Tumble into Helsinki's Contemporary Circus Scene

Urbotek by Race Horse Company
Urbotek by Race Horse Company | Jouni Ihalainen/Courtesy of Cirko

Freelance Illustrator

When asked what circus art can add to theatre performances, Theatre Director Arja Pettersson of Tanssiteatteri Hurjaruuth gives a definitive answer: “Circus art brings entirely new ways to structure and make use of a performance space.” Watching acrobats in bright neon costumes practically fly across the stage in Hurjaruuth’s shows, it becomes obvious that this is true.

Pettersson has a bold and succinct explanation of Hurjaruuth’s future ambitions. Hurjaruuth hopes to “create theatre in collaboration with top professionals and the audience while having an open mind.” This open-mindedness and general aesthetic has helped the Finnish contemporary circus stand out from the crowd.

Talvisirkus Play, © 2017

Finland was still getting on its feet as a country when the classic circus was taking a hold in England, France and the United States, so it lacks a strong history here. However, this lets performing artists in Finland express their creativity with fewer restrictions. By the 1970s, Finland was following France and the United States into the contemporary circus scene and establishing itself as an exciting player in the global game. Quite a feat for a country that still only has a population of approximately 5.5 million.

Talvisirkus Play, © 2017
The Great Paradox of Play

One troupe which performs at Cirko is Circo Aereo, Finland’s longest running contemporary circus troupe. They have been performing since 1996. Circo Aereo’s shows combine acrobatics, dance, music and comedy into visual spectacles with striking colour palettes and dramatic stage lighting. The troupe is internationally recognised and has toured in over 40 countries over the years.

Getting involved in contemporary circus is a trend in Helsinki and all of Finland, with both children and young adults. Finland is an international frontrunner in the promotion of social circus, which is a form of arts education used to positively impact the lives of marginalised and at-risk youth. Social circus educators hope to use circus skills to boost the students’ self-esteem, solidarity, fitness, communication skills and emotional expression.

Social circus schools, such as Helsinki’s leading organisation Sirkus Magenta, work with special needs children, families in the welfare system, disabled people, the elderly and asylum seekers. They also run free circus clubs in the greater Helsinki area.

Circus and Music for Refugees at Oranssi, 2016

Creative professionals in Finland are known for being daring, unrestricted and unique. The art of contemporary circus is no different. Helsinki is a small city on the world scale, and its central hub for contemporary circus is in a repurposed power plant. But this makes for a brilliant source of exciting performance art.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article