Tampere Theatre Festival Gives Center Stage to Outside Voices


Tampere Theatre Festival Press Release, May 4, 2017

The 49th annual Tampere Theatre Festival takes place on August 7–13, 2017. This year’s event is dedicated to outsiders, outcasts and derelicts. Many of the performances also address the issue of communities: how are they formed and who fits in.

In the words of the festival’s artistic board of directors – Milja Sarkola, Miko Jaakkola and Erik Söderblom: ”This year, we wanted to put a spotlight on the ignored, the deported, the othered, the abandoned and the forgotten. The kinds of stories and lives that are rarely found at the core of a nation’s identity.”

The festival features 19 Main Programme productions and a total of 42 representations. Artists will be arriving from Sweden, Belgium, the UK, Belarus, Estonia and Hungary, among others.

Focusing on physicality, belongingness and freedom

The Tampere Theatre Festival contributes to ”Freedom of Expression Stories”, a project managed by the Tampere Region Festivals organization as part of the ”Finland 100” centenary programme. Accordingly, this year’s festival places a strong emphasis on the theme of freedom.

The festival welcomes one of the most powerful underground theatre companies on the planet, The Belarus Free Theatre. The theatre’s founders live in exile in the UK, while its members continue working in Belarus, underground due to political repression. Their production, Burning Doors, turns the personal experiences of suppressed artists into a critique of the deprivation of the right to self-expression. One of the firsthand accounts on which the play is based is the story of activist and Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina.

Sweden’s most famous contemporary dance company, The Cullberg Ballet, brings its 50th anniversary celebration to Tampere with Protagonist, a look at human nature and the importance of belongingness, choreographed by one of Europe’s top talents, Jefta van Dinther. The festival performance will be produced in cooperation with the Tampere Hall.

The Turku City Theatre’s critically acclaimed Tom of Finland is a musical about the joy of finding yourself and your community. Librettist Tuomas Parkkinen and director-choreographer Reija Wäre join forces with composers Jussi Vahvaselkä and Jori Sjöroos in this stage production chronicling Touko Laaksonen’s rise to global cult stardom.

The Kuopio City Theatre’s Casanova, My Wife, written and directed by Leea Klemola, is a painfully funny depiction of ageing and the will to live, as well as an examination of shame, lust and the need for approval.

In Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God, Anna-Mari Karvonen insightfully directs Roland Schimmelpfennig’s German hit play to paint a picture of a world where man has outreasoned God.

The Riihimäki Theatre, selected Finnish Theatre of the Year, presents Elina Snicker’s Military, My Love, a piece about a father and a daughter losing their way outside the military. Without the support of an authoritative system, even your own body seems strange.

Adding some local flavor to the festival, the Tampere-based Theatre Telakka presents Juha Hurme’s Crazy, a portrayal of a shattering mind and the human capability to self-reconstruct one observation at a time.

Emilia Kokko, a University of Tampere theatre graduate, ponders the incomprehensibility of gender in Genderfuck – gender poetics.

The Forgotten and the Othered

Choreographer Sonya Lindfors was recently presented with the Theatre Info Finland Award for her groundbreaking work for Finnish dance and performing arts. In Noble Savage, she examines the processes of othering and raises the question of who can portray whom and how. Produced in cooperation with YLE Draama, the performances will be recorded at the Mediapolis studios in Tohloppi, and a compilation broadcast will be aired on YLE Teema.

The Finnish National Theatre’s Arctic Hysteria takes a look at Finnish generational history from a forgotten angle. Directed by Atro Kahiluoto, this first dramatization of Marko Tapio’s book series is based on the two published installments and Tapio’s unfinished drafts for the final parts.

The Aurinkoteatteri company from Helsinki makes its second Tampere Theatre Festival appearance with writer-director Sanna Hietala’s The Predators, a trip to the other side of a therapy society.

People Respect Me Now, an award-winning production by the Swedish Lumor Theatre, tells a story about school violence and an individual’s clash with Scandinavian bureaucracy. Similar issues with officials and administrators also come into focus in The Deported, performed by the Rakastajat company from Pori. Directed by Elina Izarra Ollikainen, the play ventures deep into the labyrinth of deportation decisions.

A Multidisciplinary Year

This year’s programme features many multidisciplinary productions. Fruits of Labor, a sculpture concert by Belgian visual artist Miet Warlop is a cross between performance art, installation, poetry and rock music.

The Finnish National Theatre’s just filming, directed by Kristian Smeds, focuses on cinema. The multinational team behind the piece is headlined by the acting duo of Hungarian Annamária Láng and Estonian Juhán Ulfsak.

Sidekicks, directed by Alma Lehmuskallio, combines contemporary circus with theatre. The play deals with the fate of being sidelined and ignored. The festival also welcomes Finland’s most ambitious puppet theatre, Aura of Puppets from Turku, who collaborate with the Tehdas theatre company in an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Their version, created by a team of more than 20 members, takes the classic to a landfill slum.

Father Fucker by the HYPE collective, formed in 2016, deconstructs the masculine myth of the artist. This piece of ”trash theatre”, directed by Sara Melleri, fuses together music, stage poetry, live installation and dance.

Finally, mixing science with fiction and philosophy, the acclaimed Belgian company Ontroerend Goed treat us with World Without Us, a meditative prediction of what happens when all the people and the traces of civilization are gone.


Additional Information

Executive director Hanna Rosendahl +358 40 5944 600

Marketing and communications manager Tiina Hurskainen +358 40 865 5852

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