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Grants
Ten New Play Translations for Finnish Theatres
2.11.2022
Vähäpukeisia ihmisiä istumassa teatterin lavalla, yhdellä on kädessään mikrofoni.
The play Tid for glede by the Norwegian playwright Arne Lygre premièred in Oslo in January 2022. It will be brought to Finland thanks to the World on Stage grant. Photo: Pernille Sandberg
The Finnish Cultural Foundation has awarded its first World on Stage grants. The funding is aimed at facilitating the importing of high-quality contemporary plays from around the world onto Finnish stages.

The World on Stage grant model, intended for theatres, first opened for applications in August 2022. The grants that have now been awarded will be used to have ten high-quality plays from our time translated from various languages into Finnish and performed on Finnish stages for a broad culture-loving audience. The total sum awarded in the grant’s first application round was just over EUR 250,000.

“The number of applications was good, considering that this was the first time that this grant was available. I am particularly pleased about the diversity of the applicants. The selection of source languages was also broad,” explains Regional Fund Officer Antti Niskanen from the Cultural Foundation, who was in charge of handling the applications.

The plays’ source languages include Arabic, Icelandic, Catalan, French and Russian. There is also a play partly written in Pidgin English. The recipients of the grant included work groups, freelance operators and some large theatres. The first performances facilitated by the grant will appear on Finnish stages during 2023.

Among the successful grant applications were several Nordic plays: the Swedish play Heterofil by Christina Ouzounidis, the Icelandic play Græna landið by Ólafur Haukur Símonarson and the Norwegian Tid for glede by Arne Lygre. Representatives of more distant languages included the Arabic-language play Orange by Basim Kahar.

The World on Stage grant was conceived based on the observation that fewer and fewer contemporary plays from non-Anglophone language regions are being produced in Finland. Recent dramatic works from continental Europe or elsewhere in the world are rare in Finnish theatres. The Cultural Foundation hopes that the volume of applications will grow in the future, and that they will primarily pertain to plays in languages other than English.

“This funding will contribute to enriching and diversifying the programming in Finnish theatres. We hope that the translations will also live to be repeatedly performed on Finnish stages,” Niskanen says.

The Cultural Foundation’s partner for the World on Stage project for 2022–2024 is Theatre Info Finland (TINFO), which has, among other things, curated a list of recent plays suitable for translating.

“I am glad to see how many theatres and dramatic ensembles managed to take part in the first application round, taking into account how much additional work the pandemic’s aftercare, including all the production postponements, has caused for theatres. We are particularly pleased about the diversity of plays from around the world that the applications pertain to,” says TINFO’s director Linnea Stara.

The aim of the World on Stage funding is to encourage Finnish theatres to have a total of thirty new, contemporary plays from around the world translated into Finnish, and then to perform them. The Cultural Foundation’s funding for the project will total around EUR 1.2 million. The next applications for World on Stage will be accepted in August 2023.

Funding for having plays translated into Finland’s second official language, Swedish, and performed on Finland’s Swedish-language stages is provided by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, with the next application round taking place in November 2022.

Recipients of the World on Stage grant

  • Helsinki Theatre Foundation: EUR 16,000 for translating the play Tid for glede by Arne Lygre from Norwegian into Finnish, and for covering other expenses related to the production.
  • Anu Hirsiaho (PhD Soc. Sc.) and Charles Ogu (MPhil): EUR 30,000 for the translation and production of the Nigerian play Embers by Soji Cole.
  • Jyväskylä City Theatre: EUR 10,000 for translating the play Petits crimes conjugaux by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt from French into Finnish and producing the Finnish première.
  • Central Uusimaa Theatre: EUR 30,000 for translating and producing the Catalan play Tocar Mare by Marta Barceló.
  • Koko Theatre: EUR 30,000 for translating and producing the German play WÜST or The Marquise Of O.... - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! By Enis Maci.
  • Joel Lehtonen (BA Theatre Arts) and team: EUR 22,500 for translating and producing a play adaptation from the novel Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich.
  • Black and White Theatre: EUR 30,000 for translating and producing the play The War Has Not Yet Started by the Russian playwright Mikhail Durnenkov.
  • Rauma City Theatre: EUR 30,000 for translating and producing the Icelandic play Græna landið by Ólafur Haukur Símonarson.
  • Finnish National Theatre: EUR 27,000 for translating and producing the Arabic-language play Orange by Basim Kahar.
  • Valtimonteatteri: EUR 30,000 for translating and producing the play Heterofil, written in Swedish by Christina Ouzounidis.
Further information:
Antti Niskanen, Keski-Suomen ja Pohjois-Savon rahastojen asiamies.
Antti
Niskanen
Fund Officer