LOWERING THE THRESHOLD! Audience outreach programmes increase the accessibility of art and create opportunities for participating in creating & experiencing art.
For Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth, audience outreach is an important link between the audience and the theatre. Hurjaruuth works with a variety of different groups and people of all ages. Audience outreach includes workshops, discussions, artist meetings, and audience engagement projects created around the theatre’s programming.
During years 2018-2020 Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth’s Winter Circus is taking part in big project called Art Testers, funded by Suomen Kulttuurirahasto and Svenska Kulturfonden.
Audience engagement opportunities created around performances provide the specators with tools for watching the performance and making their own interpretations as well as familiarise them with the themes and backgrounds of the performance. At Hurjaruuth, audience outreach also provides an important possibility for hands-on exploration: participants get to try out for example their circus, dance and theatre skills! Through audience engagement, the spectator becomes a part of the art-making process and has the chance to peek behind the curtain, into the dazzling world of circus, dance and theatre.
Hurjaruuth’s own Elf School is goal-oriented art education; the Elf School provides circus training four days a week. In addition, Hurjaruuth offers year-round circus, dance and theatre workshops as well as education and training events, special workshops created around the theatre’s programming, audience discussions and other audience engagement projects.
Workshops created around performances include e.g. the 2011 Noise-taming workshop, accompanying the performance Kiljusen herrasväki, where the Kiljunen family story was explored through dance and movement and the participants could also build their own noise machine. In 2008, the performance The Little Mermaid was accompanied by a workshop called Vesihissi (Water Lift) that took the participants on a journey into an underwater world. During the workshop, the children got to realise their own shadow theatre performance. In the spring of 2013, the students of dance and theatre pedagogy at the Helsinki Theatre Academy created workshops for kindergarten and school groups around the performance Jörö-Jukka (The Struwwelpeter), in which the children got to update the classic stories into modern-day versions.
In spring 2015, a kindergarten from the Taikava project got to participate in the creation process of the performance Thumbelina. Pre-schoolers participated in workshops and previews of the performance. In spring 2014, theatre workshops around the runaway theme accompanied the Gingerbread Boy performances.
In the 2008-2013 Flying Circus workshops, participants got to use the green screen technique as they created circus videos with sets they designed themselves. Flying Circus was realised in collaboration with the Theatre Museum, also located at the Cable Factory.
Many special needs groups have also found their way to Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth, and a lot of attention has been paid to accessibility. Both workshops and performances are visited by a large number of special needs groups from children to elderly people. Contemporary circus and dance theatre performances are well suited for all groups to see and experience. For many special needs groups, the Winter Circus and other Hurjaruuth performances have become a long-standing tradition. There are eight wheelchair places in the Winter Circus audience, and five in Hurjaruuth’s own theatre studio space.
Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth has also realised a multiyear community circus art project (in 2014-2016 in the Ruoholahti-Jätkäsaari area and in 2017-2018 in East Helsinki). The ‘Circus comes to town’ project was supported by the City of Helsinki.
For more information, contact Pisko Aunola, tel. 09 565 7252 or e-mail pisko.aunola(at)hurjaruuth.fi