The Oulu Theatre Festival for Young Audiences
The Oulu Theatre Festival for Young Audiences is a joyful event organized annually by Oulu Theatre. Alma Lehmuskallio, the artistic director of the theatre, is also the director of the festival.
The first festival was held in Oulu in 1982. The Oulu Theatre has been the main organizer of the festival since 1993, and it is an established part of the theatre’s programme every spring. In 2021, the festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The festival has a two-pronged goal: to provide windows to different worlds and ways of thinking that appreciate the young spectator and experiencer, and to provide a window for children and youth theatre makers to peek back from: spectators, community, other theatre professionals, city and world.
The event presents a wide range of performing arts performed by professionals for children and young people: the festival sees 15-20 different productions each year, of which about 50 performances are organized during the event. In addition to traditional theatre, the full spectrum of performing arts from puppet theatre to dance, from circus to musicals and ballet is on display.
To support the main repertoire, an ancillary programme is planned annually, which includes a variety of free events, workshops, discussions, lectures, training and exhibitions. Over the years, for example, works of art have been made by firing paintballs on a suitable platform and Children’s Goodwill Demonstration was held in connection with the opening ceremony.
The festival is always organized in diverse cooperation with local organizations. The main partners include Cultural House Valve, JoJo – Oulu Dance Centre, Sinikello Ballet School, Flow Productions and Akseli Klonk. The festival wants to invest in cultural activities throughout the region and appreciates the extensive cooperation and expertise of professionals in various fields of performing arts.
The festival is nationally significant: it is the oldest in its field and one of the largest festivals in Europe for young audiences. Its sphere of influence and field of work are wide, as the event is the only theatre festival for young audiences in the whole of Northern Finland.
The festival plays an important role in bringing out and developing theatre for children and young people. In addition to art educational endeavours and the promotion of cultural well-being, the festival supports the role of the performing arts for children and young people, as well as promoting the employment of artists in the field and providing them with visibility and networking opportunities.
The event was awarded the Children’s and Young People’s Theatre Award at the prestigious Thalia Gala in the theatre industry, Helsinki’s Svenska Teatern on 11 March 2012. It was praised for its meritorious and diverse presentation and promotion of the culture for children and young people throughout its long history.
Sari Tanner, Tel. +358 44 703 7113