The Finns Speak Latvian: Finnish-Latvian cooperation project “Acting in a foreign language”


On August 11-26, 2021, the co-operation project “Acting in a Foreign Language” of the Tampere University (TU) Degree Program of Theatre Art and the Latvian Academy of Culture (LAC) Performing Arts Department and is carried out in Latvia – Stameriena and Riga. It is a special methodology of actors’ training developed by TU professors in Theatre Art, which envisages staging a performance in a language unknown to the actors, thus activating other – outside the text – means of expression.

In this project, Finnish acting students are working with the play “When You will Start Speaking” by a young playwright Marta Stokova, 4th year student of the Drama and Text Studies sub-program of the LAC. At the heart of the play is human relationships with animals: after the loss of her pet, the main character of the play, Hermine, meets the Bird, who is a mediator between the living and the dead world, and is able to hear her family. The text of the play is based on documented conversations with the author's contemporaries.

Twelve 3rd year students of the TU Degree Program of Theatre Art are taking part in the project. The directors of the performance are three 2nd year students of the Theatre Directing specialization of the LAC MA Audiovisual and Performing Arts Programme – Dana Avotiņa-Lāce, Mārtiņš Kalita and Kaiva Izabella Kumerova-Polarada. TU professors Pauliina Hulkko and Tiina Syrjä and LKA lecturer, director Kārlis Krūmiņš are working with students as mentors. Professor of the LAC and Head of the Performing Arts Department Zane Kreicberga is in charge of the project with the help of the 2nd year production student of the BA program in the Audiovisual Art Līva Lilija Graņica.

The first part of the project – the residence of the LAC and TU summer school – takes place on August 11-20 in Stameriena – in the Stāmeriena Palace, in the Cultural House and in the beautiful surroundings of Vecstameriena. This is the first project in the planned long-term cooperation between the LAC and Gulbene Municipality, which envisages the organization of summer schools and residencies in Stameriena, as well as guest performances of students produced by the LAC. The second part of the project – the production itself – will heppen in Riga, at the LAC Theatre Venue "Zirgu pasts". The premiere of Marta Stokova's play "When You will Start Speaking" played in Latvian by Finnish acting students will take place on August 25 and 26 in Riga.

Both the LAC and the University of Tampere are partners in the Nordplus network of Nordic and Baltic Performing Arts institutions of higher education NORTEAS. The project “Acting in a Foreign Language” is carried out with the support of NORTEAS as one of the first NORTEAS face-to-face cooperation projects in the conditions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform Latvian Literature has supported the translation of Marta Stokova's play into Finnish by an experienced translator Hilkka Koskela.

The project is supported by: NORTEAS, Erasmus +, Latvian Academy of Culture, University of Tampere, Latvian Literature, Gulbene Municipality.

Text and information: Zane Kreicberga, +371 29489478