Baltic Circle Festival Embraces the Incomprehensible

Illustration: Katri Astala & Pauliina Nykänen

The 16th edition of Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival takes place in Helsinki, Finland, November 12-17, 2019. Its performances and events offers perspectives on the unknown and change. The festival programme also features a discussion exploring indigenous rights and resisting the industrial exploitation of Sápmi, as well as a new independent journalistic work.

“Art can create a safer space to explore things, phenomena and experiences that are beyond comprehension. They might be so vast, complex, uncanny, fantastic, horrifying or sacred that they seem ungraspable. The festival performances may bring the incomprehensible a little bit closer”, tells Satu Herrala, artistic director of Baltic Circle.

Performance artist and actor Emilia Kokko’s works reach beyond the canon of knowledges and different power structures. Their latest work how to host something as a cloud premieres at Baltic Circle, suggesting queer futures that make space for many kinds of gender experiences.

Baltic Circle’s other Finnish premiere, Matter by Samuli Laine, Mitja Nylund and Olga Palo channels a longing for the non-verbal, corporeal and tangible. In its core are soil, bodies, light and sound. La Mer by performance artist and choreographer Masi Tiitta is a performance that can be observed like the sea. It creates a space for calmness allowing experiences of listening, sinking and connecting to happen.

The festival is also host to three international guest performances. In Many Hands by Kate McIntosh invites its audience to test, touch, listen, search and sniff. Francesca Grilli’s Sparks creates a space where the usual power relationships between the child and and the adult are inverted; the children become oracles, bearers of mystical knowledge and wielders of magical powers. Borborygmus, or fragments of thoughts and feelings about life, death and the digestive system is performed by Mazen Kerbaj, Lina Majdalanie and Rabih Mroué, whose work Riding on a Cloud was presented at Baltic Circle in 2016.

Halt Colonial Powers! seminar discusses indigenous self-determination, solidarity and the role of art in activism especially during a time of construction projects threatening traditional Sámi livelihoods and endangering the fragile Arctic ecosystem. The seminar features contributions from artist Britta Marakatt-Labba, curator Raisa Porsanger and Sini Harkki, Programme Manager of Greenpeace Nordic in Finland, and it is moderated by storyteller Suvi West.

The themes of the festival are further delved into in Kehä IIII, a new journalistic work that includes four long articles diving into gender, nature, traffic and futures. The publication’s editor in chief is Tero Kartastenpää, and the articles will be published online at during the autumn.

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The program as a whole can be explored on the festival website

Baltic Circle is an international theatre festival, which creates intensities into the city, takes a stand on current issues and ignites dialogue. The festival offers a space for artists to imagine and experiment what theatre and performing arts could be and the audience a possibility to encounter the rising tides in performance. The main organizer of Baltic Circle, which was formed in 2000, is Q-teatteri.

Ticket sales for Baltic Circle at Tiketti and Q-teatteri has begun.

Tickets 0-35 €

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For more information, please contact
Johanna Salmela

Communications Manager

+358 40 572 3213

Illustration: Katri Astala & Pauliina Nykänen