Doctor of Arts Reija Hirvikoski has been a professional performance designer since 1979. She studied stage design at the Aalto Arts University Helsinki /Department of Film, Television and Scenography (1979–84), and her doctoral dissertation Tahdon tiellä (Where there’s a Will there’s a Way: the Role and Position of the Scenographer was published by the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University) in 2005.
Known for incorporating video and projection into her work for the stage, Hirvikoski has worked as a freelance stage and costume designer as well as a production designer for film and television. She has played a key role in mounting over one hundred stage productions across Finland, including classics, musicals, dance and circus productions, children’s plays, and new drama, including many world premieres.
Hirvikoski has designed a number of brochures, posters, and exhibitions, and has also designed furniture and office interiors. Her extensive career includes the roles of artistic director, curator, researcher, moderator, peer reviewer, editor, and author of journal articles and books about the theatre.
She is currently a guest lecturer, supervisor, and examiner (BA, MA, and DA students) and non-permanent lecturer at several Finnish universities and vocational schools. Hirvikoski has also taken part in many exhibitions, both Finland and abroad.
Hirvikoski was in the curatorial team and the producer of the Finnish national exhibition for PQ07 (Prague Quadrennial), the curator and producer of the Finnish national exhibition for PQ11 and the chair of WSD2013 (World Stage Design/UK) exhibition curatorial panel and award jury. As part of the official program at PQ15, Hirvikoski hosted a series of professional discussions called Breakfast with Reija.
Hirvikoski has served as chair of OISTAT Performance Design and as a member of OISTAT governing board (2009–2015); she was a founder of the OISTAT Space Design Group. She has also served as president of OISTAT Centre Finland (2005–2015), president of the Trade Union for Theatre and Media Finland, a body with over 4,700 members (2009–2015), and vice president for Theatre for the Arts Council of Finland (now Arts Promotion Centre Finland) (2009–2013).
Reija Hirvikoski was awarded a one-year state artist grant in 2006. In 1987, she won Finland’s premiere film-industry prize, the Jussi award, for visual design for the movie The Snow Queen, the first female designer in her field to do so. In September 2009 she was named, as the first female performance designer in the country, Artist Professor by the Arts Council of Finland, in recognition of her exceptional artistic contributions to the field of theatre.