Performing HEL (Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2023) presents a curated selection of 20 works from Finland, among which are works targeted at young audiences, performances that explore the relationship between humans and nature, works that fearlessly utilize technology, as well as performances that take place both on and off stage.

Performing HEL is not a festival but a window to the world of the interesting Finnish theater, dance, and circus performances that are relevant and suitable for international touring. Some of the showcased performances are full-length works, while others are demos or pitches.

“A colorful, fun, loud, daring, and accessible showcase is sexy in an unpredictable way,” describes curator Eva Neklyaeva, a jury member of the showcase.

Social and political issues are of interest to audiences of various forms of art. Approaching these topics from different perspectives in the showcase are, for example, Two Phone Calls by Tuomo Rämö, based on phone calls between Aleksei Navalny and Donald Trump, and Éliane by Maija Nurmio and Teemu Mäki, which deals with violence and its counterforce. The showcase features the internationally acclaimed Room trilogy by Saara Turunen which deals with social norms. The third part of the trilogy, The Grapes of Reason, will premiere in Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany in September 2023.

Club gigs, the world of social media, and hip-hop culture are visible in the performances of many young artists. For example ONSTAGE – The Concert by Tiia Kasurinen is inspired by pop stars and bold stage performances, and Tiikeri by Milla Jarkko, is a multi-disciplinary work drawing from the world of social media. There is also a new work by Sonya Lindfors aimed at young audiences.

Many selected works cross between different art forms and seek new movement or expression languages. The finalist of CircusNext 2023, Recover Laboratory’s performance <3 (Smaller than three) plays with the hula hoop in an unprecedented way and invites the audience to participate. PERTO by Company Portmanteau combines contemporary circus, video art, dance, and physical theater.

Performing HEL also includes performances for the whole family. Colorsphere by Hands Some Feet is a contemporary circus piece for children and their adults, combining juggling, physical theater, and a tennis ball-shooting machine. Whizz, whirr, bang, clang by Hav-Anna Company and Viirus is a seemingly calm storytelling moment and performance inspired by Sylvia Plath’s children’s stories.

Performing HEL showcase will be held from August 31st to September 3rd, 2023, in Helsinki and Espoo.

The showcase will be opened on Thursday, August 31st with the seminar discussion about the use of digitalization in the presentation, recording, and distribution of performing arts. Explore the full program here.

Limited capacity. Register now! Registration fee: €50 – includes lunches, snacks, and a three-day public transportation ticket.

The presented works were selected through an open call by a jury consisting of Eva Neklyaeva (curator, freelancer), Lotta Nevalainen & Riitta Aittokallio (Circus and Dance Info Finland), and Vigdís Jakobsdóttir (Reykjavik Arts Festival). In 2023, Performing HEL is organized by Circus and Dance Info Finland and Theatre Info Finland (TINFO) in collaboration with Helsinki Festival, Svenska Teatern, the National Theatre, and Espoo City Theatre.