Founders, both from Forssa, were Albert Lindfors, Artist, and Carl Meyer, Manor House Owner.
Owned by Aleks Anttila from Uusikaarleby.
Between the years 1930-2001 the theatre building was home to among other things, a shop, a photographer’s studio and a toy shop. At the end of the 1990’s the building was abandoned. When Forssa Town bought the building, restoration permission was granted to the Forssa Vibrant & Beautiful Association in1999.
Forssan Elävienkuvien Teatteri
Finland’s first cinema to be founded in the countryside was restored due to the efforts of the Forssa Vibrant & Beautiful Association with support and contributions from many facets.
Forssan Elävienkuvien Teatteri
Management and maintenance of the theatre was passed from the Forssa Vibrant & Beautiful Association to the Forssa Silent Motion Picture Association. The Association digitalised the theatre and seating was changed to suit today’s needs.
Refurbishing Finland’s first rural cinema into its original condition is a classic example of the strength of a voluntary workforce. Support for the 4 year project came from the Finnish National Board of Antiquities, the Finnish Film Foundation and local businesses. Contemporary interviews and decades old information allowed the 1900’s style of the building to be maintained. During the renovations the once added upper floor was removed altogether, too. The murals were restored according to some remains that had survived. Modern technology had been well concealed, too, in order not to interfere with the unique ambience of the Theatre.
Audiences have also found their way to the Living Theatre’s wooden benches besides the River Loimi. In addition to screening normal films, the theatre is the main stage for the annual Silent Film Festival in August/September.
When seats were also placed in the aisles the auditorium seated about 200 spectators. The screen was about 3x4m, and there were long wooden benches. The projector room was situated at the back of the hall. As there was no electricity locally, a DC generator was acquired, but after a few months that was replaced by a steam driven traction engine called Voima (Power) the noise of which being the reason for the theatre being nicknamed “Devil’s Mill”.
Strong evidence of the first ever film screened there was found on the walls, where a projector operator, Väinö Vallenius, of only 12 years of age, had carved into the wooden beams “Activities commenced here in 1906, with the screening of the film The Graduate’s Revenge.”
In 1944 the magazine, Kinolehti, wrote about Forssa Living Theatre’s teething troubles: “Sometimes screening was interrupted due to a fly in the ointment, as spectators would say, where in reality a carburettor had broken down. Or then an arc lamp had died due to lack of coal and also lighting fuses had been blown by a sudden surge in current.”
The info point and ticket sales are situated in the tent in Keskuskatu nearby the Elävienkuvien Teatteri. For online sales go to: elavienkuvienteatteri.fi. Tickets are also available in advance from Elävienkuvien Teatteri.