Allekirjoita adressi Riihimäen Teatterin säilyttämisen puolesta

Kolme vuotta peräkkäin ollaan oltu Tampereen teatterikesässä, toteutettu korkeatasoisia, kiitettyjä esityksiä, osallistuttu Tanssiteatteri Minimin kanssa teatterikentän toimintamallien uudistamiseen lisäämällä yhteistyötä teattereiden välillä. Olemme luoneet teatterille myös digitaalista ulottuvuutta ja vastikään viihdytimme presidenttiä Riihimäen kaupungin mannekiineina – ja nyt kaupunginjohtaja esittää Vuoden teatteriksi valitun Riihimäen Teatterin toiminnan lopettamista. Teatterin taiteellisena johtajana olen tyrmistynyt tästä suunnitelmasta.

Lue Yleisradion, Helsingin Sanomien ja Hämeen Sanomien uutiset aiheesta ja…


In Riihimäen Teatteri we’ve been producing highly acclaimed performances that have been invited to Tampere Theatre Festival three years in a row. Besides this, in cooperation with Dance Theatre Minimi, we have participated in reforming the national model of producing theatre to make it more collaborative and we have worked to make theatre more digitally accessible. For all these reasons Riihimäen Teatteri was selected as The Theatre of The Year 2017. Just briefly we entertained mr President successfully as the showpiece of Riihimäki – and now the mayor suggests to close down the theatre. As the artistic director of the theatre I’m flabbergasted. Sign a petition to save the theatre!


Tatu Mönttinen & Katja Peacock on stage at Riihimäen Teatteri. photo: Aki Loponen


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Baking rye bread and discussing future work

Reality Research Centre presents: Työ 5.0 – LEIPÄ / Work 5.0 – BREAD

A bakery at Helsinki Art Museum’s HAM Corner

Open from 13 October to 23 December as follows: Wed 11-19 / Fri 15-19 / Sat 12-16



During the year’s final quarter Reality Research Centre’s Työsaareke group is baking rye bread and discussing future work with the audiences at Helsinki Art Museum’s HAM Corner. I’m one of the bakers and debaters, doing 15 shifts at the bakery until Christmas, starting today.

Work 5.0 – BREAD is a bakery, performance, forum, workshop and live installation. You can participate in it as a spectator, debater or baker. We instruct how to bake rye bread and bakers may take their bread home with them. While baking we talk about work; what is it right now, is it meaningful, is it shit or is it awesome? And what will work be in the future? What should do with it?

Every Saturday there will be a special guest baking with us and discussing future work.

More info from Reality Research Centre and HAM.



Photos by HAM / Maija Toivanen.

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Janne Katajan Riihimäki



Janne Katajan Riihimäki at Riihimäen Teatteri from 14 October to 16 December 2017.

Maria Säkö’s review in Helsingin Sanomat 15.10.

Pirjo Puukko’s review in Hämeen Sanomat 18.10.

Simo Sahlman’s review in Lukupino blog 21.10.

Maria Oiva’s post performance discussion with anthropologist Sanna Rauhala 21.11. (podcast)

Scriptwriter Taija Helminen interviewed in Helsingin Sanomat 29.11.

Article in YLE news 14.10.

Article including a preview video in Hämeen Sanomat 11.10.

Voima 10/2017 (pääkirjoitus ja artikkeli)

My first work of theatre in four years! Come and see! More info from Riihimäen Teatteri.

A documentary theatre performance about a fate of a small city in Southern Finland seen through the lenses of one of it’s most well known inhabitant, media person, presenter and comedian, mr Janne Kataja.

Janne Katajan Riihimäki cuts through the last 37 years of Riihimäki’s history and focuses on the tragedy of 1990’s depression that broke the city’s identity. Simultaneously it tells the story of Kataja, how he became who he is today and what role Riihimäki played in his upbringing.

The script is largely based on interviews with Kataja and other Riihimäki dwellers. How Kataja and people on the streets envision Riihimäki’s future form the main conflict of the play. Kataja’s vision is fantastic, to him Riihimäki is a picturesque French village full of colour and hope. Compared to that passer-bys’ outlook is gritty. Realistic, some might say. From their point of view Kataja is just a lucky duck but, actually, he has done great many things to build a better Riihimäki.

In 1997 Riihimäki became the Easter Capital of Finland. 17-year-old Kataja created an Easter mascot for the celebrations. It was a bunny called Eko-Riksu. The city employed Kataja to play Eko-Riksu in various functions for several years. Riksu is the city’s nickname, Eko refers to the ecological brand it tried to build back then. Riihimäki was ahead of it’s time. Unfortunately being eco-friendly took more than a decade to become fashionable, profitable business, and the idea was buried. Riihimäki remains Easter Capital but it’s true identity, or brand, is yet to be found…

On stage you get to see Janne and other Riihimäki characters played by three marvellous actors – Riku Korhonen, Katja Peacock, Maija Siljander. Eko-Riksu the Easter Bunny and another contemporary Riihimäki celebrity, actor Aku Hirviniemi, is played by the amazing Tatu Mönttinen. Eko-Riksu tries make his come back on stage but in the end of the day the three Jannes run the show…

Janne Katajan Riihimäki is written by Taija Helminen and directed by me. Stage and costume design by Paula Koivunen, light design by Sami Rauhala and sound design by Kari Paukola. Another star from Riihimäki, singer/songwriter Samae Koskinen, has composed a song exclusively for the performance.

All photos by Aki Loponen.


Riku Korhonen, Katja Peacock and Maija Siljander as Janne Kataja


Tatu Mönttinen as Eko-Riksu


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Entertaining Mr President


Mr President Sauli Niinistö visited the region of Hämeenlinna and Riihimäki yesterday. In Riihimäki a reception was held for him at The Finnish Glass Museum. Riihimäen Teatteri was there to entertain Mr President, local politicians and kids from Riihimäki Youth Theatre with a poetry performance Ehkä liioittelen vähän. With Matti Arnkil I gave a speech about why Riihimäen Teatteri is the Theatre of the Year. After the performance Mr President understood why. He was very pleased and said that beforehand he hadn’t known how good we are. Well, we were, thanks to the actors Katja Peacock and Maija Siljander! They did a great job. And why wouldn’t they? Ehkä liioittelen vähän is a brilliant piece of poetry on stage. Based on the poems of Anja Erämaja, directed by Taru Kivinen.

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Talking Head as an exercise

Theatre Academy has published an excellent book: Performance Artist’s Workbook, On teaching and learning performance art – essays and exercises (number 61 in the publication series). It is edited by professor Pilvi Porkola and it consists of five essays and 44 performance art exercises written by artists from various countries. To me the excellence of this book lies in the combination of exercises, that show how tangible and fun performance art can be, and analytical essays by professor Ray Langenbach, Dr Annette Arlander, Dr Hanna Järvinen, Dr Tero Nauha and Porkola. It is a very practical and inspiring book.

I’m honoured to be one of the artists invited to write an exercise to this book. It’s nothing new, I must admit. “Stream of Consciousness Exercise – how to verbalise all thoughts running through your mind in front of an audience” is based on my Talking Head performance that I’ve been performing for ever. But it’s a good one and worth trying. Now you can do it yourself by following simple guidelines – or developing your own.

If you want to see me doing it, there’s a chance to see Talking Head on Saturday 18th November in Roskilde, Denmark at OoPS Festival.

photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

Talking Head in Kiasma Theatre in 2015. photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

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Kickstart week ahead!

After the summer break rehearsals of Janne Katajan Riihimäki (JKR) will continue at Riihimäen Teatteri next week on Wednesday. Soon we’ll be promoting the performance in Riihimäen Asematapahtuma, singing a new Riihimäki song composed by Samae Koskinen among other things. Premiere of JKR is ahead on 14th of October. So, still some time to research and try things before making final decisions!

One can’t say the same about 24H Pori project that I’m going to participate as a director on Saturday September 2nd at Lainsuojattomat festival in Pori. In 24H Pori 6 playwrights, 6 directors and 24 actors have only 24 hours to come up with 6 new short plays from scratch. Saturday evening at 7 pm they are performed in front of the audience. I’m excited to be invited! And the list of participants is impressive. Check the list & more here and read the article by Satakunnan Kansa.

The 24 Hour Plays concept was created in New York in 1995 and the version in Pori has been arranged annually for five years now.

Lainsuojattomat (“Outlaws”) is a cosy festival for Finnish independent theatre scene. I’ve been there every now and then since 2002 with several productions, sometimes as a director, performer, journalist, panelist – not to forget the times as a festival slave and a festival sweetheart.

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Tainaronin ihanat naiset Kolina van den Berg, Seela Sella ja Kati Outinen julistekuvassa 1997. Kuva: Ari Keränen, Yle

Tainaronin ihanat naiset Kolina van den Berg, Seela Sella ja Kati Outinen julistekuvassa 1997. Kuva: Ari Keränen, Yle

Leena Krohn: TAINARON

Radioteatterin valiouusinta vuodelta 1997 lähetetään YLE Radio 1:seltä kahdessa osassa:

osa 1/2 su 23.7.2017 klo 15
osa 2/2 su 30.7.2017 klo 15

Osa 1/2 kuunneltavissa Yle Areenasta 23.7. – 22.8.
Osa 2/2 kuunneltavissa Yle Areenassa 30.7. – 29.8.

Tainaron vie kuulijan matkalle omalakiseen todellisuuteen, kaukaiseen maahan, jossa mikään ei ole aivan kuin omassamme. Tainaronin kaupungin asukkaat muistuttavat enemmän hyönteisiä kuin ihmisiä, mutta heidän edesottamuksensa ovat syvästi inhimillisiä.
Kuunnelma seuraa ulkopuolisen saapumista Tainaroniin ja avaa unenomaisen kaupunkimaiseman muukalaisen silmin. Tainaron on fantasia, unelma, houre ja painajainen.
Tainaron (1985) on Leena Krohnin läpimurtoromaani ja suomalaisen surrealismin merkkiteos.

Teksti: Leena Krohn
Sovitus ja ohjaus: Janne Saarakkala
Tekninen toteutus: Jaakko Jämsä
Rooleissa: Kolina van den Berg, Kati Outinen, Seela Sella ja Mikko Korsulainen
Tuottaja: Mauri Ahola

Kuunnelman hyönteismäiset äänitaustat loivat Teatterikorkeakoulun näyttelijät vuosikurssilta 1994-1999 puheilmaisun lehtoreiden Ritva Koivusen ja Malla Kuuranteen kanssa. Mukana mm. Olka Horila, Vuokko Hovatta, Sesa Lehto, Jussi Lehtonen, Satu Paavola, Panu Vauhkonen.

Tainaron-kuunnelma on ensimmäinen osa kaksiosaisesta kuunnelmasarjasta Et ole paikassa vaan paikka sinussa. Toisen osan, nimeltään Käytävä, sovitti ja ohjasi Jani Manninen useammasta Krohnin romaanista.

Helsingin Sanomien arvio 23.7.2017.

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In July Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE will replay my radio adaptation of Tainaron (1985), a famous Finnish novel by Leena Krohn. I directed it for Radio Theatre in the very beginning of my career in 1997. While doing it I was finishing my thesis in Theatre Academy.

I have always liked the way Tainaron turned out even though, in hindsight, some moments in it are slightly incomprehensible. Still, the leading actresses, Kolina van den Berg, Kati Outinen and Seela Sella, do amazing work, the music dramaturgy is just perfect and the weird but wonderful backround noises are made by a class of actor students. Some sounds I recorded myself at the country side and in early mornings of Helsinki, when the city is empty and silent.

Tainaron is a series of letters from a woman living in an uncanny city of Tainaron inhabited by insects. Otherwise the city resembles Helsinki almost exactly.

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Wedding cake rehearsal

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Angela, Leo and Viesturs in the heat of the fight about freedom. Photo: Paula Koivunen

Yesterday we were rehearsing a cake fight, a scene that’s becoming central in Normal Cake, Please performance. Tomorrow evening it’s time to show a selected audience what have we been able to come up in ten days in Copenhagen. I’m so happy that Agate Bankava, Taisija Frolova, Modris Opelts and Rudolfs Gedins from ARA Dance Company are with us because they are such amazing young professionals and very nice people to work with!

photo: Paula Koivunen

photo: Paula Koivunen

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Normal Cake, Please

Viesturs, Leo and Angela messing with a cake. Is it normal? photo: Valdis Broze

Viesturs, Leo and Angela messing with cake. Is it normal? photo: Valdis Broze

What is normal today and are we free? Besides all the practicalities, these are the questions I’ll be thinking hard with Nina Larissa Bassett and Ivo Briedis in Normal Cake Workshop in Copenhagen the next couple of weeks, and we are not alone. Four dancers of Latvian Dance Company Ara will join us and PhD Pilvi Porkola and set & costume designer Paula Koivunen will be there too!

Normal Cake, Please is a staged wedding party dealing with current issues of political, sexual and personal freedom from Nordic perspectives. It is a liberating site-related performance by theatre professionals from Denmark, Finland and Latvia. Produced by Uneasy Listening Society (DK) in cooperation with dance company ARA (LV), Nordic theatre festivals, practising churches and LGBT activists. Subject to take place in Riga, Helsinki and Copenhagen 2018-2020.

Check the previous Normal Cake post.

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