Ade Berry is Artistic Director at Jacksons Lane, a creative space in London. Jacksons Lane brings Finnish circus to London with a mini-season Made in Finland. In the interview Berry talks about this relationship with Finnish circus.
How did you come up with the idea for Made in Finland?
“We’ve been working with Finnish artists and partners for eight years now. There’s always been a Finnish strand running through what we do but we’ve never done a whole season before. It’s only been residencies and occasional shows, so now we wanted to give the relationship some profile. It really came down to just thinking on how do we make a real opportunity to show the relationship we have with Finland and Finnish artists. We came up with this mini-season idea which was originally going to be called Sisu [Finnish resilience]. But for the English audiences that might not have meant so much. Then we came up with the name Made in Finland which is an obvious one. It kind of says what it is.”
What is so interesting about Finland?
“It started a few years ago when I was given a job to take some English theatre directors around the world. We went to the Circus Festival in Helsinki and there was something that connected me with the people there. I also found the Finnish work really strong. I saw a real connection but also parallels and comparisons between Finnish and British circus. I thought that we can learn a lot from each other.”
Why did you choose these performances for the season?
“I’ve seen the two artists, Kristiina Tammisalo and Inga Björn, when they were part of another show. I saw them in Sweden and thought that they were the strongest part of it. Then the next thing they were making their own show The Receptionists. I got to see the work in progress and then went out to the premiere with my colleague Will Haydon.
I know artist Ilona Jäntti really well. We’ve been working with her for eleven years. I really love the new collaboration Ballantine Scale that she has with Aino Venna. Reetta Honkakoski who performs Hypnagogia and Tiia-Mari Mäkinen from Hippana Theatre both have bases in the UK and Helsinki. We’re giving them a chance to move a little more towards theatre and physical theatre. When Hand Some Feet came about I didn’t know that they were Finnish. I was talking to them anyway, never realizing that they were Finnish. I said that this season was coming together and asked if they were interested in being part of it. When we realized that we have these five shows, we decided to put them together and make a profile.”
What are you waiting from the performances especially?
“I want to introduce the performances to new audiences. I want the audience to come and see something completely different. It’s not particularly about trying to get Finnish people in. It’s more about instituting new art forms and work, as well as premiering some of the shows in the UK. It’s pretty exciting to see how we can continue the relationship with Finnish artists and see what the response is from the British audience.”
What does the audience for Finnish circus look like?
“Certain people are very loyal to Finnish circus and return to see it. Also regular audiences are taking the risks to come and see Finnish work trusting that the work will be good.
We feel that the work of Finnish artists fits so well and comfortably within Jacksons Lane’s programme and it’s now become expected to see work from Finnish artists. And also what is so interesting is that the circus work covers so many different kinds of shows. There’s a lot that the British artists can learn from the Finnish artists.”
Made in Finland, Jacksons Lane, 269A Archway Rd, Highgate, London N6 5AA, https://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/festivals/made-in-finland, 8 October – 21 November, ticket prices vary
Text: Kaisa Paavola Photo: Hannah Edy