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Hanna Korsberg

Born February 24, Äänekoski

Master of Arts 1996 and PhD 2005 (Theatre Studies), University of Helsinki

Professor of Theatre Research 2008–, University of Helsinki
Temporary posts as a professor in theatre research, 2008, university lecturer 2004–2007, research associate 1996–1997 and 2000–2001, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research themes: the history of theatre, historiography, Performance Studies

Special Achievements:
Member of the Teachers’ Academy 2015

Photo: Linda Tammisto
Written by Hanna Korsberg (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)

The significance of theatre

The principal subjects of my research are the history of theatre, historiography, and performance studies. In addition, several of my studies have dealt with the relationship between theatre and politics, as well as cultural history.

Kuva: Joonas Vola

My current research project deals with the Finnish National Theatre under the leadership of Arvi Kivimaa, 1950 – 1974, when the theatre was particularly active internationally: it made 14 tours abroad and played host to several leading European theatres. In total, Helsinki was able to witness over 25 guest performances by foreign theatres or actors. That was also the period in which the Small Stage of the National Theatre was built, where Samuel Beckett's plays were staged very soon after their release. Since Finnish theatre is also of international interest, it deserves to be discussed in international journals.

In addition to topics concerning the history of theatre, I have also published papers on contemporary performances. Among these is an article, now nearly finished, which my doctoral student MA Julia Pajunen and I are writing on how stage and radio adaptations of The Unknown Soldier have challenged the cultural memory of World War II.

Several international colleagues have marvelled at the strong position of theatre in Finland. This is evidenced by the number of theatres, their audience figures – In 2014 there were around 2.7 million theatre-goers (for theatre, dance, opera, and circus performances combined, 3.6 million tickets were sold!) – and significant subsidies from the state. In Finland, theatre has been the place to tackle major issues: nationalism, language relations, and nowadays an ever widening range of current topics. Theatre has been expected to influence society, not just entertain!

Dr Hanna Korsberg lecturing at the conference Theatre and the Nomadic Subject. Photo: Joonas Vola.
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