Adrian Berry: ‘The opportunity to work internationally is now more valuable than ever’

Adrian Berry: ‘The opportunity to work internationally is now more valuable than ever’

Jacksons Lane and the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland have entered into a strategic partnership for the years 2024-2026. Jacksons Lane’s Artistic Director and joint CEO Adrian Berry shared us his thoughts about the partnership and collaborating with Finnish actors and artists.

A partnership for 2024–2026 between the Finnish Institute and Jacksons Lane has just been initiated. What kind of expectations do you have for this partnership?
We hope to bring even more artists and residencies to Jacksons Lane, both circus and beyond, but also the three year agreement means we can plan strategically together beyond year by year, and look at longer term sustainable projects. It’s very exciting!

Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s going to happen during the next couple of years?
We have just announced our biggest production ever, Christmas Comes to Moominvalley, which runs for a month starting this December. The year 2025 will bring visits from Sakari Männistö and Agit Cirk with UK premieres, and we are hoping to bring Race Horse Company’s amazing Chevalier for families.

Jacksons Lane and the Finnish Institute have been partners for many years. Can you tell us how it all began?
There are two answers to this question. The Finnish Institute and the Embassy of Finland in London supported Company Uusi Maailma’s Globally Wanted at Jacksons Lane in 2013. I met the director of the Institute at the time, Pauliina Ståhlberg, who said, ‘Talk to me, I’m the one with the money!’. These are her actual words! The relationship between Jacksons Lane and the Institute started gradually from that point. Another key moment was in a hot tub in Helsinki with a group of about 15 circus artists and producers one evening. Lotta Vaulo of Sirkus Info and I shared a Salmiakki shot, and she said ‘Let’s work together’ and then we shook hands. The picture was posted on Facebook as ‘circus soup’!

Do you have a memorable moment to share from over the years of collaborating with the Institute?
There are many memorable moments, including a wonderful two month Nordic season Nordic Exposure at Jacksons Lane in 2022. But a memory that remains was being in Berlin with the director of the Institute Jaakko Nousiainen and other Finns. Three days of culture, performance, talks, networking and an amazing party at the legendary S036 club in Kreuzberg where David Bowie and Iggy Pop used to hang out. That was an amazing trip, hosted by the Finnish Institute in Germany. Our relationship has opened so many doors for us and artists but also many memories in London, Finland and around the world.

Why is it important for Jacksons Lane to work with the Finnish Institute and Finnish artists?
Aside from the fact that I am an ‘honorary Finn’ and have so many friends out there, it is because the co-operation between the two of us is so symbiotic and valuable. It creates opportunities, pathways, and every Institute director from Pauliina to Emilie Gardberg to Jaakko has been so supportive. The last year working with the fabulous Neicia Marsh and Karoliina Korpilahti has also been the most productive ever. We just continue to grow together. We are now known for our Finnish work and the audiences expect the best of Finnish circus and performance each year, and that is what they get.

Has collaborating with the Institute brought some insights to your work at Jacksons Lane?
Yes, the opportunity to work internationally is now more valuable than ever and it almost defies Brexit. We have learnt new ways of working and best practice from the Finnish artists. It has helped us expand artistically and learn from innovative new practices. We have gained so much from this relationship!

Interview: Annika Pellonpää, photo: Alex Brenner

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