next year.
You’ve worked hard for many years to build solid professional networks in Europe and around the world, but the connections you’ve established seem particularly strong around the Baltic Sea. How important would you say geographical proximity is when it comes to the exchange of thoughts, ideas, people and productions?
H: We’re living in an era or climate change and environmental awareness and, against that backdrop, working with your neighbours seems particularly meaningful. Estonia is just a boat ride away and the rest of the Baltic countries are quick to reach too. The Rail Baltic project is due to be finished by 2026 at the latest, and that will link Finland directly with Warsaw and Berlin.
Could you share with us some of the most important things you’ve picked up, or even lessons you’ve learned, along the way?
H: I’ve been visiting the festivals I’ve mentioned since the late 1990s. We looked to particularly Latvia and Estonia when we were setting up the Baltic Circle network and festival. Alongside the Baltic dimension, TINFO has great working relationships with Teatr Karelia in Petrozavodsk, Russia, theatre makers in St Petersburg and the Dostoyevsky festival in Veliky Novgorod. Russia has a lot to teach us. Even now. It’s all about patience and finding new solutions to the barriers that get in the way of our collaboration.
TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 7 September 2021
Translation into English: Liisa Muinonen-Martin
Curiosity as a driving force. An interview with Bek Berger, the director-curator of the Homo Novus festival