New emerging artists from the Nousut festival

Three different performances, three newly graduated artists.

The Nousut festival in Turku, Finland, features performances by young artists who have been polished together with Tehdas Teatteri‘s mentors.

Original text: Mari Loikkanen, photo: Julia Virtanen

Young artists get a springboard for their careers at the Nousut festival, as they have the opportunity to show their skills to the general public even before they have gained a name and visibility.

One of them is Ella Jokela, 26, whose performance Big Sister was originally her thesis. Last spring, Jokela graduated as a director of theatre expression from Turku University of Applied Sciences Arts Academy and applied for the Nousut festival with her performance. Three of the applicants were selected.

– The performance at the Nousut is a better and more polished version of my thesis. Tehdas Teatteri‘s mentors have offered brainstorming help, they read the script and watched my team‘s rehearsals. I think it has been very useful, Jokela describes. Big Sister is traditional performing theatre and it tells the story of a kind, conscientious older sister who bears more responsibility than she should. As the story progresses, she learns to set her limits.

From the Big Sister at Nousut festival. Photo: Anne Nenonen

An important addition to a resume

Jokela says that getting your own performance to the Nousut festival and thus to the stage of Tehdas Teatteri is a significant addition to her CV.

– After all, this is a really great opportunity to direct in a professional theatre at such a young age and as a recent graduate. It has also been instructive to see how the cooperation and process progress, and how, for example, budgeting and marketing are handled, Jokela lists.

Employment can be challenging for newly graduated artists, says Mervi Rankila–Källström, lecturer at the Turku Arts Academy. In the industry, part–time and freelancing jobs are typical. The aim of the Nousut festival is to support emerging theatre artists.

– All the ways you can make it easier to start your career are important. With regard to employment, we also aim to ensure that students see how art–based methods can be utilised in the working life and pedagogy of various projects. Teaching can be found in surprisingly many places. It is good to be able to see yourself in different work roles, Rankila–Källström says.

Jokela following a sample performance of the Big Sister in a press event for Nousut festival. Photo: Anne Nenonen

Art work can be done in many places

Ella Jokela has had plenty of pedagogical work in basic art education and projects carried out in various comprehensive schools. She describes teaching as a meaningful direction in her career.

– However, I wish I could also do artistic work. It is much more challenging when you have to offer a performance for different programmes, apply for grants and there is no certainty about anything. You’re really quite alone after graduation, Jokela says.

Jokela feels that after participating in the Nousut festival, it is easier to offer her own performance to theatres.

The Nousut festival is part of the Theatre in Palm project. Rankila–Källström hopes that the 3–year project will eventually become a permanent operating model. Turku UAS coordinates the project.

The Nousut festival perfomances 2023:

  • Ella Jokela´s Big Sister is a story about sisters, expectations and ever so good girls.
  • Isa Kortekangas brings on stage a visual and movement based story ILPO AND AUKUSTI about syblings and an adult who turns into a child when facing fear and great sadness and grief, leaving the kids to be parents to one another.
  • Eveliina Mäkitalo explores the classic story of JEKYLL & HYDE by means of musical puppetry, pondering what evil is at the end of the day.

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