SAMPO Festival
International Puppet Theatre Festival




Outdoor events








Festival Club

Next SAMPO Festival will be August 25th-29th 2021

Official trailer of the festival is public – you can check it out here!

We are planning to arrange the next international SAMPO Puppet Theatre Festival in August 2021. Lets hope that everything will go as planned, the pandemic is history and we can get together then!

First performance on this years festival has been announced: SAMPO Festival warmly welcomes the puppeteer group Dirty Duckling from Turku with their brand new performance FUNNY! The premiere will be on SAMPO Festival 25.8.2021.

SAMPO Festival offers memorable, touching and entertaining performances for children and adults. One of the biggest puppetry festivals in Finland, it showcases artists from across the field, different styles of puppetry and visual theatre, and crosses borders between different fields of art. In addition to performances, the program also features films, workshops, outdoor performances, discussions and diverse artist meetings.

SAMPO Festival gives a place for encountering, also for professional puppeteers. For the first time in 2019, the Festival invited also guests from different countries around the world to see performances and take part in discussions. Domestic puppeteers have also had a chance to portray their upcoming work and ideas for a jury of professionals at our Open Stage event.

The festival is organized by Puppet Theatre Sampo.

The 2020 edition of SAMPO Puppet Theatre Festival was exceptional – fitting for exceptional times – and with Finnish puppeteers: SAMPO XX! The festival was held in August 26-30, 2020.

All performances and events of the festival were free to the public. There were performances for all ages, children and adults, indoors and outdoors.

The venues included Puppet Theatre Sampo, Annantalo, Teatteri Avoimet Ovet and Teatteri IlmiÖ and outdoor venues at Erottajanaukio and A-lava at Annantalo. For the first time SAMPO Festivals performances were seen also outside the city center at Malmitalo.

SAMPO Festival was organized for the first time 29.8-3.9.2017, the second time 22.-26.8.2018 and for the third time 28.8.-1.9.2019. The program books of the earlier festivals can be looked at at the bottom of the page.

SAMPO Festival is a curated festival and we invite performing groups from around the world.

Check out the festival trailer for 2019 to have a glimpse at what to expect: SAMPO 2019 Official Festival Trailer


The Festival is organized by Puppet Theatre Sampo, that was founded in 1977 and has its premises in the center of Helsinki.

We invite people of all ages, shapes and sizes to enjoy the cosy atmosphere of our Puppet Theatre Centre and see puppetry performances for children and adults. We offer also art education: workshops and theme days. Sampo´s Fairytale Café is also open to the public at the theatre.

We are driven by imagination, humor and music. Welcome to be inspired by them! You may find some happiness, the treasure of friendship, a sparkle of joy in the middle of a busy day.


Dirty Duckling: FUNNY

Sampo Stage 25.8.2021 & 26.8.2021 at 7 pm
for adults
Tickets 20€ / 15€


Funny is fun. Funny is touching. Funny is the best puppet show in the world. You don't want to miss this show!

The Dirty Duckling performance FUNNY pops the stage full of shape-changing balloons, fickle video projections and dreams of stardom. The puppet show conceptualized by Merja Pöyhönen and Riina Tikkanen aims straight at the corners of the audience’s mouths, their hearts and towards worldwide fame.

This lightly saturated performance hides evil in cotton wool and contemplates on the tragedy of entertaining. A child-adult is revealed in the limelight, with an eternal smile and a sugar-tipped past. Laughter, helium balloons, Mary had a little lamb, an eternal birthday party and a family believing they were happy. But as the day turns into a night, a gun is found from the pillow, and sheep that don’t want to go away creep from under the blanket. In its imagery this wordless, humorous, and light-hearted performance hides issues on fear of violence and cracking mental health. Is there always emptiness behind a clown’s smile? If the balloon grows too big, will it explode? Can you grow up by only eating cotton candy?

The stars of the entertainment world whimsically bossing each others around and the sparkle of the limelight find their forms in an incredibly little used puppet technique: balloons. In addition to live balloons the performance features full-sized human puppets and invisible puppeteering.

The working group of Funny consists of heroes of Finnish contemporary puppet theatre. The star performers of the show, Merja Pöyhönen and Riina Tikkanen, are familiar, together and separately, from many of the recent Finnish contemporary puppet theatre successes. Group is supplemented by a careful selection of some of the best Finnish puppet artists. The team’s merits cover just about everything from big stage visual design and art prizes to pioneering organizational activities in the puppetry field.

Duration 1 H (no pause)

Language nonverbal

For adults


Concept, text, on stage - Merja Pöyhönen & Riina Tikkanen

Director - Pia Kalenius

Puppets & scenography - Jenni Rutanen

Composer - Antti-Juhani Manninen

Lights - Essi Santala

Visual assistent - Heini Maaranen

Puppetry trainee - Eve Mäkitalo

Production - Kuuma Ankanpoikanen & Markus Alanen


The SAMPO Festival Club provides a meeting place for artists and the public at the festival. Get ready for memorable conversations about the performances and everything else, exhilarating meetings, serious and less serious subjects, laughter and relaxing!

The Festival Club is open during the festival in Puppet Theatre Sampos Fairytale Cafe.


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extra safety measures during the festival.

The following guidelines will be carefully considered so that we can all come to watch the performances safely together.

  • If the situation still demands, only a part of the places in the auditorium are in use so that we can maintain the necessary safety distances between individual spectators / groups. The auditorium is unnumbered.
  • The entrances and lobby areas are kept congested and we open the auditorium doors well in advance so you can choose your place in peace.
  • We hope you will stay at the place you have chosen during the performance. If it is difficult for a child to stay still, etc., it is a good idea to choose a side seat, so that you can easily get out of the auditorium into the lobby if necessary.
  • Please come to the theatre well in advance, hurry does not help to ensure safety.
  • If you wish, you can take your clothes to the auditorium, but the clothes rack in the foyer is also in use (we hope that larger bags will still be left in the foyer, for security reasons). Prams should be left in the courtyard.
  • Please also make sure that you maintain safety distances to other spectators and staff in all situations, including the foyer and toilets. Staff will guide if necessary.
  • The theatre uses hand sanitizers, please use them when entering the theatre and when appropriate.
  • We require the use of a face mask. Our staff uses masks.
  • Tickets for performances should be booked in advance so that we can take care of safety and keep the number of audience members limited.
  • When booking, we ask for your contact information, in order to contact you if the performance should be canceled or after the performances, if exposures occur.
  • We prefer card payment at the ticket desk and the cafe.
  • We have intensified the cleaning of the theatre and we take care of the cleanliness of the surfaces several times a day.
  • Don’t come to the theatre if you don’t feel completely healthy!
  • Cough or sneeze only into a handkerchief or your sleeve if there is no handkerchief. Hand washing / disinfection is also necessary thereafter.
  • The theatre staff only comes to work completely healthy.

We follow the pandemic performance guidelines for the performing arts sector which you can find out more about on the Finnish Theatres’ Associations website (link) and we follow THL’s (Finnish National Health Service) current guidelines.

With these instructions, we wish everyone a wonderful time at the festival!


There are exhibitions on the festival, giving you a chance to get to know more about puppetry.

Puppets From Around the World

This exhibition about the wonderful world of theatre puppets is a permanent exhibition at Puppet Theatre Sampo. The visitor can explore puppet traditions of different cultures and see puppets from around the globe from the 19th century to the present.

Puppet Theatre Sampo Gallery

Free Admission



Tickets are now available for the first published performances. 

Normal price: 20€

Discount price: 15€ (students, pensioners, theatre card)

Festival passes coming soon!

Tickets are sold on Puppet Theatre Sampo´s website: https://nukketeatterisampo.fi/esityskalenteri-en (also available in English).

Reservations can be made by phone or email or at the ticket office (note: only one person at a time).

Tickets can also be obtained at the door if the show is not full. Tickets for SAMPO Festival can only be obtained from Puppet Theatre Sampo.

Reservations: 020 735 2235, toimisto@nukketeatterisampo.fi

Ticket office: Puppet Theatre Sampo / Nukketeatteri Sampo, Erottajankatu 7, Helsinki.



Past festivals





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