About Osiris

Osiris Theatre

Our theatre’s performances move from auditoria to marketplaces, from homes to schools, from basements to cultural houses and from there around the globe.

We produce experiences for audiences of all ages and bring forward themes that are important to us, such as unity between people and sustainable development. We produce effective multilingual or nonverbal performances and include audiences in gentle means.

Ensemble'S

Loiske Ensemble produces nonverbal dance performances for babies and small children.

Osiris Ensemble produces multilingual performances for adults.

Osiris and Loiske Ensemble form a unit whose skillful performances aim to help people face each other and break boundaries between people of different ages and cultures. Our performances are unique premieres, and their original music also has a great significance.

 

When there are no words

OSIRIS theatre has a long history and strong know-how in working multiculturally with immigrants and refugees. We began working with African refugees back in the 1990’s. In 2016 we worked actively with artists who fled from Middle East in 2015.

Utilizing nonverbal communication, different language versions and candid usage of performance spaces lower the threshold to take part in OSIRIS theatre’s activities. Our aim is to produce the first art experience for the spectator, whether it’s a new-born baby or a family who has recently arrived in Finland as refugees.

History

OSIRIS theatre’s (then ISIS theatre) first official performance, Message of bones – A story of life’s power (Luiden viesti – tarina elämän voimasta), had its premiere in Stoa, Helsinki. OSIRIS theatre’s director Liisa Isotalo was in charge of the composition and execution.

 1997 – 1998 Moose’s Yoik, Auringonpäästötapahtumat in Pikkukoski, Vantaa. The artists participating in the performance represented Finnish Romani culture, Sami culture, North American native culture, Haitian tradition, Finnish Karelian cultural tradition and Senegalese indigenous culture.

Loiske Ensemble was founded. Little Miracles (Pieniä ihmeitä), a dance performance made for babies by dance artist Riikka Siirala and Laura Kairamo, was a groundbreaking piece. 

Working with babies resulted in a study of nonverbal communication: how do babies communicate? What kind of sounds does movement produce? The piece indicated that infants enjoy the experience and that there is a demand for performances among families with babies. The perfomance built by Loiske Ensemble worked and was a success. Loiske Ensemble is a pioneer in Finland in producing dance experiences for babies.

Birth – A story of the birth of the universe (Synty – Tarina maailmankaikkeuden synnystä) was a performance based on the birth myths in Finnish folklore. It was performed in Media Centre Lume.

Loiske Ensemble’s Kukuluku – dance performance for babies (Kukuluku – tanssiteos vauvoille) had its premiere in Kanneltalo, Helsinki. The performance toured in Finnish culture centres, festivals, kindergartens and clubhouses during the following years.

Legend of Birth project was a three-year collaboration project between professional Finnish artists and the international artist community in Auroville, India. The project was based on studying and performing of birth myths in folklore, both in Finland and Auroville, India. Also a record, Birth (Synty) was produced. Although there are different birth myths, wanting to understand where we originate unites nations. If we all have a similar perception on the birth of the world, what is our perception on the end of the world?

A musical drama for the whole family about a tsunami wave, love and friendship. Tsunamika performance has been produced in Finnish, English, Tamil and Arabic. It was performed in English and Tamil in India at the 10th anniversary of the tsunami. The performance still tours in Finland, and it can be understood in Finnish and Arabic.

HS. was a tribute to the life and art of Helene Schjerfbeck. The dance drama was produced in honor of Schjerfbeck’s 150th birthday. The performance was executed by an international multi-arts working group. Its premiere was instantiated in collaboration with Ateneum Hall. The performance combined different age groups and several different arts. With HS. we visited in e.g. Tammisaari, Mänttä (Serlachius museum), Frankfurt Germany and Aarhus Denmark.

See pictures.

Over the dark Tuoni river (Yli tumman tuonen virran), a dance performance about the mythical boundary between life and death, was performed in Galleria Augusta, Suomenlinna and in the old mine of Outokumpu. The soundscape, music and dance of the performance drew from Finnish folklore, which was filtered through modern culture of death. The performative journey, which resembled a retreat, was executed by three dancers, a live musician and a light artist.

Osiris Ensemble and Loiske Ensemble were born. Two different operators, who share the same values and a joint vision of the world. The theatres share an administration and create a continuation for the co-operation: our work is for both babies and the elderly.

Loiske Ensemble’s Zukkapaitupumbula had its premiere in Art Centre Annantalo and has during the following years toured in Finland and visited in Japan in 2014.

12th of May 2015 ISIS theatre changed its name to OSIRIS theatre.

BabySauna had its premiere at Hurraa! Festival. The piece was chosen as the ”little-ITU performance idea” of 2015 by the Children’s Cultural Centres. BabySauna, which is a performance about Finnish sauna culture, suits families with babies as well as multi-cultral audiences, thanks to it being non-verbal. The piece toured in asylum seekers’ reception centres around Finland during the refugee crisis of 2016.

In 2016 we especially emphasized inter-cultural activity, but OSIRIS theatre has worked firmly with different cultures since its founding year. Also a big part of OSIRIS’ operation is the inclusive work with the audience. In different performances it appears in different shapes: before the performance, after the performance or woven within, like in the performances meant for babies.

BabySauna visited Japan with eight performances and got a warm reception. BabyTango dance performance and dances for families with babies got its premiere in Hurraa! festival and made over 30 visits to cultural houses, theatres and nursing homes.BabyTango is a performance about the relationship between the baby and the parent, and it also invites the audience to dance to accordion music.

With the means of table puppetry On the Journey (Matkalla kotiin) tells the story of Iraqi refugees, arriving in Finland. It was at first only performed in private homes and living rooms, to secure the safety of the performers, but the next year it was also performed in high schools. The performance was unusually well and impressively received by the young audiences. We managed to break attitudes and boundaries and open discussion between refugees and the Finnish people.

See pictures.

In April the sequel for On the Journey, Letters from Mosul (Kirjeitä Mosulista) drama ballad had its premiere in Teatteri Avoimet Ovet. Dance & music piece Cracks in the Island will have its premiere in the nature of Vallisaari, Helsinki in August.

See pictures.

Agile, growing community

Every year we produce 1–3 new pieces and give around 70 performances. The theatre’s operations have grown significantly and the size of audience has doubled within the past two years. Our goal is to reach 4000 spectators annually in Finland and abroad.

As an independent, small and modern professional theatre we are able to create nontraditional ways to meet the audience, as well as deepening and expanding workshops that sink into the performance’s themes.

Founding members

Liisa Isotalo

OSIRIS theatre’s artistic director Liisa Isotalo has directed various productions for different theaters in Finland, as well as for television, since she graduated as director from the Theatre Academy. She has worked as an artistic director and a teacher (e.g. Sibelius Academy, Theatre Academy, University of Art and Design). Liisa has been awarded for both her work as an artistic director (medal from the City of Kokkola in 1994) and a director (e.g. Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare; Joensuu City Theatre 2003).

Breaking boundaries between arts, as well as between different cultures and age groups have made Isotalo’s works of art unique, but identifiable. They are often simultaneously deeply tragic, insightful and playful, and they address spectators of all ages. Her interest towards live ritualistic theatre and breaking boundaries between arts began with studying the shamanistic roots of Finnish theatre, and is still ongoing. Liisa Isotalo is a founding member of OSIRIS theatre, as well as its artistic director.

Riikka Siirala

Riikka Siirala is a dance artist and drama instructor from Helsinki. Together with a working group she has done several performance pieces combining dance, sound and music, e.g. Over the dark river of Tuoni (Yli tuonen tumman virran), Memory game (Muistipeli), Turning points (Kääntöpisteitä) and Dreams of Land (Maan Unia).

Together with Laura Kairamo Siirala has founded Loiske Ensemble, that does performances for babies and small children and their families: BabyTango (2017), BabySauna (2015), Zukkapaitupumbula (2013), Kukuluku (2008), Small Miracles (Pieniä ihmeitä, 2006) and Kiitolaukkaa kipitikolkkaa (2014). In addition she has performed in e.g. OSIRIS theatre’s production Birth (Synty) and dance drama HS. as Helene Schjerfbeck, as well as a visiting dancer in Matka Reimsiin (Il viaggio a Reims) in the Finnish National Opera (dir. Dario Fo). Riikka also invites her students, from babies to the elderly, to enjoy the experience of African and creative dance.

In addition to the founding members the theatre employs a large number of artists and experts annually. The operations are conducted by a committee.