Taking Center Stage : The New Helsinki City Theater in 2017

With the crisp winter weather comes a freshness in the performing arts, and there is real anticipation in the air at the Helsinki City Theater. Theater, in its entirety, remains a fabulous form of timeless art still flourishing and sought-after in our modern society. I am incessantly drawn to theater, and have favored plays over many other forms of literature throughout my years. The theatrical performance is raw – it’s real – it’s a reenactment of life in an engaging and prolific manner. Theater is also a form of art that is directly and easily understandable to the masses. Not once have I ever thought that Theater is obsolete in today’s society. The notion that theater is the irrelevant shadow of film is absurd. 

I have seen a number of performances (in Finnish) by the leading Helsinki City Theater, all of which were well-produced, flawlessly designed and expertly acted…and while the Helsinki City Theater’s home is currently under renovation, there are still numerous stages presenting a variety of stellar productions put on by the theater.

I am extremely excited to watch the imminent consolidation of all productions back to the big house in 2017 (once the renovation is complete), a symbol and celebration of 50 years of performance and production at this location.

Photo credit : Petteri Kantokari

So, while I celebrate the return of Helsinki’s leading theater company to its home digs, I would respectfully propose one additional upgrade as it begins its second half century of impressive theater: to see English options both in production and marketing. Keeping relevant within the steady transformation of contemporary society is crucial in the arts, and producing live subtitling-in English-would be a refreshing, progressive addition to an already fantastic establishment. This would open the Helsinki City Theater’s market significantly, to a whole new slice of theatergoers who dwell in Helsinki without a proper command of Finnish or Swedish. Perhaps I am just bias, but I think stage talent of this magnitude should be accessible in English so that it may be enjoyed and experienced by the diverse populations residing in Helsinki…and maybe it even draws in new crowds of skeptics – or Millennials. Also, Finland was just named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 destinations in the world (2017), so we only foresee extraordinary benefits both for the Theater and for Finland as a tourist destination. 

With that subtly said, here are some selected upcoming plays produced by the Helsinki City Theater that will surely draw the interest of theater lovers like myself. All plays are in Finnish or Swedish unless specified otherwise…

KirkaPeacock Theater – A musical production showcasing the life of legendary Rock singer Kirka, who died a decade ago.  

Kirka : 2.2.2017  © Mirka Kleemola

Isä – Studio Pasila – A dramatic play about family dynamics, focusing on the arduous complexity of father-daughter relationships.

Isä : 19.1.2017 © Henrik Schütt

Tenroit Liemessa Arena Theater – A comedic performance set in the confines of a hotel suite, where nothing could possibly go awry.  

Tenorit Liemessä : 8.2.2017 © Henrik Schütt

The ambitions the Helsinki City Theater has set for itself for the 2017 season are as grandiose as the Theater’s iconic – and freshly renovated – design itself. The possibilities for the new-and-improved Theater are seemingly endless and we cannot wait to see inspiring theater production on an even grander, English scale.

Helsinki City Theater







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