New Plays from Finland
Minna Nurmelin (born 1967) is a Helsinki-based freelance playwright and director. She completed her M.A. in directing at the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 1999 in addition to doing cultural studies at the University of Helsinki. She has worked as a director in various locations such as the Finnish National Theatre, Lilla Teatern, Q-Theatre, Kotka City Theatre and YLE’s radio theatre.
Nurmelin’s plays are devising-based creations. The themes of these plays often centre around identity, abandonment, and the need for love; directorially her pieces range from highly physically visual to minimal, dialogue-based theatre. In her own words, she is particularly interested in what can be read between the lines and from the rhythm of the plays’ texts. The central focus in her work is the tragicomedy aspect of what it is to be human, how to live a fulfilling life, and how this comes across to others. Nurmelin’s plays have been staged in festivals taking place in London and New York.
Her most recent self-written and directed piece, The Map (Kartta), was presented in the Finnish National Theatre at the end of 2019. The play deals with people having to give up something they rely on in one way or another and the effects that this has on the human psyche. The characters must create their own map for their new lives without this obsession, drawing on the collective sense of humanity’s search for a new compass in modern times. According to Nurmelin, the modern human’s quest in the play centers around finding a point of reference for existence within a reality that is blurry and difficult to perceive.
She is currently working on Making of Pyöveli 2 (Ranskalaiset Viivat), a play about the life, obstacles, and persevering spirit of Finnish artists and theatre makers. It is the second part of her Pyöveli-trilogy. Nurmelin is working as a playwright for New Play Finland (UNO, Uuden Näytelmän Ohjelma) between 2020-2021.