From Start To Finnish: New Exchange Programme for UK Theatre
“The new writing and talent coming from Finland is remarkable. The country’s entire approach to theatre is not only inspiring but also valuable for the UK theatre industry as we look for quality productions, talent and ideas for the future”. Anthony Alderson, Director, the Pleasance Theatre
- Did you know: Finnish theatre has a unique cultural identity and a rich history, and the country has more theatres per capita than almost anywhere else in the world
- Launch for theatrical professionals and the media: 5 April, 12.30pm at The Residence of the Finnish Ambassador, London [Details below].
- ‘From Start to Finnish’ is an exchange programme between The Pleasance Theatre and ACE Production, Finland, bringing Finnish works to the UK and British works to Finland
- Critically-acclaimed Finnish works to be performed in London for first time; dedicated Finnish theatre programme to be showcased in Edinburgh this summer
Tiesittekö..? [Did you know..?] Finland has more theatres per capita than almost anywhere else in the world, 3.6 million theatre tickets are bought annually by a population of only 5.2 million people and any town over 25,000 inhabitants has its own dedicated theatre.
‘From-Start-to-Finnish’ is a new initiative developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Pleasance Theatre with the assistance of and ACE Production, Finland.
It taps into Finland’s astonishing and successful approach to theatre, writing and directing, by bringing new work and adaptations to the UK and taking new British work to Finland. At the same time, new contexts offer fresh insights and perspectives on the works. The programme ultimately aims to foster strong links between the theatre industries of the UK and Finland, with the aim to develop a new, international partnership.
‘From-Start-to-Finnish’ key events:
- 5 April: programme launch and reception at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador, London (12.30pm, 14 Kensington Palace Gardens [to register attendance, see below]).
- 17-28 April: The Overcoat staged in London for the first time (at the Pleasance, Islington). This modern reinterpretation of Nikolai Gogol’s famous short story takes its audience on a whistle-stop tour of the last forty years of banking history, from the strikes of the 1970s to the global debt crisis of today. Actor Billy Mack won the prize for Best Actor for his role as lead character Akaky Akakievich at the 2011 Fringe.
- 1-5 May: The Death of a Theatre Critic staged in London for the first time (at the Pleasance, Islington). This new work by Joakim Groth, which had its world premier at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe, is a dark comedy about the hardships of a theatre director. After having his latest production torn to pieces by the leading critic, the author encounters misfortune in his private life as well. Things are going downhill fast, but who has the last laugh in this macabre comedy: the director, the critic, the playwright, the talk show host...or the murderer?!
- August 2012: ‘From Start to Finnish’ dedicated Edinburgh Fringe showcase of Finnish theatre. The shows coming to Edinburgh will be announced at the event on 5 April.
Anthony Alderson, Director, the Pleasance Theatre says: “The new writing and talent coming from Finland is remarkable. The country’s entire approach to theatre is not only inspiring but also valuable for the UK theatre industry as we look for quality productions, talent and ideas for the future.
“Over the past couple of years we have been fortunate to work with Johan Storgard, the award-winning Finnish actor and chief executive of ACE Production, to bring Finnish theatre to the Fringe. This success has lead us to jointly create the ‘From Start To Finish’ programme enabling UK theatre professionals and theatre lovers alike to experience Finnish drama at its best. I look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to the events and performances we’re holding both in London and Edinburgh.”
Johan Storgard, award-winning Finnish actor and chief executive of ACE Production says: “To open up the rich talent in Finnish theatre to a broader audience we need to present Finnish works internationally - but we should also be looking to produce new writing and theatre work with other cultures. To do this we need partners that have the same passion, courage and inspiration as we do for the art form. I have seen the Pleasance ambition in action both in Edinburgh and in London and together with them I hope we will start on the road to this vision”.
From-Start-to-Finnish launch event:
The Ambassador of Finland, Mr Pekka Huhtaniemi, and Johan Storgard, ACE Production, together with Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance, and representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture, will host the launch event of the new initiative at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador in London on Thursday 5 April, 12.30 - 2.30pm. A light lunch will be provided and Finnish Theatre professionals will be attending. Members of the media and theatre professionals are invited. Admittance is by pre-registration only. To apply, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7221 7883.
Both productions will be performed at the Pleasance, North Road, Islington, N7 9EF
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About ‘From Start to Finnish’
‘From Start to Finnish’ began with a meeting between the Finnish Minister for Culture and Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009. Following the development of a two-year relationship which saw Finnish work receive critical acclaim at Edinburgh in 2010 and 2011, an official exchange initiative will be launched in April 2012. The first ‘From Start to Finnish’ programme will see the London premiere of two acclaimed Finnish works, a dedicated programme of new and adapted Finnish works at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the showcasing of new British work to a Finnish audience.
‘From Start to Finnish’, which is set to be a three-year programme, has been made possible by support from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture
About the Pleasance Theatre
The Pleasance, a registered charity, was founded by Christopher Richardson in 1985 to present, support and develop the very best British talent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In order to continue developing the work it was supporting on the Fringe, in 1995 the Pleasance built two theatres in Islington, North London. In 2004, Anthony Alderson took over the Directorship with the intention to further the opportunities The Pleasance offers by developing the touring platform, increasing the number of venues in Edinburgh, expanding the site in London, and exploring new art-forms.
The Pleasance is now one of the most valued cornerstones for the entertainment industry in this country. Over its 27-year history the organisation has created performance space and provided facilities and support for over 5000 productions, that have to date involved over 40,000 people within the arts and theatre industry. The Pleasance has been the launch-pad and test-bed for the work of some of our best loved comedians, actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians, including Mitchell and Webb, The League of Gentlemen, Michael McIntyre, Paul Merton, Stephen K Amos, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Stewart Lee, Graham Norton, Arthur Smith, Caroline Quentin, The Mighty Boosh, Theatre de Complicité, Ed Hall, Rufus Norris, Daniel Rigby, Julian Clary, Steve Coogan, Dara O’Briain and Hugh Dennis and many more.
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