1st Edition

Finland's National Theatre 1974–1991 The Two Decades of Generational Contests, Cultural Upheavals, and International Cold War Politics

By Pirkko Koski Copyright 2022
    288 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This study analyses the Finnish National Theatre’s activities throughout the decades during which the post-war generation with its new societal and theatrical views was rising to power, and during which Europe, divided by the Iron Curtain, was maturing to break the boundaries dividing it. Pirkko Koski summarizes the activities of the Finnish National Theatre as a cultural factor and as a part of the Finnish theatre field during 1970s and 1980s. Alongside this he examines the general requirements, resources and structures for activity, including artists, places, geographical position, performances and the analysis on the societal conditions. This book will be of great interest to scholars and students of European theatre and history.

    1. Introduction
    2. The Finnish National Theatre: tradition and turbulent time

      National stature and the fulfilling the national mission

      Researching theatre history

      Approaching the past: sources

      The Finnish National Theatre during a time of rupture: contents

      Part I Operational frames

    3. The Finnish National Theatre and the changing field of theatre
    4. New artistic direction(s)

      Private, national, and societal pressures

      The National Theatre and its national operations

      Caught between East and West

    5. Experiencing, conveying, and interpreting
    6. The Finnish National Theatre and the Finnish press

      The National Theatre and the general public

    7. The creators of the artistic direction
    8. Th actors’ theatre

      The productions’ artistic backgrounds

      Artistic forays over the border



    9. A national landmark renewed and replenished
    10. National Main Stage

      From modern architecture to spatial exploration

      A functioning family

      Part II Programming, performances, and the national agenda

    11. The National mission driving the National Theatre’s programming
    12. Chasing diversity and artistic merit

      Debates about the development of domestic Finnish drama

      Crossing the border between high and low art

    13. High and low in the context of the domestic repertoire
    14. The challenges of updating traditional classics

      The Finnish people on stage

      The Finland of poets

    15. Finnish history without a nationalist slant
    16. Historical characters from across the decades

      War history and contemporary politics on-stage

    17. Significant literary works as national interpretations
    18. Shakespeare as a contemporary mirror

      The cultural heritage of Continental Europe

      Old Russian drama




    19. Modern dramatic classics
    20. A generation of masters

      Anglo-American relationship drama

      Social documentary from behind the Iron Curtain

      Modern drama from the Continent

      The return to absurdist roots


    21. New Eastern European drama
    22. Rarities from the Soviet Union

      From metaphor to commentary-style

      Estonian history

    23. New plays from the West
    24. Trying to fill the Main Stage auditorium

      Relationships and cultural caricatures

      Dramatic and stage celebrity

      Global victims: abuses of power

      Historic moments of stardom

    25. Social upheaval on the national stage
    26. Pacifism in its different modes

      Generational rebellion on-stage

      The environment threats



    27. Popular and commercial elements and Ntaional Theatre press debates
    28. From classic farce to folk theatre

      An operetta causes a scandal

      Criticism and crisis at the centre of public attention

    29. The advent of the small and the young
    30. The opening of the Omapohja studio performance space

      A new generation of playwrights


    31. Theatre company visits from the East and the West
    32. Gorki Theatare, Taganka, and other Eastern European triumphs

      The return of the Estonia-connection

      British theatrical culture

      Western diversity and Far East traditions

      The Finnish National Theatre travels


    33. To conclude: The National Theatre during a time of transition
    34. Changing times and the National Theatre’s policy

      The international Finnish National Theatre

      National drama, national character, and collective memory


    35. Sources and Bibliography



    Pirkko Koski is Professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies at the University of Helsinki.