Tampere Theatre Festival turns fifty – the Main Programme focuses on claiming one's space


Tampere Theatre Festival, the largest professional theatre event in Scandinavia, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Scheduled for August 6-12, the week-long celebration features twenty Main Programme productions – all highly original works handpicked by the festival's artistic team of Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen, Miko Jaakkola and Aleksis Meaney along with executive director Hanna Rosendahl.

"This year's programming really highlights the anniversary," Rosendahl says. "The lineup stands as a representation of our time. The Main Programme's focal points are the effort to take control of one's life, space and surroundings, and the desire to make improvements. But there's also a strong sense of history – reworking classics, examining the past, trying to see what tomorrow brings."

The festival welcomes artists from Hungary, France, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands. Finland is represented by the Tampere Theatre, the TTT Theatre, the Hämeenlinna Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre, the Svenska Teatern company, the Jurkka Theatre, the KOM Theatre, the Aurinkoteatteri company and the Theatre Academy. The festival also plays host to numerous freelance performances and independent productions as well as a world premiere.

A weekend of international talents

Evoking the spirit of 1930s Paris, the Recirquel Company Budapest takes the stage with Paris de Nuit, a joint production of Tampere Theatre Festival and the Tampere Hall featuring over twenty artists, circus performers and musicians.

Renowned French director, stage designer and visual artist Philippe Quesne turns the TTT Theatre main stage into a cave full of furry creatures with his Night of the Moles, a rock-influenced production by the Nanterre-Amandiers company. Quesne's past appearances at the festival include the Vivarium Studio productions L'Effet de Serge (2008) and La Mélancolie des Dragons (2009).

Putting the classics in a blender with power and love

The anniversary festival offers a number of reworked classics – such as the acclaimed Sardegna Teatro & Compagnia Teatropersona adaptation of Macbeth, a visceral yet eloquent Sardinian rendition of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, directed by Alessandro Serra and produced in Elizabethan fashion with an all-male cast.

Representing the new wave of Hungarian theatre with a unique style that could be described as high-risk minimalism, the Dollardaddy's company brings Chekhov to the next level and up close with the audience in their aptly named mashup Chekhov.

Compañia Kaari & Roni Martin's take on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina builds upon the rhythms and movement material of flamenco while featuring a rare performance by dance legend Jorma Uotinen.

Hämeenlinna Theatre presents a stage version of Ingmar Bergman's influential Scenes from a Marriage, directed by Samuli Reunanen.

Antti Mikkola updates Maria Jotuni's Tottering House for Tampere Theatre, reversing the original's gender roles.

Two views of a nation one hundred years ago

This year's Main Programme includes two depictions of the 1918 Finnish Civil War seen through the eyes of young Red Guard women: KOM Theatre's Blood Roses, dramatized and directed by Lauri Maijala, and The Girls 1918, TTT Theatre's large-scale musical by playwright-director Sirkku Peltola. Both productions are based on Anneli Kanto's novel Blood Roses.

Looking forward and making a stand

Both of Finland's national theatre companies are represented at this year's festival. Svenska Teatern presents Milja Sarkola's I Would Prefer Not To, a story about passive resistance, social responsibility and adjustment. Minna Leino's Old Masters, a comedy about art, is a Finnish National Theatre production that has previously been performed at the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki and will be performed at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere.

Celebrating their 10th anniversary and making their Tampere Theatre Festival debut, the multidisciplinary arts collective Third Space presents The Legend of the Tiny Bone, a journey into the future and also into the history of humanity, written by Seppo Parkkinen and directed by Susanna Airaksinen & Juha Malmivaara.

Crossing over from theatre to film, Stop Acting Now (2016) is a docudrama by the Wunderbaum company from Rotterdam, detailing the group's efforts to change the world by shifting gears from acting to straight-up action.

Baikal Brothers Co takes us on a trip to Siberia with a group of Theatre Academy students, the Aurinkoteatteri company and director Leea Klemola. The production is part of the "Lavat auki!" program, uniting students with a trailblazing theatremaker in an international setting.

Taking control of one's body, life and space

The #metoo movement makes a double impact at Tampere Theatre Festival. Olga and Amanda Palo's Nutcase deals with sexual violence and its effects on the human mind. Finnish-Egyptian filmmaker and performance artist Samira Elagoz explores the same subject in Cock, Cock.. Who's There?, focusing on the healing process. Elagoz, an Amsterdam resident, was awarded the 2017 Prix Jardin d'Europe prize as the year's best young choreographer.

From Austria, The Audition for the Role of Stephen Hawking in the Theory of Everything is a collaboration of LizArt Productions and the Toxic Dreams company. It's a fictional account of the casting process for the lead role in a biopic about famous physicist Stephen Hawking. The play raises the question of ownership: To whom does the stage belong, and under what conditions?

Written by Laura Gustafsson and directed by Sini Pesonen, Jurkka Theatre's Kikka Fan Club paints a portrait of a past star, the late singer Kikka.

Anna-Mari Karvonen and Anni Puolakka's Amor fati rebuilds the life of a man from California – out of 200 kilograms of clay.

Celebrating with a world premiere

One of the artistic team's goals is to support rising talents, and the anniversary festival is a great platform to premiere the work of young freelancers like Ruusu Haarla and Julia Lappalainen. Turkka Dies spotlights Finnish theatre legend Jouko Turkka (1942-2016) and his overwhelming influence on not just the theatre community but Finnish society as a whole. The work's subject matter and cultural significance were the key factors that contributed to its selection for this year's lineup.

In addition to the Main Programme, the festival spreads throughout the city with concerts at the Central Square's Programme Tent and multiple fringe productions that will be announced later. A 50th anniversary exhibit of Tampere Theatre Festival is on display at the Cultural House Laikku throughout August.

Additional information
Executive director Hanna Rosendahl, +358 40 5944 600
Head of PR and Marketing Tiina Hurskainen, +358 40 865 5852

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