Showcase Performing HEL

Performing Arts Showcase in Helsinki
31 August – 2 September 2018

With 5 performances, 5 demos and 24 production pitches, the Performing HEL event will showcase the finest work from Finland right now. Taking place in the Finnish capital 31 August – 2 September 2018, the event will encompass the full range of performing arts, including circus, dance and theatre, also delivered in exciting yet difficult-to-define combinations. The featured productions have been chosen for their high artistic merit and international resonance in mind. Curated by Helsinki Festival Director Topi Lehtipuu and Finnish National Theatre Director Mika Myllyaho, the programme features performances of all shapes and sizes.

The showcase is organised by the Finnish National Theatre, Helsinki Festival and Svenska Teatern (the main Swedish-language theatre in Helsinki), in cooperation with CircusInfo Finland, Dance Info Finland and TINFO Theatre Info Finland. The event is friendly supported by, among others, the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Goethe-Institut Finnland and Finnish cultural institutes internationally.

For further information, please contact Eeva Bergroth, Producer, | +358 (0)40 4873620



Heini Junkkaala: Axel – Solo for Male Voice

She was born a woman but wished to be accepted as a man. Becoming a man required hormone treatment. There was just one obstacle: her voice. She felt her soul was in her beautiful voice, and she didn’t want to lose it.

Eventually the need to be accepted as a man grew so strong that she decided to undergo treatment. Now, two and half years later, Axel is both physically and socially identified as a man. But who is he on the inside?

Axel – Solo for Male Voice  is a melodic portrait of someone forced to choose between gender and voice. The piece asks – was Axel’s sacrifice worth it? What is gender?  Why must we choose? Is it possible to choose?


Oblivia: Children and Other Radicals

As Finland’s most famous performance company around the globe, Oblivia is known for its grandiose ideas and minimalist performances. Oblivia audiences have come to expect unexpected, yet recognisable oblivian experiences. The performances will leave your jaws aching from laughter and confusion.

The core group of Oblivia has invited a group of young people from Helsinki to join the working group for Children and Other Radicals. The teens work with highly experienced artists in an equal setting, using art to look at money and economic structures.

The performance consists of different generations considering the division of power and the role money plays in it. As generations X, Y and even Z use the stage to express their views of the future, the result is both humoristic and deep.


Essi Rossi: Tainaron – Mail from another City

Tainaron paints a picture of the future – a future which is already here, but hard for us to see.

Newly arrived in the city of Tainaron, our narrator discovers its strange way of life. Here, transformation is part of the daily routine, blurring the boundaries between people, animals and plants. As a place, Tainaron is hard to pin down:  totally unrecognizable and yet disturbingly familiar. It is a realm populated by sapient insects, apparently doomed to imminent destruction. The outsider observes the city’s way of life with curiosity, and sends letters to those of us who are still here, in the world we know, blindly immersed in our own reality.

Against a magical dystopia full of poetry and hope, the work explores life’s process of mourning the past, encountering the unknown and accepting change.

The live music has been especially composed for the piece by Aino Venna. Leena Krohn is one of Finland’s most internationally acclaimed authors, and Tainaron is her breakthrough novel from the 1980’s.


Tero Saarinen Company: Zimmermann Trio

Zimmermann Trio binds together live music, dance and visuality in the holistically memorable and emotionally moving way that is characteristic of the works of choreographer Tero Saarinen. The dance lifts the music of Bernd Alois Zimmermann to the next level – just as the composer originally planned. Zimmermann’s impressive, cinematic cello concerto inspired Saarinen to handle themes of leaving and loss in the choreography.

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Susanna Mälkki. Tero Saarinen Company’s dance soloists Auri Ahola, Misa Lommi and David Scarantino perform together with cellist Oren Shevlin. Lighting and set designer Mikki Kunttu and costume designer Erika Turunen create a unique visual world on stage.

The concert ends with Richard Strauss’ impressive An Alpine Symphony. The dizzying tone poem, completed in 1915, carries the audience to the middle of a grand mountain landscape.


Live stream from Tallinn

Theatre NO99 (Estonia) and Jalostamo² (Finland): Project NO30 Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools (Kihnu Jõnn), a play by the Estonian writer Juhan Smuul, is a witty, epic and archetypal story about people who always sail away from their home, always so as to arrive home. The dramaturgical suspense and the psychological framework of human relations is as tense as the thread of a nobleman’s shirt, the jokes and the way the characters speak as juicy as a properly roasted fish. The ship that sails to the ocean is full of colourful characters, of exuberance and songs, of laughter and swing. And then the ship that hardly stays together at all, is on the sea for long weeks: the initial aim is long forgotten, tensions arise, everyone tries to get hold of the steering wheel and turn it in whatever direction. In the midst of an immense expanse of water sways a ship full of fools. Who should one believe? Who should one look to? Whereto forwards now? And why forwards?



Theo Clinkard, Maria Nurmela & Ville Oinonen: ‘we told you there would be no certainty’ (working title)

Over the last six years, UK-based choreographer and designer, Theo Clinkard, has built a reputation for creating affecting and visually arresting work. Recent commissions for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, alongside creations for his company, have established him as a fresh choreographic voice and earned him both critical acclaim and a loyal following.

Clinkard’s work has long been dealing with balancing practical and poetic languages within performance, designing choreographic structures that allow space for sensorial experience for performer and audience alike.

‘We told you there would be no certainty’, is a distillation of this ongoing practice, housed within the bodies of two exceptional performers, Maria Nurmela and Ville Oinonen. For this duet, one single movement task sustains over the duration of the work to provide an ever shifting physical, emotional and metaphorical landscape acting as a prompt for us to recognise the multiple, complex and layered states of being together.


Davide Giovanzana & working group: Lehman Trilogy

Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini tells the rise and the downfall of the Lehman Brother,s one of the most important and influential bank in the world, which collapsed suddenly following the financial crisis in 2007. It explores how the dream of three brothers became a merciless machine crushing everything. The play depicts the evolution of economy and capitalism towards modern society – our society – where the work is de-materialized and where the notion of “profit” absorbs every human relations.

With this play, Davide Giovanzana and his working group are aiming to explore how theatre can make understandable economy in a human way and more globally how art and economy can relate to each other. For this, they plan to invite economists and professionals of the financial sector to dialogue with or to contest the ”characters” of the play; the Lehman family. In parallel, they wish to give as well a space of expression to people affected by the financial crisis.

The production is at its early stages. It will be created in autumn 2020 and will be performed in three parts in different places of Helsinki connected to economy (banks, Stock exchange,recycling centre). The first step of the work will be a theatre installation presented at Espoo city theatre in October 2018.

With this showcase, our wish is to establish connections or partnerships with other European theatre organizations who have developed similar theatre project (site specific performance, theme of economy and art).


Kalle Nio: The Green

In the medieval theatre actors slang the acting area, the stage was referred to as The Green, as it was often covered in grass. Hence we have the still popular term Green Room, referring to the room closest to the stage.

The Green is a solo stage performance by Kalle Nio. Visual theatre that uses stage magic, video projections and surround sound as its means of expression.

The thematic core for The Green forms from hauntology, spirituality in the act of consuming and the unboxing videos of Youtube. The Green sees shopping and commerce as the modern day spiritual and magical ritual as the shopping mall replaces the palace of worship. The Green is a show without words. It’s a visual theatre performance that mixes elements from puppetry, video projections and visual arts and combines them with the methods coming from 19th century stage magic. The Green tries to find new ways to use magic as an expressive element, but at the same time it stretches and questions the definition of magic and asks what is magic anyway? In addition to the classic methods and secrets of theatrical magic, it sees the suggestive and magical light, scent and sonic interior design of modern shopping malls as magical.

The Green will be premiered in 2019.


Anna Paavilainen: Play Rape

Play Rape is a declaration of an angry woman, an icy monologue about the problematics of rape scenes in the theatre of 21st century Finland. Actor, playwright and director Anna Paavilainen got fed up with submission and wanted to do things in her own way. Freedom of speech and shame meet in a face-off that goes far beyond personal experience, deep down into the power structures of our society.

Play Rape was premiered in 2014, and launched a giant wave of discussion in Finland about the position of female actors, the responsibility of directors and playwrights, and the facts that keep up the patriarchy – years before #metoo. Translations into English, Swedish and German, as well as guest performances abroad have shown that the play’s themes touch a universal nerv and are topical around the globe.


Saara Turunen: The Phantom of Normality

What does it mean to be normal? The Phantom of Normality owes inspiration to Luis Buñuel’s film The Phantom of Liberty. Where Buñuel’s film investigates freedom, this theatre piece pierces our assumptions of the commonplace.

The play combines and fragments habits and traditions, pouring forth the relentless struggle of the everyday and the exceptional; of discipline and chaos. The Phantom of Normality explores the yearning for the ordinary, the fear of difference, and the horror of standing out from the crowd. It guides the viewer to think about the norms and diversity without moralistic lesson.
The Phantom of Normality is a melodic collage from which an absurd, melancholy world emerges. It is a sharp illustration of weirdness of our habits and traditions, but also a tribute to the beauty and the momentary of life.

The play premiered at Q-Teatteri in Helsinki in 2016 and due to it´s great success continued in the theater´s program during the year 2017.

Saara Turunen – Phantom of Normality. Photo: Pate Pesonius



Pitchings / Circus

Circus Aikamoinen: Circus I love you – an utopian circus

A Nordic circus without animals – absurd, death defying, simple and happy.

The show is an hour long cross composition of acrobatics and live music using the composition tools of music pieces. We direct our power of action into a family friendly show.

Circus I love you was created to fill the void of a circus without animals touring with its tent in the Nordic countries. Our crew is an international mix of mobile millenials embracing the nomad circus life on tour. The collaboration is a logical continuum for the slow life trend standing for voluntary simplicity, power of action and culture for all. We come from five different countries and through our acrobatics want to generate for the audience a peaceful inspiration towards taking action in their own lives.


Race Horse Company: URBOTEK

Urbotek is the latest creation of the award winning contemporary circus group Race Horse Company, which premiered in November 2017 in France. The show takes place in an alternative shadow world of the modern society, urbanization and entertainment, as six circus artists collide with work, pleasure and search of fulfillment. The show draws it’s inspiration and atmosphere from the modern ways of social separation and togetherness, urban life and experiences. Urbotek balances surreal ambience, strong energy and often suprisingly traditional but fresh circus acts into a show, which has been quoted as the ”perfect first circus show to see for new audiences of circus”.

Race Horse Company – Urbotek. Photo: Jouni Ihalainen


WHS / Kalle Nio: Lähtö / Départ

There is a woman and a man, who have a complicated relationship. Confused, they stand on a stage, surrounded by clothes. Feelings and thoughts are expressed through the movement of their bodies – and the movement of the clothes, which have a life of their own.

Lähtö / Départ is directed by magician and visual artist Kalle Nio. The performance brings to the stage a couple that has drifted apart from each other and is now floating in the middle of dreamlike imagery and illusions. Inspired by the work of 19th century magicians’ stage illusions, the performance creates a mysterious atmosphere where absurd humor and tragedy alternate. The piece will provide a unique theatre experience in which circus, magic, dance, clothing design and visual arts merge.

“Ingenious visual trickery” – The Stage


WHS / Kalle Nio: Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge is visual stage magic and physical theatre performance for three performers. The visual inspiration for the show are the historical paintings, images and myths about decapitations.

The oldest documented magic trick is by the ancient magician Dedi who performed for Pharaoh Khufu. The story tells he could cut a head of an animal and put it back together. The trick of decapitation has been in the repertory of magicians ever since.

Cutting Edge balances between creating and destroying illusions. The show asks what is magic trick by taking classical illusions and streching them to boundary of not being magic no longer. On the stage there are three persons, two woman and one man. Their strong physical presence, movements and bodies will mix together and will be cut into pieces by the ways of stage illusions. The style of the show is balancing between dark humor and minimalistic tragedy. By jumping from style to another the performance takes very twisted and dark look into these horrible images and makes a combination of magic show, baroque theatre, contemporary dance and visual arts.


Sanna Silvennoinen (Circo Aereo) & Thom Monckton: The Artist

The artist tries to begin his creation process but the inspiration is completely lost. The focus strays, the blank canvas terrifies, and the tools have been lost to the bowels of the atelier.

The Artist follows the success of Circo Aereo’s and Thom Monckton’s previous collaboration, The Pianist, which has proven a smash hit with critics and audiences around the world. Since 2013, it has been performed more than 300 times in Scandinavia, Canada, New Zealand, France, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Russia, USA… The Pianist was nominated for a Best Performance prize at Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2014.

Like The Pianist, The Artist is co-designed by Sanna Silvennoinen, circus artist, choreographer and director of Circo Aereo, and Thom Monckton, New Zealand-born, internationally acclaimed circus artist.

The Artist. Photo: Antti Saukko


Sivuhenkilöt: There’s no room for my wings

Sivuhenkilöt is a fearless group of nine Finnish cross-disciplinary artists from theatre, circus and dance field. Their goal is to combine theatre with contemporary circus so that the WHY and the WOW are equally important as are the ordinary and the magical. There’s no room for my wings is their second production after a hugely successful Sidekicks in 2016. It premieres in August 2019.

There’s no room for my wings tells a story of characters in a small office with a need to control their emotions and failing in it, transforming to birds when trying. It is a crooked, playful and enchanting performance about the need to hide our true selves in a culture where burying emotions is a norm. It uses elements of aerial acrobatics, physical theatre, wings, weight, laughter and shame. The Office meets Hitchcock’s The Birds.

The group consists of theatre director Alma Lehmuskallio, dramaturge Eira Virekoski, scenographer Janne Vasama, sound designer Joonas Outakoski, lighting designer Ainu Palmu, circus artists Milla Järvinen, Henna Kaikula and Saku Mäkelä and actress Ulla Raitio.



Pitchings / Dance

Maija Hirvanen: Art & Love

Love is an eroded, worn out, misused, contaminated word.
Love is the most important word of all.
Love is the more difficult and more incorrect sibling of empathy.
Love is a verb.

Art and Love is Maija Hirvanen’s choreographic lecture performance. The material of the work is love that comes in many forms. How to do and perform love? What is the part of love in art?

Art and Love takes a look at shared and learned conceptions of love and harnesses them into something that quickens the heart. Nature fantasies, the dark side of romantic love, love as an object, love of the unknown and love of art appear in highly charged juxtapositions inside the performance.

Art and Love does not repeat syrupy and stereotypical images of love, but invites the viewer to go through one’s own areas and limits of love. Speech and physical acts run in parallel in the dramaturgy of the performance.


Ima Iduozee: This Is The Title

On a blindingly white dance floor This Is The Title unfolds with fluid elegance. The distinctive approach to movement comes from Iduozee’s background in breaking, contemporary dance and physical theatre. The performer emerges in a space that radiates around him in a very delicate way, reviving our thirst for light, calmness and freedom. Alluring lighting and sound design complete this minimalist world, where the power and grace of the performer captivate our imagination and senses. The work has received international acclaim, touring in 14 countries across the globe.


Ima Iduozee: The Garden of Eden

in this fiction, the afrofuture shimmers. it forgets itself.
it re-visits
it embraces the ancestorial ghosts
it doesn’t like all that it reveals. it rewrites
saturated by experience
it redefines its own corporeality fluid and in constant flux
its reveals itself

Inspired by Afro Futurism, Iduozee ́s latest creation revises the Creation Story, by using the myth of the lost paradise as a dramaturgical framework. By reconstructing the narrative of Adam & Eve the work re-imagines the past and envisions a utopian future that is eccentric, inclusive and ever changing. The work premiered and played in 3.8.-7.8.2017 during three sold out performances.


Veli Lehtovaara: Conversations | Peltotiekeskustelu

Living is a form of movement – from seaweed to birds, from trees to snakes, and from bacteria to human beings.

In Veli Lehtovaara’s new work, Conversations, three dancers converse through movement with other forms of nature, their contemporaries, their ancestors, each other, and the audience. The register of the group conversation oscillates between what’s logical and poetic, what’s philosophical and practical, and what’s imaginary and actual.

The performance combines choreographic, philosophical, and visual forms of thinking. It gives attention to what unites human beings with other living beings in different stages and scales of life especially from the perspective of corporeality, perception and movement. Becoming a member of choreography is an event of belonging.

The scenography of the performance is created by visual artist and filmmaker Eija-Liisa Ahtila. Together with the moving image, the light design by Luc Schaltinin, and the sound design by Jani Hietanen form a strong audiovisual entity, which comprehends the dance.

The work is inspired by a text of Martin Heidegger’s written in 1944-45: A Triadic Conversation on a Country Path between a Scientist, a Scholar and a Guide. The text is a philosophical and poetic contemplation on the relation between human beings, nature, and technology.

Conversations. Photo: Liisa Takala


Elina Pirinen: Brume de mer

”The forest falls in their ears and their mouths drown into colors.

They go to the wet mountains, kind gods, evil flowers.”

Brume de Mer is a physical and vocal sonata painted by Elina Pirinen and her workgroup. It consists of the sheer volume of the combined abstraction of psycho-neurologically rich and emotional ring dance, a lyrical field sung in a peculiar manner, scents, intoxicating visions of duration and organ music that accumulates in the soul.

Brume de Mer fumbles for, deforms and reforms new expressions for desire, obsession, mutism, killing and intuition. The sonoric stage consists of tremendous organ composition made by the performance makers and featured by Russian composer Viktor Suslin and his Sonata no. 2 for Organ.

The performance is a self-standing instalment of Pirinen’s series of works based on Russian compositions. For the artists of the workgroup, Brume de Mer is a delightful and novel comeback.


Valtteri Raekallio: ONEIRON

A person separated from their own life, in a post-death limbo from which there is no escape. Time has ceased to exist; the stories and movement languages of people meet and intertwine, revealing new layers of themselves and each other; joining finally into a shared communion facing the smallest common denominator of all humanity – death itself. Valtteri Raekallio’s evening-length dance work, choreographed for six dancers and based on the Finlandia award winning novel by Laura Lindstedt, takes the audience on a breathtaking multisensory journey.

Oneiron combines site-specific performance art, a walk-through radio play, a traditional stage-based ensemble dance piece and communal dinner into a single evening-length experience. The work is composed of three sections that are performed sequentially during the same evening:

Part I: Site-specific performances outside the venue as well as a radio play that the audience listens to with headphones.

Part II: The audience and performers convene in a white, empty theatre space. The virtuosic ensemble dance work explores the world of the novel from multiple viewpoints, combining intense solos, duets and ensemble scenes with recorded text, spatial sound design and austere yet carefully crafted lighting.

Part III: After the performance fades out without applause, the space is transformed into a communal wake that honors those that have passed away and brings the living together for an atmospheric dinner over soup and bread.

Valtteri Raekallio – Oneiron. Photo: Stefan Bremer


Tero Saarinen Company: Breath

Live music, dance and visuals intertwine to create wild forms and mythical images – infused by Beckett-inspired existentialism and absurd humour.

Two globally acclaimed Finnish artists, choreographer-dancer Tero Saarinen and accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen, take measure on each other on stage, composing a power web of sound and movement. Bessie-award winning wizard of stage and lighting design, Mikki Kunttu, will add his spell on the work. The duet is further enhanced by the imaginative sound design of Tuomas Norvio, known for his work in electronic music. Costumes are by fashion designer Teemu Muurimäki. Choreographer’s Assistant is Henrikki Heikkilä.


Sonya Lindfors: Cosmic Latte

It is year 2018.
A brown artist is sitting on a brown stage.
A brown artist is sitting on a brown stage dreaming of a future still unimaginable.
It is year 3018.
A brown artist is sitting on a brown stage.
A brown artist is sitting on a brown stage. It no longer means anything but still feels like something.

COSMIC LATTE departs from a utopian project of playing/reimagining the future we cannot yet imagine. It is the year 3018 and we live in a world that escapes definitions and categories. The logic of our thinking has changed, because black and white are no longer opposites. Instead, they contain one another. Borderlines have become less steep, meanings mix like liquids.
Afrofuturism, a term coined in 1993 by Mark Dery, provides the framework for the radical dreaming that is COSMIC LATTE. The term, initially used in sci-fi contexts, defined, reimagined and dreamed blackness and black identity. Afrofuturism dreamed of a place where freedom, equality, past, present and future are come together in a mystical interzone that escapes all limitations and borders.
Afrofuturism, contemporary art, West African cosmologies, Sun Ra and Bach are placed side by side on a stage, which is porous, diverse and beige.

Cosmic Latte. Photo: Ernest Protasiewicz


Sonya Lindfors: Noble Savage
NOBLE SAVAGE is a piece that studies colonialized bodies and racialized representation. In the piece blackness is a mythical, mystical and untamed landscape that both creates and deconstructs meaning.  Blackness and the black performers act as terrain for the viewer’s fantasies, dreams, expectations and fears. By facing the viewer’s gaze the work attempts to escape it’s own otherness. It attempts to shake the existing norm and instead recentralize itself.

Sonya Lindfors is a Helsinki-based choreographer and the artistic director of the UrbanApa community. She uses her works to shake up power structures. Sonya Lindfors was Zodiak’s house choreographer during the season 2017–2018.


WAUHAUS: Flashdance

In Flashdance we approach the stage by challenging the gaze and restricting our sense of sight. In the performance the audience gathers around a darkness between them. From this darkness a black plastic bag – the size of the whole stage area – slowly begins to fill with air. The expanding bag gradually blocks the other audience members from each other’s view and transforms into a moving darkness.

In its state of constant change, the bag hides within it three dancers. Through the unified surface of the plastic they become one creature, an organism of shared agency. Compared to a single human body, the creature the bag forms, as well as its movements, are massive in volume. The audience member is literally overshadowed by this being. The plastic darkness that reaches towards and, at times, brushes against the spectators, creates a powerful and corporal viewing experience. In the performance, darkness opens up a potential space in which the audience’s personal boundaries and sense of time and space dissipate.

The human body, as it is, is never abstract, because it carries a multitude of cultural meanings and representations. What happens, when we obscure this body? In Flashdance the lights, the plastic bag and the performers inside of it create a unified whole, the elements of which are impossible to take apart. The agent on stage in Flashdance is abstract, an entity in a state of constant movement and change. It takes on forms impossible for the human body and shifts from landscapes to sculptural forms. Each viewer, positioned at the poetic borderland between light and darkness, sees within it a unique performance. The audience is thus faced with their limited ability to see and the boundless terrain of their imagination. In our society, which is penetrated by light and control, Flashdance evokes that which is mysterious and unconscious. 


Pitchings / Theatre

Noora Dadu: My Palestine – a monologue for two actors

My Palestine is a deeply personal and directly political monologue play for two actors. Main character is the author and director of the play, Noora Dadu, who tells the story of one Finnish-Palestinian Finnish-speaking Finland-based actor struggling with Palestine, a place she knows partly from her childhood home in Kuusankoski, Finland and mainly from the news filled with bombs and suffering kids.

Being Palestinian is political. This play shares with the audience some highlights from Dadu’s 14-year long trying-to-understand-Palestine-journey starting from 9/11/2001. Trying to be an activist. Failing. Making a fool of herself in. Trying to discuss atheism with a muslim relative. Trying to argue with a christian zionist in an aeroplane. Being interrogated at Ben Gurion Airport for 6 hours. Struggling with racism and hate and with questions of love and forgiveness. Trying to find a way to act and finding it finally on stage.

The first part is mainly a monologue, a performance lecture. The second part is more theatrical and has more dialogue, with the supporting actor Iida-Maria, who plays various Israeli characters.

My Palestine is a personal story about identity that’s created by various influences, memories, false memories, interpretations, hard facts and a personal struggle. Through the personal the play deals with the general topic of the history of Israel’s establishment and the occupation of Palestine. The tone of the play switches from farcical humour and almost stand-up comedy to direct political lecturing — in the end Dadu even sincerely proposes a solution to the conflict, not easy but possible.


Noora Dadu: FAIL – a flawed performance

Noora Dadu’s Fail is a play that deconstructs her previous play, My Palestine. Both works are about identity, but Fail is about those aspects of identity that are not given but chosen. Fail is an attempt to create a stage that’s a place where anything is possible, a place of metamorphosis and shared existence.

It starts with a simple stage: a styrox cabin in the middle of the stage. Inside the cabin Noora Dadu is talking into a microphone, as if she was making some kind of radio show, looking out through the cabin’s window.

She talks funny stuff, regrets some parts in her previous play, makes jokes, shows the audience 7 or 8 alternative futures she has, answers phone calls from theatre directors, and refuses several Arab roles she is offered. She talks about identity and about representation, about being an actor and what it means, takes various roles and lets them preach to the audience.

In the end the form of the performance breaks into improvised, a bit chaotic part with surprise visitors or a guests. Some kind of dialogue starts, maybe with a sense of joy.

Fail is a praise for failure. And free tits. Fail is a manifestation for a human being that cannot be identified by anyone else but herself. Fail reaches beyond the political and structural to something unidentified, fuzzy and funny. Fail liberates the stage from the burdens of storytelling and of authenticity too. It liberates and gives mercy.


Anna-Mari Karvonen & Anni Puolakka: Amor Fati

A certain earthly material enchants our protagonist Brad, who has drifted into a life crisis and a type of raw condition. He works on the clay and caresses it. He feels the need to unite with it. He wants to decay into it.

Amor fati focuses on an ancient relationship: the co-existence of human and clay. The piece looks at a Californian human body combining with two hundred kilograms of red clay, and meditates on the materiality of life. Amor fati is a living and dying sculpture which uses our concept of love as material. It releases Brad, a prisoner of his own narrative, and lets him romp with the clay to his heart’s content.

The performance premiered at the Kiasma Theater, as part of ARS17 exhibition which dealt with digital revolution and showcased artists of the new millenium.

Conceptualized and directed by Anna-Mari Karvonen and Anni Puolakka, Amor fati was co-created and performed by the working group including sound designer Tatu Nenonen, actor Samuli Niittymäki, and stage and light designer Heikki Paasonen.


Pitchings / Contemporary Opera – Music Theatre

Juhani Nuorvala/Juha Siltanen: Flash Flash

Juhani Nuorvala´s opera, if that’s what it really is, has a bit of a history, and it took scandalously long to make it to the stage in any form.

Flash Flash is a crazy piece of work, not so much ”about” Warhol as it is set around the idea of him. It’s written in just intonation, with a highly rhythmic musical score, and with a pitchperfect pop English text by Juha Siltanen, and makes heavy use of stage projections and lights. It could be defined as “populist high art”. It is manic and meditative, tasteless and touching, superficial and probing, all at once. Although rooted in pop idioms, one never loses the sense that it is all being guided by a highly-trained, intelligent hand, much like Warhol’s art. Above all, though, it is human, and grounded in a heartfelt emotion.

Juha Siltanen: “Flash Flash” describes a person and a culture that are forced by their own history to flirt with destruction and death, substituting personal experience and self-knowledge with consuming people, time, sexuality. At its core lies a simple and coherent story of a lonely man surrounded by people, but interwoven in it and surrounding it there is a portrait of American culture, placed, through the opera form, in one frame with European tradition. Thus, it is a double portrait picturing both an opera and its “hero”.””

The modern landscape of the stage, tv, photography and the media is actually as mythical as the world of the Nibelungen, and the destinies in it are equally out of proportion. Thus “Flash Flash” is a tragedy in the heroic time of the media. It is afresco wrapped up in the illusionism of modern stage technology, a fresco picturing a human being for whom the only possibility of experiencing deep feelings is to watch them from the outside. This seems to be the state of our Western culture, as well as the viewpoint of both an opera-goer in general and of Andy Warhol personally. In it all real passion is focused on a never-ending now-and-here, and this kind of passion is inevitably doomed to be deeply tragic and deeply ridiculous at the same time.

Flash Flash, from the concertante performance of the Intermission, 2011. Photo: Mikko Ryhänen



Herman Melville/Milja Sarkola: I Would Prefer Not To

I Would Prefer Not To is based on the American writer Herman Melville’s short story ”Bartley – The Scrivener”. The story is simple; one day a scrivener on Wall Street declines the tasks he is given for no apparent reason. He does not exactly refuse work, but he prefers not to do it. He prefers not to spell-check his documents. He prefers not to write them. And much to his employer’s despair, he prefers not to give a reason for this behaviour.

I Would Prefer Not To by the highly acclaimed writer and director Milja Sarkola examines Bartleby, and his mysterious presence. Who is he? A rebel? A despondent? An irresponsible worker? Who is someone that refuses to explain and define himself to the people around him?

I Would Prefer Not To is a performance about passive resistance, social responsibility and alienation. It received great critical and popular success at the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki in the spring of 2018, and will be shown at the Tampere Theatre Festival this upcoming summer.

I Would Prefer Not To. Photo: Cata Portin


Franz Kafka/Christoffer Mellgren: Förvandlingen – The Metamorphosis

The life of an ordinary family is disrupted in Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis”, when the family’s sole breadwinner Gregor Samsa, wakes up and finds he has been transformed into a giant insect. His parents and his sister are out of their minds. Suddenly they are responsible for chores, weekly earnings and debt, while their son and brother crawls on the walls of his now closed-off bedroom. Gregor’s sister is the only one who dares facing him. But is it still Gregor, in spite of his new condition? Does he hear her, does he understand her, does he remember all the things they’ve experienced together?

Christoffer Mellgren’s new adaptation and director Carl Knif examine the family unit and the forces that can disrupt such a closed entity. How much can the people close to us change, before we can no longer recognise and love them? How do we measure a person’s worth? What is a successful person?

Kafka’s surreal nightmare was staged with great success at the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki in the spring of 2016, and was invited to the annual Tampere Theatre Festival. In the spring of 2019 it will tour Sweden with Riksteatern.


Lars Norén: EPISODE

We get to meet six people in different stages of their lives under a single house viewing: The owners of the house who want to sell it in order to leave the sorrow and stagnation in their life; the middle-age couple that need a new project in order to find a spark between them again; and a younger couple that has just recently begun their journey through life together. Lives intersect for a short moment and shake the foundations of old building stones. What do we do because we want to do it, and what do we do because we think we have to?

The renowned Swedish dramatist Lars Norén describes our attempts at reaching each other in the midst of our lives with great tenderness. Episode is a collaboration between Jupither Josephsson Theatre Company, The Swedish Theatre in Helsinki, Riksteatern and the city theatres in Malmö, Stockholm and Uppsala. It was received to much acclaim during its premiere in Malmö in April 2018, and will be shown at the Swedish Theatre in the fall of 2018.



Minna Leino: Old Masters – A Comedy

In the Bordone Room of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, there hangs a famous work by Tintoretto: Portait of a White-Bearded Man. Sitting in quiet contemplation of the painting is Reger, music critic and tireless seeker of authenticity. Reger in turn is being contemplated by author and philosopher Atzbacher, who himself is contemplated by the museum attendant Irrsigler.

Sporting long white beards as in Tintoretto’s portrait, each of these three men has been placed on his own white pedestal. The ensuing discourse flows like a piece of music, creating a performance whose thematic sweep encompasses replicas, forgeries, loneliness, originality, theatre, kitsch, graveyards, Viennese toilets and monstrously over-rated old masters.

Thomas Bernhard’s hilariously vitriolic critique, first published in 1985, is a modern classic. This production has been specially conceived to be performed in a museum.


Kristian Smeds: Frozen Images

Frozen images offers a glimpse into the souls and fates of the people who inhabit the harsh landscape of the North.

A single mother raises her kids by drawing on hate and anger. A drowned boy observes the way of the world from the bottom of a lake.  A young girl tries to break free from her mother’s apron strings but the big wide world offers no succor. Even a wise old woman’s faith in life, god and art is shaken.

Life is grim, bleak and brutal, but punctuated by sudden flashes of dark humour. Written and directed by Kristian Smeds. Performed by Pirjo Luoma-aho, Esa-Matti Long, Petri Manninen, Rea Mauranen ja Taisto Reimaluoto.


Minna Leino & WAUHAUS: Sapiens (working title) – From animal to self-made god

The Finnish National Theatre is creating the world première of Yuval Noah Harari’s international best-seller Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind. Opening on the Main Stage in September 2019, Sapiens will be adapted by the FNT’s dramaturg Minna Leinoand realized in collaboration with leading cross-disciplinary arts collective W A U H A U S, known for its bold audio-visual aesthetics. The piece is directed and choreographed by collective members Anni Klein and Jarkko Partanen, scenography by Samuli Laine and sound design by Jussi Matikainen and Heidi Soidinsalo, working together with light designer Jani-Matti Salo and costume designer Laura Haapakangas. Production is done in collaboration with Finnish dance production house Zodiak.

In FNT’s interpretation of Harari’s work, Sapiens tells the story of a species inclined to tell stories, presented by an ensemble of both actors and dancers in a powerfully visual performance.
Seventy thousand years ago Homo Sapiens was a creature of minor importance pottering around a corner of Africa. Over the next millennia, it reinvented itself as lord and master of the planet – and the biggest threat to its ecosystem. Nowadays Sapiens is becoming a self-made god, bent on acquiring both eternal youth and the divine power to create and destroy. Despite humanity’s capacity for astonishing achievements, we remain unsure of our goals and dissatisfied with our lot. And unfortunately, humans seem more irresponsible than ever before.

As Harari puts it:
“Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”


Heini Junkkaala: Axel – Solo for Male Voice
Oblivia: Childer and Other Radicals
Essi Rossi: Tainaron
Tero Saarinen Company: Zimmermann Trio Theatre NO99 & Jalostamo2: Ship of Fools (live stream from Tallinn)

Davide Giovanzane & working group: Lehmann Brothers WHS/Kalle Nio: Green
Anna Paavilainen: Play Rape
Saara Turunen: The Phantom of Normality
Theo Clinkard, Maria Nurmela & Ville Oinonen: I told you there would be no certainty

Circus Aikamoinen: Circus I Love You – an utopian circus
Race Horse Company: Urbotek
WHS/Kalle Nio: Lähtö / Départ
WHS/Kalle Nio: Cutting Edge
Sanna Silvennoinen (Circo Aereo) & Thom Monckton: The Artist
Sivuhenkilöt: There’s No Room For My Wings

Maija Hirvanen: Art & Love
Ima Iduozee: This Is The Title
Ima Iduozee: The Garden of Eden
Sonja Jokiniemi: Blab
Veli Lehtovaara: Conversations (Peltotiekeskustelu) Sonya Lindfors: Cosmic Latte
Sonya Lindfors: Noble Savage
Elina Pirinen: Brume de Mer
Valtteri Raekallio: Oneiron
Tero Saarinen Company: Breath

Noora Dadu: My Palestine
Noora Dadu: FAIL – a flawed performance
Sophia Jupither: Episode
Anna-Mari Karvonen & Anni Puolakka: Amor Fati
Carl Knif: The Metamorphosis
Minna Leino: Old Masters – A Comedy
Milja Sarkola: I Would Prefer Not To
Kristian Smeds: Frozen Images
Minna Leino & WAUHAUS: Sapiens (working title) – From animal to self-made god

Juhani Nuorvala/Juha Siltanen/Erik Söderblom: Flash Flash


Showcase in Helsinki 31.8.–2.9.2018

Thu 30.8. HEAD START
At 7pm Performance Oblivia: Children and Other Radicals, Alminsali, National Opera

Fri 31.8.
At 11am Demo Kalle Nio: Green, WHS Theatre
At 11.30am Circus Pitchings (approx. 60 minutes), WHS Theatre
At 12.30am Lunch at WHS
At 2pm Demo Theo Clinkard & Maria Nurmela & Ville Oinonen: ́we told you there would be no certainty’ (working title), WHS Theatre
At 2.30pm Dance Pitchings (approx. 2 hours), WHS Theatre
At 7pm Performance Essi Rossi: Tainaron, National Theatre, small stage
At 7pm Performance Tero Saarinen Company: Zimmermann Trio, Helsinki Music Centre, Concert Hall

Sat 1.9.
At 10.30am Demo Anna Paavilainen: Play Rape Lavaklubi, National Theatre
At 11.00am Theatre Pitchings (approx. 90 minutes) Lavaklubi, National Theatre
At 1pm Lunch at Lavaklubi
From 2.30pm to 5.30pm Seminar on International Cooperation & Touring in Performing Arts Field, WHS Theatre Keynote speakers and panelists tbc
At 7pm Performance Essi Rossi: Tainaron, National Theatre, small stage
At approx. 8pm Live stream from Tallinn Jalostamo2 & NO99: Ship of Fools, Lavaklubi, National Theatre

Sun 2.9.
At 11am Demo Saara Turunen: Phantom of Normality, WHS Theatre
At 1pm Demo Davide Giovanzane & working group: Lehmann Brothers, Lavaklubi, National Theatre
At 4pm Performance Heini Junkkaala: Axel – Solo for Male Voice, Lavaklubi, National Theatre