SAMPO Festival
International Puppet Theatre Festival




Outdoor events








Festival Club

Sixth SAMPO Festival is coming: August 24th – 28th 2022

SAMPO International Puppetry Festival was held for the fifth time 25th-29th August 2021.

The opening performance of the festival was FUNNY – The best puppet show ever made by Dirty Duckling from Turku, Finland. This new performance had its premiere on Wed 25th August 2021 on Sampo Stage. Second and third performance on Thu 26.8.

There were also lots of events free of charge and outdoor events. Venues were Puppet Theatre Sampo, Annantalo, Teatteri ILMI Ö, Kolmikulma Park, Erottajanaukio and Tervasaari.

Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook! Events and moments from the festival will also be posted on Puppet Theatre Sampo´s Instagram.

Have a look at the 2021 Festival Book here:






A few words from Ivo Barić, the artistic director of the festival before the 2021 festival

To organize an international theater festival in a time when the surrounding conditions are constantly changing feels like an absurd idea. A huge amount of work and plans are being wasted time and time again because of the ever-changing restrictions preventing things from happening.

We live in a time and environment where, at the time of writing, the law allows serving drinks in our theater hall for 100 people at a time, when prohibiting more than 25 people from attending a cultural event in the same space. As those in power hide behind the paragraphs of legislation, arbitrary restrictions slowly gnaw the cultural life to the nonexistence.

Therefore, the idea of ​​not organizing this event seems even more absurd. In times like these, art needs to stand out and show its power. In difficult times, one should not submit but adapt and do what is possible.

Fortunately, things can be done in several ways. Stylishly and safely.

The program of the 2021 SAMPO festival consists of performances, exhibitions, discussions and workshops that will spread not only to traditional theater spaces but also to parks, squares and street corners.

Dear reader, I encourage you to spend these five festival days enjoying our diverse program, while relaxing and getting inspired. You will have time to read the news again later.

 – Ivo



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.

SAMPO Festival was organized for the first time 29.8-3.9.2017, the second time 22.-26.8.2018, for the third time 28.8.-1.9.2019 and for the fourth time 26.-30.8.2020 (exceptionally as SAMPO XX). 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.




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.

Free entrance!


Elina’s Living Room

Elina’s Living Room met twice at the SAMPO 2021 Festival in the auditorium of Puppet Theatre Sampo. Discussions about the performances of the festival, the life of a puppet artist, art, miracles and mysteries of everyday life. The evening was hosted by puppet theater artist and director Elina Lajunen.



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


– An illustrator for Puppet Theatre Sampo since 1994

Matti Westerlund began his career as an illustrator by making posters for Puppet Theatre Sampo. The shared path of the theatre and the illustrator has wound its way over hill and dale, through open fields and hedgerows. It has left its own distinctive mark on Finnish children’s cultural life.

Westerlund has had long conversations with the puppets on both sides of the stage and even after closing time of the theatre, and that’s when they tell different stories. They have told their stories by posing for illustrations and still lives that have found their way also to children’s books.

A lot of things fit into nearly thirty years. The exhibition showcases the theatre’s publications in all its forms, because Matti Westerlund is also the Graphic Designer for the theatre.

Blue Gallery (Puppet Theatre Sampo)

Free admission




Ticket prices will be announced later in the spring. 

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.

Note: tickets purchased before for performances of Puppet Theatre Sampo and postponed because of the pandemic, are not valid on the festival.



Past festivals







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.

  • 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. On Sampo Stage there are no separate seats but benches – please make sure that you leave a sufficient space to the next spectator, when choosing your seat. In other venues please leave at least one seat free between spectators. Staff will check and give instructions if necessary.
  • Observe safety distances also when queuing or waiting.
  • Use hand sanitizers, when you arrive. There are several in the premises. Washing your hands when arriving is also a good idea.
  • Please come to the theatre well in advance, hurry does not help to ensure safety.
  • We prefer card payment at the ticket desk and the cafe.
  • Leaving the auditorium after the performance will happen row by row. Please wait for the staff´s advice.
  • Please also make sure that you maintain a safety distance of 1-2 meters to other spectators and staff in all situations, including the foyer and toilets. Staff will guide if necessary.
  • 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 take extra good care of the cleanliness of the theatre and surfaces are wiped several times a day.
  • Don’t come to the theatre if you don’t feel completely healthy! Contact us if you can not come, in order to discuss a refund.
  • 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 also use face masks / visors in customer service.
  • We strongly recommend customers to also use a face mask, according to regulations in place. This applies to people over 12 years old.

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!

Käytämme evästeitä sivuston toiminnan varmistamiseksi. Käyttämällä sivua hyväksyt evästeiden käytön.
We use cookies on this site to improve its function. By using the site you agree to the use of cookies.