Direct to content
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Embassy of Finland, London: News & Current Affairs


38 Chesham Place
London SW1X 8HW
Tel. +44-20-7838 6200
English | Suomi | Svenska |  | 
News, 02/03/2012

Sofi Oksanen's Purge shows on London stage until 24th March

“[T]his is strong, gut-wrenching stuff: effectively communicated by talented actors and harrowing use of film.”  -Time Out

Recognised as a potential Nobel prize-winner by the Swedish press, Sofi Oksanen reveals the fallout from the Soviet occupation of Estonia and the country’s independence in 1991 with this thrilling story of suspicion, secrets, betrayal and atonement.

A startling play and a best-selling novel Purge is the story of two women, Zara and Aliide, each from different generations, each troubled by a shameful past, and the dark unspoken history that binds them.

Narrated through multiple story lines, Purge moves back and forth across time in a powerful drama that offers an unflinching exploration of the loss of freedom and the bitter price of survival.

Purge was translated into English by Eva Buchwald.Originally written for and performed at the National Theatre of Finland, Oksanen transformed Purge from a play into a novel, which then became an international best-seller. Translated into over 38 languages, it was published in English in 2010 and was the Sunday Times Book of the Year.

After the opening night the play continues to be recognized in the British media for it's powerful stage production. For instance, A Younger Theatre review gave the play impressive four stars out of five, and  in The Guardian and Time Out Magazine it earned three stars out of five.

With a Finnish father and an Estonian mother, Oksanen’s work has found a large audience throughout Europe. Her novel Purge has many avid readers and has won her numerous literary awards. The play has proved no less popular and the coming months will see twelve separate theatre productions of Purge open across Europe. Director Elgiva Field’s production at the Arcola marks the first time that the play has been seen in the UK.

Borealis Theatre brings the British premiere of Purge to London’s Arcola Theatre, whose history of presenting cutting edge writing from around the world makes it the ideal home for the play’s UK theatre debut.

The producers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Finnish and Estonian Embassies in this production of Purge, who say “This is a very exciting production for us; bringing one of Finland’s great playwrights and the country of Estonia to the UK stage”.

Press night on 24th February coincided with Estonian Independence day, which was celebrated on this day until the Soviet occupation in 1940. Following the restoration of the country’s independence, the 24th became a public holiday.

Purge at Arcola Theatre: 

22 February - 24 March 2012 at 8.00pm
Sat matinees - 3, 10, 17 and 24 March at 3pm
Further information: 
Arcola Theatre London

Read reviews online:

Print this page

This document

Updated 21/03/2012

© Embassy of Finland, London | About this site | Contact information