Kesytön (Untamed) is a play written by German playwright Enis Mac and translated by Ville Koskivaara. It was the first production to be published with the support of the World on Stage grant. Photo by Heidi Bergströmv
The Finnish Cultural Foundation has awarded its World on Stage grants for the second time. Thanks to the funding programme, nine contemporary plays from around the world will be shown on Finnish stages.
The first round of World on Stage grants was announced in 2022 by the Finnish Cultural Foundation to encourage Finnish theatres to translate 30 new theatre works from around the world into Finnish, and show them on Finnish stages. There is an emphasis on primarily finding plays outside the Anglo-American language sphere. The overall funding sum for the initiative will come to around EUR 1.2 million over three years.
The total sum awarded in this application round was EUR 250,000, given out to a total of nine projects. The source languages of the theatre works in question are Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, French, Swedish, and Russian.
“The World on Stage grant was developed based on the observation that top-quality contemporary dramatic works from non-Anglo-American language regions are in a clear minority in theatres. The works being translated now can enrich and diversify the programmes of theatres in Finland,” explains the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Regional Fund Officer Antti Niskanen, who is in charge of the World on Stage grants application round.
Teatteri Avoimet Ovet will present the Finnish adaptation of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych), based on the Polish novel by Olga Tokarczuk, in which not only numerous villagers but also a diverse group of animals make their voices heard.
As an Iraqi-Ukrainian-Finnish collaboration, Alpo Aaltokoski Company will produce a theatre performance based on Albert Camus' French-language work The State of Siege (L'État de siège). The play was written in 1948 but is very relevant today. It presents a post-war storyline in which people who have experienced horrors cannot shed their fears.
The Sign Language theatre Teatteri Totti received a grant to translate into Finnish the Swedish-language play Frans by Sarah Remgren, and to produce its staging. The languages used in the performance will be Finland-Swedish and Finnish Sign Languages, Finnish, and Swedish.
Of the theatre productions supported through the first funding round in 2022, three have premiered so far: KESYTÖN eli O:n markiisitar – Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (orig. WÜST Oder Die Marquise von O.... - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) at KokoTeatteri, Heterofiili (orig. Heterofil) at Valtimonteatteri, and Neuvostoihmisen loppu (orig. Времясекондхэнд, Vremya sekond khend) by the Helsinki-based theatre group sadsongskomplex:fi and the working group Helsinki 98. The next round of applications will be in August 2024.
The practical implementation of the World on Stage project in the years 2022–2024 is managed by TINFO Theatre Info Finland, which has also compiled a curated database of current plays that are suitable for translation.
"It's especially pleasing to notice how theatres are working together to produce works and tours. The range of grant recipients also shows that the initiative has managed to reach theatres all over Finland. There is great diversity among the plays being translated into Finnish, so theatre audiences can expect many enticing performances,” says Linnea Stara, director of TINFO.
The other funding body involved in the World on Stage project is the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, which supports the translation of plays into Swedish and performance stagings in Finland’s Swedish-language theatres.
Supported performance productions in 2023:
MA Jaakko Heinonen and working group for the translation and staging of Svetlana Alexievich’s Russian-language novel Цинковыемальчики(Zinky Boys)
Jyväskylä City Theatre for translating Monika Isakstuen's Norwegian-language play Se på meg når jeg snakker til deg (Look at me when I am talking to you), and producing its Finnish-language premiere
Klockriketeatern theatre for the translation, production, and touring of the Swedish play Syrénvägen by Anders Duus, in cooperation with the theatre house Keski-Uudenmaan Teatteri
The KokoTeatteri Association for the translation and production of Sara Stridsberg's Swedish-language play Svindel
Lappeenranta City Theatre for the translation, production, and touring of Daniel J. Meyer's Spanish-language A.K.A., in cooperation with Teatteri Jurkka
Nomadi / Alpo Aaltokoski Company for the translation and production of a multidisciplinary and multicultural stage work based on Albert Camus' L’État de Siège (The State of Siege)
The Teatteri Avoimet Ovet Association for the Finnish translation and production of Emilia Sadowska’s stage adaptation of OlgaTokarczuk's Polish-language novel Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Teatteri Totti for the translation, production, and presentation of Sarah Remgren's Swedish-language play Frans
Art House Turku for the translation and production of Stefano Massini's Italian reading drama Bunker Kiev in cooperation with Turku City Theatre and Åbo Svenska Teater