Briefly in english
“Recently, it has been very unsettling to notice that political debate in this country has developed a new, deliberately aggressive and inflammatory rhetoric. Art at its best, I hope and believe, helps to remind us of our humanity. This is the purpose of good theatre, and it seems to me an especially important one in society today.”
Mika Myllyaho, August 2015.
This season’s new shows all take a look at the times we live in and the people we have become. On the Main Stage, Janne Reinikainen’s new interpretation of Aleksis Kivi’s classic comedy Cobblers on the Heath examines Finnish identity in a changing world, where harmony between separate communities is not always easy to maintain. Brothers Esko and Iivari are two young men whose respective journeys into adulthood are fraught with temptation, conflict and plenty of alcohol. The betrayals and indifference of the sophisticated world leave them baffled, desperate and ashamed to go home. On the Small Stage, a new play by British author Martin Crimp makes reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy in its three-part structure, leading the audience through domestic hell and therapeutic purgatory towards an ambivalent paradise. Directed by Minna Leino, In the Republic of Happiness is a chillingly amusing satire of contemporary obsessions. On the Willensauna Stage, Pasi Lampela directs his new play Now You Are Mine, a relationship drama in which a chance encounter propels four people towards a radical reassessment of their life-choices. On the Omapohja Stage, Juha Jokela directs a love story with an ecological theme by British author Duncan Macmillan. Lungs gives voice to a generation all too aware of its carbon footprint. A couple struggles to live up to the responsibilities of both parenthood and the future of the planet. All four productions open in September.
In October, Kristian Smeds returns to the Main Stage with a new piece based on Timo K. Mukka’s short story Taboo, which portrays a young woman’s sexual awakening in a remote, repressive community. This largely non-verbal piece has been conceived for music by Pekka Kuusisto and is performed by Seela Sella and Tero Jartti, on Sunday matinees only. Two new plays by Finnish authors open later in the season, in November. First on the Willensauna Stage, Olka Horila directs Playing the Mother Card, which explores contemporary pressures and preconceptions surrounding motherhood. This sketch revue has been created by Horila from the book of the same name by Anu Silfverberg. On the Small Stage, Once Upon a Time was I, written by Heini Junkkaala and directed by Milja Sarkola, addresses the subject of narcissism and is based on the author’s own musings over her self-image.
The SKT’s Touring Stage and Kiasma Museum of Modern Art have been working on a project for the last two years involving ex-offenders. This project now comes to fruition in a new play opening in November in Kiasma’s Theatre Space. Entitled Fear of Freedom, the play is a docudrama based on transcripts of interviews with offenders coming to the end of their prison term. It presents the challenges of leaving a penal institution and re-entering society. The project has also engendered a new theatre group for ex-offenders, several of whom are also part of this production.
Audience work continues to be an important part of the theatre’s activities. The last three years have focused on a series of art, music, drama and dance workshops involving residents of a Helsinki suburb. The project, entitled Roads to Kontula, aims to raise awareness in local communities of the role and nature of theatre. This year immigrant experience has been the theme of the workshops, which culminate in a performance in October on the Small Stage. Moving, written by Juho Gröndahl and directed by Eveliina Heinonen, examines the changing nature of Finnish identity.
A huge variety of performances, music events, readings and discussions also fills the theatre’s own Club Scene venue. The venue’s varied programme can be accessed at www.lavaklubi.fi. Highlights from the programme include a new monologue entitled Phrase, written and directed by Heikki Huttu-Hiltunen for actor Pekka Heikkinen, and intimate poetry readings hosted regularly by director Jukka Rantanen. Jazz band Oddarrang also continue their popular club evenings of music in progress.
The Finnish National Theatre is host to a number of touring productions from both Finland and abroad. In collaboration with the Helsinki festival, this year the theatre brings the Wusheng Company to the Main Stage in August. Established by Finnish actors Antti Silvennoinen and Elias Edström who studied in China, this company’s work is based on Chinese physical theatre and Peking opera traditions, the first of its kind in Europe.
Many of last season’s shows also continue in repertoire, including Pirkko Saisio’s and Jussi Tuurna’s highly successful musical cavalcade through Russian history, SLAVA! Honour, which is equipped with Russian surtitles from September 4th onwards.
Finnish National Theatre
Läntinen Teatterikuja 1
Telephone +35810 733 11
+358 10 7331 331
email addresses are:
Director of the Finnish National Theatre
Director’s Secretary / Club Scene Producer
Hanna Reetta Majanen
Telephone +35810 733 1259 / +358 50 374 4181
Telephone +35810 733 1264 / +358 50 320 9601
Telephone + 35810 733 1203 / + 358 50 381 6436
Telephone +35810 733 1261
Dramaturg / International relations
Telephone +35810 733 1314 / +358 50 315 2947
+35810 7331 321
Head of Marketing
Telephone + 35810 733 1220 / +358 50 375 3501
Head of Press
Telephone +35810 733 1238 / +358 50 540 5062
Telephone +35810 733 1256 / +358 50 374 2296
Manager of Theatre Restaurant
Telephone +35810 733 1283