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Photo: Vesa Loikas


VOX FEMINA / FERAL POLYPHONY (2022-2023)                                                           

VoxFemina / Feral Polyphony (edition 2022-2023) is a multidisciplinary art project and performance that explores a woman's voice and the life and social phenomena that shape them.

Created by a team of female artists Maria Nurmela (choreography and dance), Saara Nurmi (visuals), Jonna Aaltonen and Reettaleena Rauhala (dance and performance), and Jane Sheldon (sound composition).


VoxFemina / Feral Polyphony premiered on the 3rd of March 2023 at the Postpostrenefest - A new performance art space in Pori. 

The premiere in Turku will be on the19th of January 2024 in the Kakola Hall, the former prison of Turku, currently part of the Hotel Kakola.

VOX FEMINA (2020) 

VoxFemina (2020), is a multidisciplinary art project and performance that explores a woman's voice and life and the social and social phenomena that shape them. VoxFemina’s (edition 2020) working group consisted of choreographer Maria Nurmela, writer Liisa Vilkkumaa, violinist Ilana Gothoni and visual artist Saara Nurmi.


VoxFemina premiered in September 2020 at the Manifesti Theatre Festival in Turku, and was part of the 40th International Festival de Dance Contemporanea Lila Lopez (San Luis Potosí, Mexico), with a half an hour documentary film about the multidisciplinary working methods and the process of making the performance. The documentary was premiered in July 2020 at the Festival in San Luis Potosí.

"VoxFemina / Feral Polyphony
where we see each other without looking, hear without listening and respond to each other's existence and stories by stopping."



Direction, choreography by Maria Nurmela.

Co-creation and performance by Jonna Aaltonen, Maria Nurmela, Saara Nurmi, and Reettaleena Rauhala.


Sound composition by Jane Sheldon

Visual advice: Erno Seppälä

Sound engineering: Jaakko Vastapuu

Outside eye: Gesa Piper

Georgie Goater

Production by Saara Nurmi, Maria Nurmela, Western Regional Dance Centre

Photos and trailer by Vesa Loikas.

Supported by: Läntinen tanssin aluekeskus, Taike, SKR / Satakunta Fund, Pro Manilla Foundation




Concept: Maria Nurmela, Liisa Vilkkumaa

Direction and choreography: Maria Nurmela

Content, collaboration, performance: Maria Nurmela, Liisa Vilkkumaa, Ilana Gothoni, Saara Nurmi

Visual consulting: Kalle Ropponen

Production: Maria Nurmela

Filming of the documentary: Jaakko Rajala



Regional Dance Center of Western Finland

Turku Philharmonic Orchestra

Turku Cultural Committee

Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporánea - Lila Lopez, Mexico


TEHDAS Theatre

Aurinkobaletti / AB Dance Company

Mamia Company

Viinatehdas & Dana-sali, Pro Manilla Foundation, Turku

Premiered as an opening creation at the Manifesti Factory Festival on the 9th and 10th of September 2020.

Half an hour documentary of the creation process premiered July 28th, 2020, at Festival Internacional de Danza Contenpránea - Lila Lopez, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

VoxFemina / Feral Polyphony which premiered in Turku 19.1.2024 in former Kakola Prison Church, gets praising reviews in Turun Sanomat!

Review by Heidi Horila, 20.1.2024 (translated from Finnish)

Direction, choreography Maria Nurmela, lyrics by the working group, composition Jane Sheldon, sounds Jaakko Vastapuu, lights Erno Seppälä, costumes Maria Nurmela. Kakola Hall 19.1.

Dance maker Maria Nurmela has used to take her performances to non-conventional performance spaces such as the civil defense shelter and the current Art House, before the space was used as an Art House. Now, Nurmela and her working group's long-term VoxFemina project Feral Polyphony, which explores femininity with several different women artists, can be seen in Kakola Hall, the former church of a former prison. The choice is apt. The female voice, narrowed and silenced throughout the ages, is muffled in a space that has deliberately restricted and controlled individual freedoms. At the same time, we are in a room of the sacred.The very opening scene of the work sends such huge coils into motion. More reels are on the way.

Nurmela, Jonna Aaltonen, Gesa Piper and Reettaleena Rauhala construct, through fleeting glimpses, transient moments, recognisable ritualistic historical and at the same time completely new images, what it means to be a woman in this moment. There we can see a little can-can, there a little circle dance. There is shouting or whispering, a play on love-lose, wild-shame, and a frequent repetition of the phrase 'I'm a mess'. In Jane Sheldon's composition, there are rasps, hiccups, a lonely melody, more broken loops. Erno Seppälä's scene-setting lighting design makes use of both the space's own, unadorned chandeliers, and the light from the projector. Virginia Woolf already knew it: a woman needs a room of her own. Last year, music researchers Susanna Välimäki and Nuppu Koivisto-Kaasik brought the history of hidden Finnish women composers to the public consciousness with their lavish work Sävelten tyttäret - composing women from the 19th century to the 20th century (2023). Making women's work visible is an ongoing process, always in progress. 

Building a work around this kind of theme, dealing with the voices of the silenced, can risk being partisan. Feral Polyphony, which means wild polyphony, does not indulge in this, but picks up the roles and identities assigned to women throughout history in a crisscrossing way through a common movement, stream-of-consciousness speech and gestures that even reach out to the audience, forming their own sisterly canons. In the same moment, it forgets them and moves on. In Jonna Aaltonen's electrifying movement expression, in particular, there is an energy that seems to be possessed, jostling in different directions.

The work is abundant. There is so much going on throughout the space, both in terms of sound and movement, that at times you feel like closing your eyes and just listening to Sheldon's strange, resonant and surprising sound transmissions. The piece has its own listening instruction, but I can't help but concentrate on it.

In the midst of it all, I am reminded of Susanna Hast's book Body/Memories (2022), which deals with the mechanisms of trauma and violence, and when the body remembers but the mind or language does not. It gives rise to spasmodic and collectively and individually intermingled trains of thought and mental turmoil. Feral Polyphony has a lightness and humour, it could be like a lighter interior version of Hast's book. This is the picture of a woman's mental landscape that the work paints, one of constant chaotic multitasking and wrestling with different expectations, but also of explosive joy and total madness.

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