At the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, performances are at the core of teaching and research, and they are naturally a part of the degree requirements. The Training Theatre is organised as a professional theatre, which is a unique way of staging student performances. At the Training Theatre, students will become familiar with the different phases of a performance production, including the technical elements involved, and learn to progress from ideas to reality in a flexible manner.
The Theatre Academy Training Theatre provides technical and production services and artistic design for Theatre Academy performances and other teaching. The unit is staffed by the head and 27 other theatre professionals as well as trainees from different programmes each year. There are four divisions in the Training Theatre: performance production, stage and props, costumes, and lighting and sound.
Every year, the Training Theatre stages 40–50 premieres and events at the Theatre Academy or jointly with Finnish professional theatres and other arts universities.
What does the Training Theatre do?
The Training Theatre provides specialist assistance for advance planning of performances and introduces students to the production systems and stage services at Theatre Academy. During the production phase of a performance, the Training Theatre staff instructs the students and presents to the students different technical solutions for the performance. Through personal participation in the process, students will learn about the procedures of theatre making, the possibilities offered by the use of technology, and safe working methods.
For students, the Training Theatre is a tool of art and research and a place for learning through doing.
Read more about the production system and the Training Theatre (pdf)
Services and staff
Head of Training Theatre
The head of the Training Theatre leads, develops, and supervises the unit and is responsible for its finances. The head also plans the schedules for performances and provides information about the rental of the facilities for outside users.
Phone: +358 50 572 2058
The performance production team consists of four producers and a production secretary, who is responsible for, for example, ticket sales.
The team coordinates and produces students’ degree-related dance and theatre productions, visits, and tours. The team also produces performances for Theatre Academy events, graduation ceremonies, and the professors’ prologues.
The Training Theatre stages are operated by the stage manager and five stage masters, who have the craftsmanship for the technical design and construction of props.
The stage masters build and set up the props and guide the students in the use of props, the prop store, and stagecraft.
The stage team also supervises the performances and secures the safety of audience and students.
The team collaborates with the scenography programme at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. It also provides on-the-job learning for students from other schools of scenography.
The Theatre Academy props unit plans, makes, and purchases new and tunes old props for student rehearsals and performances.
It stores thousands of objects from past decades. Prop masters assist students in finding appropriate props and instruct them on how to utilise the prop store.
The props unit is open from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays or by appointment.
The costumes unit makes, refashions, mends, maintains, and, if necessary, designs costumes for Theatre Academy performances and other teaching-related events. The unit is built around a large wardrobe and includes a shoemaker's and a dyer’s workshop as well as mask and wig stores.
The costumes unit collaborates with Aalto University’s programme in Design for Theatre, Film and Television—Costume Design. It also provides on-the-job learning for students from other schools of theatre-related costume design.
Light and sound
The lighting designers are responsible for lights in the performance facilities and for the lighting design of performances.
The designers take turns as the designer-in-charge and liaise with students and visiting lighting designers.
The team also includes two sound-effects masters. The masters are responsible for sound amplification in the teaching and performance facilities and the recording studios. They can also work as sound designers in the Theatre Academy productions.
Audiovisual equipment for performances and guidance for the use of the equipment is the responsibility of one of the two AV technicians. The technician also records the performances and archives the recordings.
In the TeaK-Kookos, there are three workstations that students can use to edit video material for their performances.
The TeaK-Kookos includes five fully equipped performance facilities: Theatre Hall and Studios 1–4. In addition to electricity, the equipment in the rooms includes bridges, trusses, and chain lifts, which enable different lighting, sound, and props arrangements.The walls can be used for the mounting arrangements as well: there are C rails at intervals of one metre. All rooms can be lined with thick black molton drapes. For ceiling grids, the highest load permitted is 40 kg/m2, which, in practice, is sufficient for projectors and loudspeakers. All spaces excluding Studio 1 have flexible floors and floor heating.
All seating and stage structures in the halls are convertible (Nivoflex and Stageright), and the seats can be connected. Adjacent to the structures, there are facilities for storing small-scale props. These facilities can also be used as a backstage.
The performance facilities enable high-quality lighting and sound solutions as well as video projections. They are located on the same level as the workshops and thus are easily accessible for building and dismounting.
Performances can also be staged in dance halls 523 and 709 and in rehearsal halls 531, 532, 534, and 535. Other spaces are available only for small-scale demonstrations and other events that are not open to the public.
As far as the use of the facilities is concerned, the Theatre Academy prioritises the university’s functions. If the situation allows, they can be rented to outside stakeholders for events that are distinctly related to the university.