Photo: Kalle Koponen

Kristian Smeds appointed Professor in Acting

Kristian Smeds has been appointed Professor in Acting at the Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki for the period 1.3.2018–28.2.2023. Actor Elina Knihtilä will continue her tenure as the second Professor in Acting.

Kristian Smeds (b. 1970) is one of the most successful and international Finnish artists and theatre creators as well as a prolific theatre reformer. Smeds has been working as a director and scriptwriter and won numerous Finnish and international awards. Kristian Smeds studied dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy in the years 1990-1994 and has also been a visiting teacher at the Theatre Academy. At the moment he is artist-in-residence at the Finnish National Theatre.

Kristian Smeds is eagerly looking forward to developing a modern actors’ education together with his colleague Elina Knihtilä.

– My sincere desire is to shift the focus from my own art to the students and their dreams of theatre and art. The historic roots of the Finnish theatre don't run very deep, but they are strong and unique. We are the shining pearl of the North, and the path we are on is a good one.

The Dean of the Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki, Maarit Ruikka, extends a warm welcome to the new professor.  

– Kristian Smeds is a theatre creator with a long experience in writing, directing, scenography and acting, in Finland as well as internationally. Central to his teaching is the notion of highlighting and strengthening the student’s own artistic ethos, as well as collective processes of learning. Through his broad experience and network of contacts, Smeds’ contribution to the degree programme in acting and to the planning of our future syllabus is significant. As an artist, he is well versed in working from the strengths of the entire theatre community, says Maarit Ruikka.

The Professor in Acting is elected based on artistic criteria, and the tenure is now filled for the first time through open recruitment. The position became available with the current Professor in Acting Hannu-Pekka Björkman transferring to become an actor with the Finnish National Theatre following the end of his first tenure. There were 14 applicants for the position. In appointing the new professor, the emphasis has been on artistic competence, teaching skills, international experience and leadership skills as well as interest in teaching, developing and researching the field of theatre.



Kristian Smeds, b. 1970. Artist.

Studies: Theatre Academy, degree programme in dramaturgy 1990–94
Founder and artistic director of Teatteri Takomo1996–2001
Member of the Arts Promotion Center Finland 2001–2003
Leader of Kajaanin Kaupunginteatteri 2001–2004
Founder and artistic director of Smeds Ensemble 2007–2014
Artist-in-residence, the Finnish National Theatre 2015–19 

Curriculum Vitae