Both mustaches and minds are treated in the institute


Joanna Haartti. Photo by Anna Antsalo

In Tampere Theatre Festival you are welcome to visit The Mustache Institute to see how it operates. This charming show that premiered in Teatteri Takomo consists of discoveries made by researchers with mustached faces, silent cinema, live music and the practice of being. In this strange world they use research methods such as imagination and being together. With these methods the show gently approaches trauma and the healing potential of stage.


A new kind of space for artistic work

The actor Joanna Haartti has gathered up a six-person collective to create a space and a community to study, heal and deconstruct ideas and experiences. She feels that it is also important to share this process with an audience.

– The institute was created for us to be a space, a place, a structure for research, healing and integration work. The world did not have this kind of place, so we created it.

Artistic work and mindfulness take place in the institute in a playful and logical way. There one can deconstruct the root causes of patriarchal thinking and experiences.

– We take care of what there is, we integrate what we need a connection with, we study what is invisible, what there are no words for, what we miss.

The Mustache Institute is a non-hierarchical community that works collectively and draws from its members’ backgrounds, experiences and practices. The role of Haartti as an institute dramaturge is to introduce research topics and processes to the collective, but in the end, the performance is built together.


With mustache inversion the world is perceived inside out

Why the mustache? According to Haartti this is something that the audience has to answer themselves. She says that the mustaches acted as a catalyst for the institute, but now they are sometimes forgotten.

– The mustaches opened us a journey to somewhere, but we travel in various sceneries, sometimes with the mustaches and sometimes without.

The role of the institute as a theatrical healing practice appears to be more central than the mustaches: with the help of mustache inversion the institute aims at changing the way we perceive the world and trauma. The performance nurtures thinking, experiences and factors that affect them. The Mustache Institute gives the viewers strength, solace and courage.

– It heals what lives as trauma in our central nervous system. At the same time we treat the mustaches and other things that live in us and the world.


To be continued

The story of the institute does not end with The Mustache Institute, vice versa the performance opens a trilogy. At the moment the collective works with the sequel Umstülpung, which is German and means everting. The final part of the trilogy will be Parantaja (eng. Healer). The Mustache Institute introduces the peculiar world of the trilogy, the institute and its extraordinary treatment practices.


The Mustache Institute will be performed at Tampere Comedy Theatre on Tuesday 2.8. at 18:30 and on Wednesday 3.8. at 14:30. Buy tickets here.


The article is written based on an interview with Joanna Haartti.

Interview, text and translation: Reetta Toivettula


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