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2015 State Prizes for performing arts

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 26.11.2015 10.30
Press release

The State Prize for Music has been awarded to musician Maarit Hurmerinta. The State Prize for Theatre was shared between the DuvTeatern Theatre Company and director Mika Myllyaho. The State Prize for Circus Art has been awarded to the Mad in Finland group, and the State Prize for Dance to Manager for Education and Outreach Katja Kirsi.

State Awards are granted by the national arts councils - the expert bodies of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland - to an artist or a group of two or more artists in recognition of a work or performance in a specific art form.

State Prize for Music

Singer, lyricist and composer Maarit Hurmerinta has been one of Finland?s elite rock singers for over forty years. While singing she acts as an interpreter, placing her own unique touch on the strong 60s and 70s tradition of soul and rock, with record sales surpassing gold disc level as early as the 1970s. In addition to her own albums, she has also made guest appearances on works by various other composers and songwriters. A number of records also feature her own compositions, as well as those of her husband, Sami Humerinta, with whom she has worked and made records in close cooperation since the early years of her career.

State Prize for Theatre

Through its operations, which bring together a strong sense of artistic integrity and long-term engagement with a socially inclusive way of working, DuvTeatern has created performing arts of great artistic value. DuvTeatern works in an ethically sustainable manner, combining performing arts with pedagogical operations and audience work on accessibility issues, amongst others. At the same time, the theatre is creating a new meaningful and inclusive performing arts landscape – quite simply, a better society. DuvTeatern has worked with both larger institutions and the free performing arts field, with meaningful results both socially and artistically.


Director of the Finnish National Theatre Mika Myllyaho has, during his time as director, created exceptionally informed cultural policy that reflects views and aims beyond just those of the theatre world. Myllyaho?s will and capability when it comes to cooperation have ensured the freshness of the art produced, the effectiveness of production, and an inquisitive audience relationship. Inspired by the staff?s ideas, Lavaklubi has become a ?loss-leader?, helping to maintain the Finnish National Theatre?s identity. The Sunday matinees have returned, and visiting performances have explored new forms of dance, circus and theatre. The touring theatre has been taken to closed institutions, as well as working with immigrants and suburban residents.

State Prize for Circus Art

The Mad in Finland group comprises seven strong and brilliant circus professionals who have built their careers primarily within the European circus scene. The group is formed by Mirja Jauhiainen, Sanna Kopra, Stina Kopra, Heini Koskinen, Sanja Kosonen, Elice Abonce Muhonen and Lotta Paavilainen. Entirely on their own initiative, the group have drawn on their own experiences to create a fun and self-deprecating circus show entitled Mad in Finland. The macabre piece has been performed over fifty times around Europe, to around 18,000 audience members.

State Prize for Dance

Katja Kirsi has worked with the Zodiak Center for New Dance for ten years as the Manager of Outreach and Education. During this time she has innovated, developed and implemented exceptionally wide-ranging, creative and artistically ambitious outreach and education activities. Under Katja Kirsi?s leadership, forms of outreach are developed and realised in collaboration with professional artists, the public, and institutions such as schools. The work for which she is being awarded the State Prize has radically enriched how the cultural institution carries out its outreach and education work; both in terms of art and surpassing and broadening psychological, cultural and social boundaries.

Photos from the event:

Arts Promotion Centre Finland