Stage Design at the Crossroads of Different Operational Cultures. Mapping the History of Scenography Education in Finland

Laura Gröndahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The article maps the development of scenography education in Finland from the early 1970s to the 2000s. Unlike all other disciplines of theatre making, the study program has been located at the University of Industrial Arts, which highlights the double character of scenography as both a visual and a performative art. The hegemonic comprehension of the subject has oscillated between independent design and participation in a collective process. The key question that penetrates the curriculum throughout the decades is how to successfully construct a solid, material space for a temporary, more or less unpredictable theatrical event. The scenographic methods that have been taught vary from the disciplined rational pre-planning and conceptual analysis of the 1970s, to the subjective individualism at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, and finally to the interactive, self-regulating processes in the 2000s. The different approaches are largely connected to individual teachers, but they can be further contextualized by looking at the more general cultural tendencies in art, theatre and society; as well as to the material conditions, changing university policies and respective organizational reformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-102
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • scenography
  • stage design
  • University of Industrial Arts
  • Helsinki
  • theatre education
  • theatre professions

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