We have listed the themes that the young people wanted to research, negotiate and practically work with during the Erasmus+ youth exchange.

A) We wanted to find each theme’s advantages and disadvantages for a young person in current European country.
B) We were researching our lifestyles: how do we live now, and why? What’s good or not so good about it?
C) What did we learn about the themes?

Theatrical Acting and Directing Styles in Finland and Bulgaria

We had two workshops, where we told and presented the typical features in both theatre cultures. The biggest difference was that Finnish theatre style focuses on psychological point of view. The actor’s feeling has to be honest the actor should feel like “as if I’m really this person”. The style is easily quite realistic in acting, even though in directing we have taken many steps towards the modern and abstract storytelling. The props and the material is as important as true feelings and intentions to present the character. Bulgarian theatre style focuses on visual point of view – we noticed throughout the week, that there is no theatre without props, wigs, make up, clothes. Bulgarians also added music whenever they could and they used the theatre lights without hesitation. They start from how it looks like, and what impression it gives. Cleverness, high visual understanding and skills is valued. Both styles have their both sides: the Finnish theatre looks a bit blank compared to Bulgarian style. On the other hand, the true feelings and face expressions or movements are easy to adapt to as a viewer. The young people got the chance to think of this difference and think, which style suits them better as an actor or theatre maker.

Bulgarian Folk Dances & Old Finnish Dances

All participants loved the dances that we rehearsed during this evening. Dancing is always fun and brings people together without words. Therefore, it is important for young people. For Bulgarian, the folk dance is still alive within young people and they are proud of it. For Finnish people, the most loved tradition nationally is the old prom dances, which the high school people learn and perform. Essential part of both dance cultures is to dress according to the code, but you can also dance with normal clothes in everyday life.

Hair and Make up in Theatre

Hair and Make up traditions are different in a sense that they enhance the importance of the visual look differently. In Bulgaria, wearing white face paint and doing make up on top of that is still very everyday option for character’s appearance. In Finland, we use it as a well-thought effect, and it’s not a usual way to start making a character. Same goes with hair tradition, even though this is more the same for our countries. Anyway, there’s no good or bad option in this category – depends what kind of theatre making you want to take forward.

Making a Video

The most usual way of making a video nowadays is to make it with your smartphone. This workshop, however, also enhanced the importance of a proper camera – the quality is better, and in theatre world it can make a difference. Therefore, use of actual video camera should be considered, when making a good video. This is what the young people thought themselves, however they used now a lot their phones in the workshop. In the beginning of the workshops, there was a small reminder of what a video making consists of, and then four videos with four styles were produced. The participants could try filming and see the ready-made products. Video is an important part of documenting performative arts, and it is and art form in itself. To some, the film might be easier to approach than stage work. There’s a chance to edit in filming, which some find relieving.

Presentation skills: How to Creatively Boost Your Message?

Even though the topic sounded like another school lecture, it was very interesting and useful, and the participants found it interesting and enjoyable to take part into. This session was held by an EuroPeer Eveliina Torkkeli, who just concluded the EuroPeer training in June 2016, so the information about the E+ possibilities and the experiences were still fresh. The participants learned that making an interesting, hooking and personal presentation is the efficient way to boost your message. They used theatrical small demos to try out and practice the characteristics/skills, that Eveliina had taught them during the session. Useful for future life, and especially for project’s afterlife and visibility part. 

Cooking Intercultural Food

Cooking is always something that interests everybody, at least to some extent. Food brings all the people in the world together, raises feelings and opinions. It is also maybe the most efficient way to tell about everyday life in a certain culture. The menu was: hernekeitto (pea soup) (FIN), tarator soup (BG), potato dish which name we Finnish leaders don’t remember (BG), baklava (BG), korvapuustit (cinnamon roll) (FIN), kiisseli (pudding… well, not actually, but maybe that’s the closest word in English) (FIN). People liked the food, even though some of the dishes burned a bit – but this is basic people cooking, of course we understand it! It added a human flavor into the taste! And however, people had a nice lunch together. The most important thing was that we were able to go to a local restaurant to have our workshop! One of the participants’ parents own restaurant and wanted to offer their place for our use. This was an amazing experience, and we are so grateful for the owners. The day definitely cleared some essentials of our food cultures: the flavours, typical ingredients, the culture of making food and working in the kitchen. Most of all: it was fun ja easy to learn in this way. Some participants got first tasters of working in the restaurant. Some of the participants clearly wanted to keep the restaurant jobs in mind for the future. Great outcome!

Making Comedy on Stage

Comedy was the theatre style that the young people chose to do together. It was maybe because they thought that’s the style where you can talk about different topics – even difficult things - more easily. The result was that the participants learned the usual comedy theatre practices from two countries. Maybe the general difference was that in Finland, usually the young people make their improvised, self-planned scenes through comedy. Also, the games are usually meant to make people feel happy and smile. In Bulgaria, comedy is not part of the everyday rehearsals but it takes form in energizers and game practice to make the rehearsals more perfect. Or then it is a theatre style that’s taken as one form of art, i.e. with Moliére and Chekov. The reason for the difference might be that Loimaa theatre is an amateur theatre, where young people want to have a hobby that makes them happy and where there’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s more about having friends and a place to be in the free time. Some of course are aiming towards a theatre profession, but not all. The Bulgarian school is training its students for the profession. Therefore the general attitude for making theatre is more about art and perfection in skills and actor trainings. Also in comedy. Whichever point of view, comedy is a vital part of theatre. Feeling happy and laughing ease the human pressure, and therefore theatre should, of course, include these in itself.

First Steps in Classical and Jazz Ballet

For many participants this lesson was the first touch to dancing classical or jazz ballet. This was the workshop, where the groups could also just talk through dancing. Everybody agreed that talking through movement was so much easier and fun. The atmosphere was excited and enjoyable all the time. All we can say is: dancing is for everybody, and works always. The groups were able to adjust the level of skills that they wanted, and the style. Therefore, nobody should feel that they cannot dance. Everybody can dance. It’s about the attitude and going with the music. Dancing is also good movement exercise in many ways, so there’s a health aspect, too.

Voice/Movement on Stage

This workshop offered another proof about the mentality of making theatre in our theatres: the workshop included basic actor training, and mostly actor preparing. The style was new to many Loimaa theatre youngsters. A lot of concentration was needed, and focus. Some theatre exercises feel strange for the first time, and it makes you focus less. In the middle of all the fun and games, this workshop was a good reminder for anyone who wants to do theatre professionally of professionally orienteered.


In this workshop there were photos sent to participants phones that had taken nearby the theatre building. Participants had to find the right places and went there and took a group picture to prove that they have found the place. There was also a quiz game in which the participants used their phones to took part in the game. Workshop combined successfully the advantages of the smartphone in practice and at the same time participants could discuss about the disadvantages of the smartphones. The biggest note on disadvantage was that people don’t listen or communicate face-to-face that much anymore. Everybody is so interested in their phones. Once your eyes are on the phone, you accidentally bump into someone, you don’t see real live things anymore around you, and you don’t focus on the situations where you are. Live communication disappears.

Fingers and Soul – Making Bulgarian Handycrafts

Handycraft is a part of every culture, and we got a possibility to learn to make Bulgarian Martenitzas. The Bulgarian participants told that the tradition is very important in Bulgaria, and that the handycraft culture in overall is important in the country. Handycraft skills are alive also in Finland, but not very visibly. People do them at home or give to each other. But working with hands is great balance to working with head (school + studies) or eyes (smartphones, tablets). Maybe to some Finnish participants it was an awakening thing to see that martenitzas are a part of young people’s everyday life. After all, everybody was so happy after been making new things that could be hanged in different places in the theatre lobby. We were all relaxed and felt that we were able to create something. It’s just as important than studies and smartphones.

Voice Acting & Dubbing

Humans are quite shy about their voice. Voice is such a personal thing, and very fragile. It’s easy to make someone feel ashamed by mocking his or her voice, or breaking it somehow. The workshop contained vocal warm-ups, which are good for any performer. The workshop was a reminder that we have to take care of the reflector of our personality. And voice is such an efficient and important element in acting! You can do acting and characteristics only with voice, especially when you are dubbing. The young people got the chance to focus only on this area of theatre. The workshop was well lead, and everybody noticed that dubbing is not easy. Things like clear voice and good articulation don’t happen just like that. That’s why we need vocal warm ups, and vocal training – to get all sides out from our voice. In that way, you can also enhance different sides of yourself in life: work, school, friends, family, occasions. The power of voice is big, and it’s good to understand at this age.

Visit Old People’s home: Performing National Dances and Songs

We wanted to thank you the elder people’s centre, which gave us food every day. On top of that, we wanted to make a refreshing performance moment for the elder inhabitants. So, we put the things together we had done already during the week, and made a show! The afternoon was so successful. You could see the emotions on the audience’s face. Somebody would have started to dance, too, if she could have stood on her feet! For Bulgarians, the elder people (for example grandparents) are a normal part of family life. They stay more home than in Finland. That’s why some Bulgarians found the elder people centre a little bit confusing and abandoning. The popularity of these centres was a surprise to all Bulgarians. And, vice versa, the Bulgarian tradition sounded almost impossible to the Finns. This was an important societal difference to be noticed, and to think whether our traditions are good or should we learn from each other. And how to put that into practice in real life? That’s the tricky question.

Demo Performance for an Audience

The performance was the high peak of the week, even though we didn’t want people to stress about it too much. The performance was received very warmly, and we believe that the talent and skills of young people amazed the audience. Everybody saw the difference to normal Loimaa theatre youngster performance. Atmosphere was energetic, and the performance bang-on. Everybody supported each other. This is intercultural performance co-operation at its best. No the youngsters and the audience know how it feels like. Whether they want more of these experiences in the future, it’s up to the youngsters to decide.

Outdoors and Healthy Lifestyle

The workshop was more of a refreshing moment outdoors in the Finnish nature and outdoors track. There were questions about the relationship to nature, and which one is more appealing to the young participants, countryside (nature close) or town (nature not so close). These questions are more and more accurate in the Europe and globe where we live in. The answers went half and half amongst the youngsters, which means there should be inhabitants both in towns and suburban areas, and in the countryside. Let’s see if it will be true or not! It will be known in a few years time! At least we got to know that Finnish nature could be cold already in October. The workshops organizers were unlucky in this sense; the wind was quite freezing and no matter how lovely the grilling and fireplace was, because we didn’t move, we started to feel cold. Luckily nobody got sick!

1) Food cultures

a lot of potatoes, rye bread, meat, fish, porridge, milk, simple, bread.

pitka, banitza, potatoes, tsatsiki, Bulgarian youghurt, white bread, white cheese, sour milk, blugaruan milk, salad, tomatoes

Food culture in both countries: Trying to eat together, at least during the weekends. Usually eating alone. (young people)

2) Comedy styles in our countries

- real situations that happen in life
- all the best Bulgarian comedians are slowly dying. But we try our best to make good comedy

- absurd, situations are not that funny
- dark humour, based on voice and dialect

3) Formal – non-formal – informal
Understanding the difference on these learning styles, and which styles work for you. Recognizing what sessions during the week have been formal, non-formal and informal.

4) Breaking stereotypes:
- What would help to proof that stereotypes are not true?

The summary for this one would be: meet the people, travel, use social media, go to young people’s presentations. Then you’ll notice that everybody is an individual.
Some habits come from the culture, but everybody is a personality. Generalizations don’t really work, and often are misleading.

- Have your prejudices got stronger or weaker?

Many participants said that they didn’t know anything about the other culture, so there were not prejudices either. On the first day we tried to make them on purpose – next time such programme, which doesn’t start from reminding/creating stereotypes? Good advice!

- How do you wish that other would approach you?

Kindly, respectively, listening. Smiling! And to trust.

5) Elder people: how are the systems different in our countries? What do we think of it?

Finland: The elder people often spend their days in a elder people centre. This is a normal system. Elder people often would want to be home, but because they usually always live alone. They can’t manage the everyday practicalities anymore, and therefore they’re put into a elder people’s home. The relatives almost never see the option that the elder person could    live with them – and the elder people also want to save their “dignity” and stay by themselves. Finns know that this is not really fine, but they trust the elder care system that has been paid by tax money.

Bulgaria: The elder people often live home by themselves, and maybe with their children and grandchildren. It is the family’s task to take care of them. The sense of a family often includes the grandparents, it is a normal system. Not everybody stay home, though. There are elder people’s centres, but people don’t trust them.

6) Language: sound, speed, characteristic. Language culture. Compare and discuss.

Finnish: sharp, monotonic, fast, hard to make out the words because it sounds like one line – no rhythm. Not very loud. No emotions. A lot of dialects.

Bulgarian: More s-sounds, a lot of consonants, not that fast. Sometimes loud/LOUD. Sometimes angry sound. Areas with soft sound.

It was hard for the two languages to pronounce each others words right. They couldn’t make out a word from each others languages.
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EVERYDAY DISCUSSION, which competences the days workshops include.
EVERYDAY filling the personal JOURNALS, which reflect the day.