What is Finnish Circus

  • Sakari Männistö © Joonas Martikainen

Finnish contemporary circus has gained international recognition for its artistic quality and aesthetic appeal. About twenty Finnish contemporary circus companies and almost another twenty working groups offer something unique to the international market with performances that are a fruitful synthesis of the Nordic aesthetics combined with the mystery of the art form. Finnish circus performances have toured extensively in Europe and visited Australia, South-East Asia, and both South and North America. Also traditional tented circuses are vibrant in Finland.

Nowadays there are around 250 circus professionals in Finland. They have been educated either in Finland or abroad and some of them have become professionals without a formal degree. There are also many others who make their living as entertainers at events. Many of the professionals work as teachers in youth circuses while pursuing their artistic career. Circus as a hobby has become more and more popular among all age groups in recent years, and the need for professional teachers is growing.

Contemporary circus performances can be seen regularly in the greater Helsinki area, and less regularly in the largest cities around Finland. The Cirko circus building is located in Helsinki’s Suvilahti and it offers 1,400 square metres of office, residency and performance space, custom-made for contemporary circus. In the summer there are also festivals programming contemporary circus for example in Helsinki, Tampere and Kittilä.

Finland is one of the top countries when it comes to applied ways of implementing circus skills. Circus methods are used in social and health services as well as services to improve well-being at work. Finns have also effectively exported the know-how of social circus.