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Theatrical Landscape of Finland

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Theatrical Landscape of Finland
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In addition to the broad theatre network, countless festivals take place in Finland. The largest one is the Tampere Theatre Festival, which shows the latest foreign productions and a range of the season’s best Finish productions. The Tampere Festival, as well as the Stage festival organised by Helsinki festival and the more traditional Baltic Circle Festival are meeting points for those who are interested in the new directions of contemporary theatre. The so-called "lawless", the freelance roups that weren't included in the law on support for theatres have their own festival in Pori. There are also several festivals for amateur groups, Mikkeli and Seinäjoki are the largest ones.

The repertoire of  Finish theatre goes from hit musicals and comedies to classics, new native and foreign plays. In the season of 2006/2007 there were 203 Finish plays in repertoire, 38 per cent of which were world premieres. From the 154 foreign plays 26 per cent were Finish premieres. The largest amounts of foreign plays come from England and America. The amount of contemporary Finish plays has grown noticeably the last 15 years.

Young language that takes on an important role
The impulse for the flourishing of Finish drama derives from the dramaturge training at the theatre colleges, which put particular emphasis on writing. Every year talented young authors complete these studies (for example Maria Peura, Marjo, Niemi, Anna Krogerus, Tuomas Timonen, Heini Junkkaala, Okko Leo, Otso, Huopaniemi, Maria Kilpi). Many of them have not only received prizes for their dramas, but also approval and good reviews for their prose. Almost half of the world premieres are produced by the authors themselves, which displays the versatility of Finish playwrights.

In order to understand Finish theatre of today a quick overview of its development is required. Compared to the other great powers of European theatre, Finish theatre is very young. The first Finish performances only managed to get into the limelight in the first half of the 19th century. The actual calendar of Finish theatre began with Aleksis Kivi, whose plays "Die Heideschuster" (1864) and the novel that was partly written in drama "Seven Brothers" (1870), were a guide to the development of Finish drama and literature. The sparse audience of the 19th century didn't only watch Finish plays in the newly founded theatres - the Finish language had only just found its final written form - , but also especially German and Scandinavian innovations.

Shaped by everyday experiences and problems
Even though Finnish theatre had to start from scratch and was dependent on the work of amateurs, it was clear from the beginning that it would follow the development of its neighbouring countries and attempt to keep up with new directions. At the same time theatre was a pastime for the entire nation and was shaped by everyday experiences and problems. This realistic attitude was put on the same level as the audience and still remains today.