Katariina Numminen

Performance maker, playwright and dramaturg

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

During my residency, I will be working on a theatre text that deals with age, time and generations.

The themes of my work revolve around teaching and learning, generations, age and time. Body memory and internalised patterns. This involves, for example, the question of traditions and their transfer, the relationship between progress and traditions, both in art and otherwise: how something seen as valuable becomes rubbish and civilisation becomes a dead weight as the environment, the ecology in which it came into existence, disappears.

I am interested in the intersection of intimate, private memory and history. I think of people as time bombs with things inside them – emotions, experiences, body memories, even intergenerational things – that, over time, spew out, awaken or explode in surprising ways. One of the sources of inspiration for my work is the concept of nachtäglichkeit, or afterwardsness.

When it comes to the dramatic arts, repetition, quotations and orality seem vital. The physicality of speaking. Writing a play is about an intimate event, putting words into someone else’s mouth.

What I want from the residency is to immerse myself in my work and to have the opportunity to produce material in a broad way, by splashing and spattering it onto paper. I expect the process to unravel at its own pace, and I hope I can respect it and give it the space it needs.

I hope this will be a turning point for me where I am able to let my work breathe, so that it becomes refreshed and enlivened. I’m also looking forward to discussions with the other residents and seeing how their work and my own converge.

I’m going to spend a lot of time walking and I hope I will have a lot of vivid dreams. Although dreams don’t directly provide material for my current work, dreaming is a fundamental form of creativity and a building block for absolutely everything.

Corporeality in writing is a key working method for me and an area I’m deeply interested in.

Part of my work at the Saari Residence involves combining physical work, such as somatic work and writing, as well as writing by speaking and moving. My current work in progress is a kind of autopsy of the theatrical body.



Katariina Numminen is a Helsinki-based performance maker, playwright and dramaturg.

Her performance work has centred around various ‘found texts’, ranging from autobiographical works to documentary performances, but she has also made experimental stage adaptations of plays. She has written plays and done radio features.

Numminen is interested in how theater and performance think, as well as the relationships and interfaces between the text’s voice, speech and body. Her artistic interests include memory and time. The relationship between dramaturgy and ecology has been an ongoing source of fascination for her.

She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation in artistic research at the University of the Arts Helsinki, focusing on incomplete dramaturgy.

Numminen was awarded the Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s five-year artist grant, spanning the period from 2019 to 2023. In addition to Finland, she has worked in Germany, the Nordic countries and Mozambique.

As well as her artistic work, Numminen has taught dramaturgy, writing and contemporary theatre practices. She worked as Professor of Dramaturgy at Uniarts Helsinki from 2014 to 2019. She is currently a teacher in the master’s programme in writing at Uniarts Helsinki.