The Finlandia literature prize nominated writer Petri Tamminen’s ‘History of Finland’ (2017) takes readers into the very core of national collective memory. The book is a jocose collection of stories that are as wistfully personal as they are cheerful and relatable. Such are the ordinary individual experiences that make up the grand narrative of Finnish nation.
Choreographer Hanna Brotherus and director Erik Söderblom wanted to bring these stories onto stage. For the auditions, they invited ordinary people, non-professional performers, men and women over 55. More than a 100 people applied, and, from that group, emerged a diverse and charismatic ensemble of performers, the oldest of whom is 85 years of age. They lend the full force of their personalities to telling these stories of Finland and give them a voice, a face, the movement. History of Finland is a close up of Finnish history, inscribed onto skin.
History of Finland premieres at Espoo City Theatre’s Revontulihalli on March 13, 2019 and runs until April 26.
Music for the production is composed by Esa Pietilä, a versatile musician whose tenor saxophone adds its sound to the performance. Light and video design is by Teemu Nurmelin, costume design by Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila, and sound design by Tommi Koskinen.
Hanna Brotherus is a dancer, director, and choreographer whose oeuvre places her at top echelon of Finnish dance. Her work tackles contemporary societal phenomena through the prism of her signature crystallised artistic vision. Brotherus is a pioneer and a champion of empowerment through artistic expression, whose inclusive and collaborative projects bring together often unexpected and highly varied groups of people. Brotherus’ productions have successfully paired up and mixed together world-class art practitioners, recovering drug addicts, kindergarten groups, and senior citizens. She has previously collaborated with the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki City Theatre, Tampereen Työväen Teatteri and the Finnish National Theatre, among many others.
“At the core of my work is human connection. It is my passion to bring together people different from each other, in age and in background. I believe in the power of intuition, touch, and presence.” Hanna Brotherus