Jyväskylä Festival has been organised since 1956. It comprises ten programme packages and about one third of the programme is European. This multi-arts event is the province’s most important festival attracting more than 30,000 visitors annually.
Jyväskylä Festival promotes awareness of non-verbal theatre in Finland, and it has pioneered this art form as the only festival in Finland with a theatre programme based on mime, physical theatre, contemporary circus, clowning, acrobatics, object theatre and mask theatre. Some 85 per cent of this programme comprises European works and creator groups, most of whom are appearing in Finland for the first time. Many works are also multinational both in respect of their producers and their principles, and thereby also promote intercultural dialogue.
Jyväskylä Festival has endeavoured to highlight street dance culture alongside more conventional art forms for over a decade. The international event for young adults provides a particular opportunity to experience a sense of community and to test skills in competition. On the other hand, the Festival focuses on the elevation of this genre onto theatre stages, and has thereby been establishing the status of street dance as a recognised and subsidised art form.
The programme of the Jyväskylä Festival also includes strong elements of classical music, world music, folk music and street theatre. The street theatre programme is a key part of the Festival’s audience education work, introducing a general public with minimal exposure to culture to various art forms and particularly to the European street theatre heritage. The street theatre programme also incorporates a tour of the province that has a major impact on the public.