Briefly in English

Introduction

Taittuu works through prison theatre against discrimination and towards greater equality.

In March 2017, Taittuu and the Criminal Sanctions Agency of Finland signed a 3-year contract on organizing prison theatre around the country. The signed agreement was a result of a public competition process, which also includes the possibility for an additional 2-year agreement.

The contract is a natural procession of Taittuu’s decade-long prison theatre development work, which is unique in Finland. The contract enables continuity and sustainability of professional theatre practice in Finnish prisons.

Taittuu sends heart-felt thanks to the Criminal Sanctions Agency and its affiliates for making the Finnish prison theatre tradition possible.

Prison Theatre – Why?

Prison theatre aims at the rehabilitation of inmates by providing them practical social skills that are needed in society. With a performance as its final goal, the process strengthens participants’ self-knowledge, develops their group working skills, and provides them with an experience of the importance of taking joint responsibility.

Taittuu is the first to provide prison theatre in Finland. In many countries prison theatre has a long tradition and has been deemed an effective form of rehabilitation. We want to create a model which enables rehabilitative prison theatre practice in all Finnish correctional institutions.

Re-entry is challenging and criminal cycles are often passed on to the next generation. Prison theatre develops participants’ social skills and skills for taking responsibility, as well as provides an opportunity to constructively deal with the consequences of one’s own actions. It has positive shadow effects for society as a whole.

Prison theatre brings new ways of working to the Criminal Sanctions profession. Public performances advance the openness of society. Via prison theatre it is also possible to employ a variety of theatre professionals and strengthen the interaction between art institutions and civil society.

Background

Professional prison theatre in Finland was started in 2008. The first performance – Red Riding Hood – was prepared in the Vanaja prison and performed in the sold-out Hämeenlinna Theatre in May 2009. The second performance – King Lear – premiered in Helsinki in January 2011. Both shows were produced by professionals that volunteered their time and expertize.

Because of positive feedback, we decided that prison theatre activity must continue. Correctional institutions and prison environments are unique workplaces. We therefore piloted the program, and created an applied method that will facilitate in continuing the practice in different Finnish prisons.

Past productions

Punahilkka ja susien maailma (Red Riding Hood) in the Hämeenlinna Theatre in May 2009. Director Hannele Martikainen with eight women from Vanaja Prison.

Kuningas Lear – Veljeni Kuningas (King Lear) in the Koko Theatre in Helsinki in January 2011. Director Hannele Martikainen with seven women from Vanaja Prison.

KaleVala in the Hämeenlinna Theatre in April 2013. Director Timo Torvinen with four men from Vanaja Prison.

Lasarus in the Riihimäki Theatre in March 2013. Director Hannele Martikainen with eight women from Vanaja Prison.

Seitsemän broidia Sipoosta – eli Kiven (sisältä) Seitsemän Veljestä (Seven Brothers) in the Koko Theatre in December 2014. Director Markus Karekallas with eight men from Helsinki Prison.

Kaava 2014 Director Hannele Martikainen with three women from Turku Prison.

Paluulento in the Koko Theatre in 2016. Director Hannele Martikainen with six men from Helsinki Prison.

Saiturin sydän (A Christmas Carol) in the Koko Theatre in 2018. Director Hanna Seppä with five women from Vanaja Prison.

Auvo in the Kajaani Theatre in 2018. Director Sami Sainio with five men from Sukeva Prison.

Kullervo in the Riihimäki Theatre in 2018. Director Markus Karekallas with four men from Riihimäki Prison.

Liisat (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) in the Riihimäki Theatre in 2018. Director Antti Haikkala with six women from Hämeenlinna Prison.

Huuto (Shout) in Joensuun Pakkahuone in 2018. Director Markus Karekallas and five men from Pyhäselkä Prison.