Publisert 27.02.2023

The Middle Eastern Bloc season 3 will be launched at Together Again festival 2023

The Middle Eastern Block working group

Image by Quentin Wachter. From left to right: Lois Armas photographed by Iiro Iltanen, Saku Kämäräinen photographed by Sakari Piippo, David Kozma photographed by Elli Nora Sayyad, Nelly Winterhalder photographed by Kristin Aafløy Opdan.

”The pandemics hit the world like a tsunami, with several giant waves. Now, as the catastrophic waves withdraw, we slowly detect the impact that the past years have had on our lives, relations, work, habits, attitudes and values. The writers Lois Armas and Nelly Winterhalder place fictional characters in this post pandemic landscape and explore the emotional impact from a both personal, local and global perspective. The writing process will start from a common fictional frame which then allows each writer to express their artistic voice.” – Nelly Winterhalder

The Middle Eastern Bloc podcast, started in 2020, reflects on the global pandemic through the eyes of people belonging to cultural and linguistic minorities (who live outside their birth country). When the first wave of the global pandemic hit the world in Spring 2020, people were asked to stay home and avoid unnecessary contact except with their close family members. “We started to wonder how people residing outside their birth country experience the situation. How people living away from their family coped with the situation.”

This podcast produced by Post Theatre Collective was part of the Together alone 2.0 program in 2022 and this year, Season 3 will be launched at the Together Again festival in Autumn 2023, commissioned by The Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute(opens in a new tab). Post Theatre Collective has chosen Norway-based Nelly Winterhalder and Finland-based Lois Armas to be the writers of this season of the podcast. The episodes will be sound designed by Saku Kämäräinen and directed by David Kozma.

Working group

Lois Armas is a writer and an oral historian. With a MA in Social Sciences by University of Helsinki, her literary work focuses on the feelings that surface out of everyday interactions, on childhood memories, and on observing the complexity of family relationships. She is the co-founder of a multilingual writing space for beginner writers, NEXO, and seasonally teaches creative writing to children in primary school. Her first novel, Flora, will be published by WSOY Publishing House in May 2023.

Nelly Winterhalder, born in Germany in 1979, is a playwright, director and translator. In addition to a master’s degree in playwriting from the Academy of Theater in Oslo, she has a master’s degree in literary studies and acting education from Munich. Winterhalder moved to Norway in 2006 and since worked in a number of different roles and languages. In 2019, she established the live-art-cooperative Ann Sam Bell. Nelly made her debut as a playwright in Norway with alt i boks (Everything sorted) at the Norwegian Drama Festival in 2009. Since then, her works have been shown in Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Nicaragua. in a new tab)

Saku Kämäräinen is a musician and a sound artist whose sound design works have been presented in Finland and internationally. He has performed in over hundred shows across Europe, United States and Canada. He has studied Sound in New Media at Aalto University, and Musicology at University of Helsinki.

David Kozma is a Romanian-Hungarian actor, director and artistic director of the Post Theatre Collective. He works for film and TV productions, theatre, as well as applied theater particularly focused on the activities aimed at immigrants. In 2019, he co-founded New Theatre Helsinki, a platform for intercultural activities centered around performing arts and for the communities that are not represented on the Finnish institutional stage.

Together Again

Together Again is an expansive art project fostering gatherings, workshops, intercultural dialogues and socially engaged art, organised by the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, and made possible thanks to the Art² Grant of the Finnish Cultural Foundation and supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.

Culminating in a one-day festival in Helsinki on the 8th of September 2023, Together Again presents six community-based works to audiences in Amsterdam, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Madrid, New York, Oslo, Paris, and Porto, as well as online.

Together Again is organised by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, the Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute and Institut finlandais, and supported by the Finnish Institute in Germany, the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes (SKTI). The programme takes place in collaboration with Bienal ‘23 Fotografia do Porto, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, The Showroom, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, along with other partners.

Learn more about the project on the Together Again website.