The Theatre Academy establishes a professorship in musical theatre through a donation

The donation from the Waldemar von Frenckell Foundation meets Uniarts Helsinki’s long-term wishes to reinforce musical theatre education in Finnish and Swedish.

Uniarts Helsinki’s music theatre production Mayday (2021). Photo: Roosa Oksaharju

The Waldemar von Frenckell Foundation has made a five-year donation to Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy, corresponding to 550,000 euros in total. The donation will make it possible to establish a fixed-term professorship in musical theatre. 

The new professorship donated by the Waldemar von Frenckell Foundation will solidify and develop musical theatre education, which has been Uniarts Helsinki’s goal already for a long time. 

“Musical theatre is a magnetic and a rapidly developing field that combines our artistic disciplines in a unique way. Uniarts Helsinki has teaching in all fields of expertise needed in musical theatre – from composition to set design, lighting and sound design, choreography, theatre musicianship, writing, dance, singing and acting. The donated professorship will be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen and combine our competence and to offer students even more extensive and diverse studies in the subject,” Rector of Uniarts Helsinki Kaarlo Hildén notes. 

“The Waldemar von Frenckell Foundation has long traditions in supporting music and theatre art, and various newly-established and longstanding musical theatre groups have received support from the foundation over the years. With this professorship in musical theatre, we want to promote the development of the field in Finland. The general public has keen interest in musical theatre, so we believe that there is a lot of growth potential for the field in Finland,” says Niklas Savander, chair of the board for the Waldemar von Frenckell Foundation. 

Strengthening musical theatre education responds to the needs of the theatre sector. The aim is that the university’s education will help relieve the shortage of experts in the field and diversify the competence of musical theatre professionals.

“The professorship promotes the development and renewal of Finnish musical theatre. There is a shortage of musical theatre performers and creators in Finland. The professorship will make it possible to develop musical theatre as its own artistic discipline in a visionary way together with our permanent experts and promote forging of cooperation networks both in the Finnish and the international arts sector,” Theatre Academy Dean Maarit Ruikka says happily.

The professorship will be announced vacant in an open call at the beginning of 2024. 

The possibility of launching a master’s programme is under review

Uniarts Helsinki has started a project with support from the Pacius Fund to explore the possibility of starting a joint master’s programme in musical theatre between the Sibelius Academy and the Theatre Academy. 

“It has been our long-term dream to launch a master’s programme in musical theatre. Establishing this professorship happens at a good time and supports this ambitious goal in a great way,” Hildén notes. 

Until now, musical theatre studies have been offered as a popular minor study module, which has attracted students from both the Sibelius Academy and the Theatre Academy. 

More information

Eveliina Olsson, Head of communications and PR
Tel: 050 598 6492