New Plays from Finland
Laura Ruohonen (born 1960) is a director, playwright and dramaturg who graduated from the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 1997. In addition to her M.A. in theatre, she has studied literature and biology in the University of Helsinki as well as scriptwriting for television and film at the Los Angeles Film Institute.
She has worked as a professor of dramaturgy at the Helsinki Theatre Academy but is currently primarily working as a freelancer writing and directing various types of plays, children’s poetry and scripts for television and the big screen. Ruohonen’s works are some of Finland’s most translated and staged texts internationally, one example being her play An Island Far from Here (Saari kaukana täältä, 2003) which premiered in London.
Ruohonen’s texts manage to create and contain their own worlds through the combination of humour, poetry, tragedy and down-to-earthness. Her characters’ inner and outer lives reflect one another, occasionally blending into one another. This is why her texts are multidimensional, as they provide readers and viewers the possibility for multiple interpretations. At the heart of these worlds and characters lies a strong ethical message. Her most famous play both nationally and internationally is called Olga (1995), which is a tale about the relationship between a young thief and an older woman.
Ruohonen has received multiple awards such as the Minna Canth Award in 2008, the Pro Finlandia medal in 2010, and the Heikki A. Reenpää Recognition Award in 2019. Her most recent work is a children’s illustrated poetry book named Otus Opus written in collaboration with Erika Kallasmaa published in 2020.