Turku International Puppetry Festivalin ilme vuodelle 2021

Programme for professionals

This year Turku International Puppetry Festival from 3 to 7 November 2021 gathers all puppet art professionals together to join online the 12th edition of TIP-Fest. This time the festival focuses on sound, music and rhythm on stage. 

During past years TIP-Fest has brought forth different aspects and expertise areas in puppet art. Most of these aspects seamlessly fuse together, nevertheless they play a crucial part in the artform respectively. This year’s theme sits naturally in this continuum of past thematics, such as light design and puppet construction.

Sound and music are crucial to forming the performance’s overall rhythm – an aspect that defines the performance’s relationship to its thematic.

Music, sound and Rhythm are present in many ways in this year’s festival programme. TIP-Fest invites everyone to dive deep within puppet theatre -keep your ears wide open and take part in discussions concernint music in visual theater, soundscapes and other professional programme!

TIP-Fest 2021 Programme gives a sneak peek to Finnish puppetry scene: what is bubbling under? It also builds bridges with professionals online.


Professional programme is free of costs but registration is needed. The events and performances are targeted for theatre professionals as well as presenters and programmers in performing arts field. The Professional programme is available virtually until end of November 2021.

You may register yourself HERE.

Questions and more information: 
Sanna Soni Aura of Puppets Puppetry agent: sanna@auraofpuppets.com 



3 November 2021:

World premiere at festival in Turku and online:  

at 8:00pm EET 
Live stream link available on 3rd November 

Performances and animations:
(see info below)

The Mechanical Swan Extinction Paradise

Nordic Puppet AmbassadorsR  

Ferrafiat, Uschanov, HanikkaVSKNHA

The Block Theatre – documentary 

Streaming links available on 4th November

Elina Lajunen – TangO 
Premiere on 5th November

Pitch -session and discussion:

4 November 2021:


PITCH -session with 8 independent Finnish artists or groups. Artists will introduce and pitch their international touring performances for adults and children for the seasons 2022-2024. 

Artists: Elviira Davidow,  Erika Malkki, Merja Pöyhönen, Alma Rajala, Outi Sippola, Timo Väntsi 

Pitching videos are available for registered participants till the end of November. 


Some global views on contemporary puppetry. Panel discussion with puppetry professionals from Finland, Slovenia, United States and Korea.

Panelists: Wook Hyun Sun Chuncheon Puppet Festival,  Blair Thomas Chicago Puppet Festival, Ajda Roos Ljubljana Puppet Theatre and  Roosa Halme TIP-Fest.
Discussion is moderated by executive director of Aura of Puppets Elina Tanskanen.

The recorded discussion is available for viewing from here.


Blair Thomas
is the founder and artistic director of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival which will present its 4th edition January 2022. His production of
Moby-Dick was seen at Charleville 2017. From 2002-2018 he produced touring productions as Blair Thomas & Company, and from 1989-1998 was the artistic director and co-artistic director of Redmoon Theater in Chicago. Concurrently he teaches puppetry at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Wook Hyun Sun
Director, writer, actor and artistic director of Chuncheon Puppet Festival, Chairman of Korea Playwrights Association. Mr. Sun has more than 30 years experience of directing and acting and he has published more than 40 plays in 30 years. His literary debut was 1995 in the daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo. Mr. Sun has been awarded 2014 Seoul Performer Awards; Acting Award and 2018 Korean Drama Wright award. He has been Artistic Director of Chuncheon Puppet Festival since 2019.

Roosa Halme
is a puppet theatre artist and composer. She has worked in the field of puppet theatre as performer, director, composer, musician, festival director, puppet constructor and artist at schools. Halme has been working as regional artist of puppet theatre at Art Promotion Center Finland 2012-2015. She is a founding member (perustajajäsen) of TIP-Fest and one of its recent artistic directors. Her works, e.g. Block Theatre -concept, have been touring all over Finland and internationally.

Ajda Rooss
(1973) graduated from the Department of Dramaturgy at the Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana. During her studies, she received a further education in puppetry and material performance. In 2011, she accepted the position of the artistic director of the International Biennal Festival of Contemporary Puppetry Art LUTKE. Since 2013, she has been the artistic director of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana). Her artistic vision in the theatre’s programme has led to international expansion and contributed to acclaimed productions that received many national and international awards. The theatre partly shifted its creative focus to producing experimental productions that enrich and intertwine the puppet theatre medium with other artistic fields. Her contribution ranges from cultivating the established marionette tradition to opening the door for contemporary problem plays for youth. In the last decade, the theatre has specialised in new trends, merging different genres of art and applying new materials and technologies to puppetry. She is the chief editor of the international professional magazine of puppetry art and the theatre of animated forms LUTKA and the co-author of the permanent exhibition of the Ljubljana Museum of Puppetry (2015). 

Moderator: Elina Tanskanen 
Tanskanen has a wide-ranging experience in the cultural field, particularly in international affairs and with independent groups and organisations. She has previously worked as the cultural affairs manager at the French Institute in Finland, as the head of international relations at Susanna Leinonen Company, and as the coordinator of exhibitions and sales at the gallery Forum Box. Elina Tanskanen has a master’s degree in cultural history from the University of Turku.


Information about the artists and performances

I am a desert, full of tumbleweeds. No flowers, no rain. Fear crawls towards me, digs itself out from the dry ground, takes me in its tight embrace and whispers: “What if yet this seed will change nothing?”

Before Thumbelina is an everyday fairytale for adults. Telling a story about a person’s struggles; challenges with infertility, dreams and fears.

Carried by song, rhythms as well as puppet and object theatre, the first solo performance by Anna Nekrassova focuses on the moment before H. C. Andersen’s renowned story of Thumbelina. The very moment is focused on the story’s Mother, a character we only get to see by glimpse in the original tale.

Before Thumbelina will premiere at TIP-Fest as an opening performance.

Nordic Puppet Ambassadors – R: 
An object theatrical study about balance.

Is it possible to make a circus trick with tableware inherited from one’s grandmother? If yes, what does that lead to? How to act when the floor is lava? The world is full of attractive  objects, gadgets and devices, valuable things and junk, which one is not allowed to touch. The world is also full of situations these objects take us to.

R is cheerful and exciting invitation to play. It misuses objects creatively, mixes reality with play and grasps topics which are actual for the target group 3-8 years old.

35 minutes performance is bilingual and its originally made in Finnish and Swedish and can be performed as well in Danish and English and other combinations of these languages. Object theatre performance practices the pronunciation of the R-sound.

Ferrafiat, Uschanov, Hanikka -VSKNHA

Short film of a puppetry performance

After three days between four walls, the quarantined traveler scratches the surface of the map laid open on the floor. Somewhere around the Gulf stream, he reaches VSKNHA, the aerial city that had long lost all its vowels but one, long lost also the laws of gravity and of logic. The performance is a firework of imagination born during the quarantine, a dadaist poem in the shape of a chain reaction.

Short film is filmed inside a caravan.

WORKING GROUP Script, concept and puppets: Perrine Ferrafiat Directing: Anna Uschanov Sound design: Emma Hanikka Stage design: Mila Nirhamo On stage: Perrine Ferrafiat and Emma Hanikka In the creative process: Daniela Alatorre, Camille Martin Video and editing: Olli-Pekka Jauhiainen

The Mechanical Swan – Extinction Paradise: Contemporary puppetry about fruitful childlessness

Extinction Paradise is a breathless deep-dive and shamanistic trip into the myth and nature of childlessness. The play debuted in February 2021 via live stream from theater Tehdas Teatteri; the live debut was held in Helsinki’s Koko Teatteri in October 2021.

“Hello, I’m Eeva. Ding dong, ding dong. I am the guide of the biological clocktower. I spread my legs like the hands of a clock over this dying city.”

Eeva is living a life that other people think is lacking something important. But the hopes and dreams of others are not shared by Eeva, and her story expands against the expectations of society into a mystery and celebration the size of the entire universe. One of the protagonists of the tale is the fast-pulsing Baltic Sea and its teeming muddy life cycles, which Eeva studies professionally.

This puppet show for adults pours forth sharp insights into the topic of voluntary childlessness and nurtures them into a visual, poetic, and grotesque world. Everything looks different, when you stop considering reproduction to be the main responsibility of humankind.

The Mechanical Swan is a living ensemble gathered together on a show-by-show basis by puppet theater director Alma Rajala, the impetus of which was the desire to develop a new kind of performance language. In Extinction Paradise, interesting experimental theater art creators come together in completely novel ways.

Working group:

Script: Reetta Niemelä
Dramaturgy and direction: Alma Rajala
Puppets and set design: Heini Maaranen
Choreography: Lee Lahikainen
Performers: Merja Pöyhönen, Riina Tikkanen, Petriikka Pohjanheimo
Lighting design: Nadja Räikkä
Sound design: Tuuli Kyttälä
Costume design: Noora Salmi
Producer: Moona Tikka
Graphic design, video projection, photography:: Jussi Virkkumaa
Translation: Kasper Salonen

Elina Lajunen: TangO

A short film about puppeteer Elina Lajunen‘s tango travels in the world and as well as mental landscapes. Argentine tango contains the whole world. Abrazo, a tango hug takes you in its arms. The hug evokes joy, longing, sorrow and hope. Tango leads and follows like the sea or life. It hurts, strikes, caresses and foams, breathes this moment. In the end, life itself is the most important dance to dance.

is inspired by Laura Lindstedt‘s novel Oneiron. In the novel, seven women from around the world share their stories in an empty white space after their death. There is just one woman in TangO, but she traveled through the seven countries of Oneiron and wrote letters about her experiences to composer Timo Alakotila. These letters became the source of TangO.

TangO premiers during TIP-Fest on 5 November at Festival club.

ARTISTS pitch session 

Outi Sippola 
Puppeteer / Theatre maker/ Artistic Director Nordic Puppet Ambassadors

Outi Sippola is a puppet theatre director and performer who strives for gentle wake up calls and intimate connections with her audiences. She is best known for Nordic Puppet Ambassador’s Only One Suitcase Allowed and her puppeteering in Teater Refleksion’s Boxy George.   She loves writing manuscripts and creating performance concepts. Her work has been presented on four continents.

She has worked with theatres such as Cie Pseudonymo, Tehdas Teatteri, Krepsko Theatre Group and Teater Håndholdt. In her freetime she kayaks the seas and hikes the mountains.

Elviira Davidow
Elviira graduated from the Turku Academy of Arts as a director of theatrical expression from the line of puppet theater 2003. Before that, She had mainly studied dance, circus and puppet theater art as well as physical theater, e.g. Orivesi Folk High School, Amsterdam Contemporary Dance School, both Prague and Helsinki Theater Schools.
Since 2009, the topics of her presentations and workshops have largely addressed inequalities in society as well as human rights. In her puppet shows, Elviira often combines dance and storytelling with puppetry. Shadow theater is her greatest love in the field of puppet theater.

Erika Malkki
has made performing arts from the age six starting with dance. Theatre came along in her teens. She studied acting in Finnish Theatre Institute and graduated as BA from Turku Arts Academy puppet theatre department in 2015 including circus in her studies. Her disciplines in circus were acrobatics and partner acrobatics. Malkki has worked in various groups combining all her abilities from theatre, puppetry and dance to circus. As well as a performer has she worked as a scriptwriter, director, scenographer and a puppet builder. One of her most important aims in her artistic work is to increase empathy and mutual understanding in the human society.

Alma Rajala 
Alma Rajala is a visionary puppetry director and puppeteer, who is experienced in both children’s and adult’s theatre. She combines puppetry with different art forms, such as dance and sound art and creates ambitiously her own theatrical language in which filosophical contents encounter with objects, puppets and body. She is interested in poetry on stage, and an assosiating , poem like dramaturgy. A show called Extinction Paradise, that has it’s premiere in 2021 is an example of this. It’s strongly co-created with a poet Reetta Niemelä who writed the text, and with the whole designing group. 

Rajala is at her best in inviting interesting artists to work with her ans co-creating visual, meaningful images and strong atmospheres. Lately she has been working as an artistic leader of a huge immersive and space spesific spectacle Huoneiden kirja (The Book of Rooms), that had it’s premiere in August 2021. The work, basing on a whole poetry book by Saila Susiluoto, combined work of 130 artists into 64 rooms in a whole house. It was one of the biggest immersive theatre events in Finland.

Alma Rajala has also performed in many contemporary puppetry shows using  different tools from puppet manipulation into dance and drama theatre actng. Rajala is also active member of puppetry artists’ network Aura of Puppets. She writes articles about puppetry and loves to take part in conversations about contemporary puppetry.



Merja Pöyhönen
(b. 1980) is a puppeteer and director living in Turku. She is one of the trailblazers in modern Finnish puppet theatre. Pöyhönen has a degree in puppetry from Turku Arts Academy (2001-05), completed with studies in physical theater in École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris (2007-08). During her professional career, Pöyhönen has taken part in over 40 performances. Her main works include John-Eleanor, 2011, Missing Amelia Earhart, 2016, and a megalomanic Shakespeare trilogy, 2013, 2015, 2017, which include the biggest professional puppet theatre shows ever made in Finland. Pöyhönen is a founding member of Puppet Theater Dirty Duckling. She is also an active in TEHDAS Theater and a member of board at the Finnish Puppet art network Aura of Puppets. In 2019 Pöyhönen made her first directing abroad at Theater Chemnitz, Germany and Nuku Teater, Estonia. The same year she also received nationwide attention on her super fast stand-in casting in the main role of Babe The Gallant Pig in Turku City Theater main stage. She might be the first Finnish puppeteer to have received a five-year governmental grant for her artistic work (2020-24).

Dirty Duckling’s performance FUNNY is made of Finnish puppeteers’ burning desire to conquer the theatre world. It consists of great skills, balloonlike humour and a lot of dreaming. The show reaches from its edgy surface to highly intimate and delicate moments.

Timo Väntsi
Timo (1966) is a wery experienced Finnish puppeteer, actor, director who has worked in small and big theater companies in Finland. He has graduated from Turku Arts Academy puppet theater department 2003 and since then he has had a large skale of different tasks in the field of theater and puppet theater: as an artistic leader of Tehdas Teatteri, as a director and also as regional artist of South-West Finlans. In 2016 he was nominated as Aurora-award for his achievements in puppetry.

During the last years he has specialised in soloshows. Typically his works are a comnination of heart breaking drama and hilarious humour, sometimes with quite provocative style. He has made a soloshows which are based on more or less familiar stories like Beauty and the beast, Picture of Dorian Gray, Baron von Münchhausen and Jean Genets Querelle. Queer-themes can be seen in several shows, like in the story of a crossdresser from 14th century, John-Eleanor (2011) or Be my Querelle (2019). Timo Väntsi is also a member of queer comedy company Theater Kantanäky. 
Timo Väntsi has always been interested in Finnish stories, Finland history and folk stories. He has made a soloshow about his own roots, Questions about Carelia (2018) and a show Wise man named Matti (2021) which was based on Finnish folk stories.

You may connect all the artists through our puppetry  agent Sanna Soni sanna@auraofpuppets.com