Theatre Museum


What happens behind scenes? What kind of ideas, things and elements are performances built on? What does a scenographer or a costume designer do? What is the performer’s work all about? Answers to these and many other questions will be discovered Backstage at the Theatre Museum.

It takes many work phases and many professionals from different sectors of theatre before a performance is ready for the opening night. The Backstage exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes to see what performing and theatre are all about, and what the work of a performer consists of.

In the exhibition, we explore performing arts through examples from the Finnish context. You can see and feel theatre costumes, models of stage sets, and props – the history and atmosphere of theatre at your fingertips!

Backstage you can play the lead if you want. At numerous points throughout the exhibition, you can try things yourself, see how things work, and experience the thrill and joy of performing. At the Dubbing Karaoke you can lend your voice to film actors (in Finnish). You can take on different roles by changing costumes in the Dressing room or by inserting your face into a promo shot at the Makeover game. In the green screen studio you can shoot your own newscast. And finally, two stages await your performance: a traditional proscenium stage and a contemporary platform with lighting and wardrobes.

The permanent Backstage exhibition was opened in the autumn 2010. It was inspired by the idea that man is homo ludens, or homo performansis. Theatre is grounded in desires and needs typical to the species: the desire and need to perform or, correspondingly, to watch and listen. Backstage reveals the cultural spectrum of performance. In this diversity, the rules and conventions of performance change in time and space.

Despite the differences in performing across cultures, the fundamental premises are similar. The photographic essay The Marks of a Performer challenges the visitor to consider different methods of performing – and then try them out themselves.

The collection’s costumes and scale models lead visitors into the bilingual history of Finnish theatre and its ambiguous present. The oldest treasures on display are Ida Aalberg’s and Axel Ahlberg’s costumes that date back to the days of the Finnish Theatre in the late 1800’s. Dripping with the magic of the stage, the costumes and scale models illuminated with individually customised fibre optics, communicate the visual richness of theatre. Finnish actors and plays are paraded in the photo cavalcades of the exhibition.