2018 marks FiiF’s 6th year of performances at Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri (TaYT). Partner to the festival since the beginning, the theatre has helped us to create the unique community atmosphere that makes FiiF special.
This heart of fresh, exciting and uncompromising theatre in Tampere is located just a stone’s throw away from the railway station.
Roughly translated, the name means “Tampere Student Theatre”. The name, though, is a bit of a relic, as today anyone over the age of 18 can apply as an actor, producer, technician or any other job that running a theatre requires. The theatre is run mostly through volunteer work by its members: the only paid employee is the theatre secretary.
TaYT, a time machine
The theatre is in its own way a time machine. The history of the space is visible everywhere. From the first step you take into the space, you notice the past functions of the space mixed and matched with the new.
The designer lamps on the walls of the main theatre space date back to its beginnings as the movie theatre Ilves (finnish for Lynx), originally built as a movie theatre back in 1950. The unique clay walls themselves also hark back to that time. Not to mention the big screen, still standing proud at the far end of the room. Fun fact: the projector room of the cinema now acts as the dressing room and wardrobe of the theatre! Another fun fact: rumour has it that, before the advent of VHS tapes, not to mention the internet, the cinema also served as a venue for adult entertainment.
But bold and brazen young theatre and moving pictures (also bold, at times) are not the full extent of the theatre’s uses over the years. The place also served as a night club in the 90’s, which was the time when the diagonal movie theater floor was made level to make things a little easier for the dancers. Those wild years are evidenced not only by the presence of the (still operational!) bar, but also the (sadly not operational) neon lights on the ceiling.
The versatile space sees daily use not only by the theatre, but also by various other people and organisations renting the space to host their own events. Besides FiiF, TaYT has also served as the location for a silent movie festival, big band concerts, weddings, and feminist comedy, just to name a few. The theatre’s own plays are produced and the space managed through volunteer work by its members; young adults for whom theatre is a passion and, in many cases, a future career. All of the above has shaped TaYT into the space it is today: a living exhibition of the fusion of old and new, classical and punk, history and the future.
But is it haunted?
Of course it’s haunted. The past of Tampere imbues TaYT with beauty and stories.
Text by Patrik Kivinen