New Plays from Finland
Leea Klemola (born 1965) is a Finnish playwright, actor and director. She graduated from the Helsinki Theatre Academy in 1991 with a major in acting. Later in life she has taught acting in the same facility. Klemola’s works examine shame, the body, sexuality, love, and community. Her plays embrace the messy and raunchy side of human life with her characters that often reflect this unpolished reality of the world and the people within it, blurring the lines between the human and the animal as well as the profane and the sacred. Cross-gender acting is also often seen in her casting choices.
She has received two Jussi Awards (Finland’s highest acting honour), one in 1997 and one in 2013 for her film acting work, as well as a Pro Finlandia medal in 2009 for her directing work in Finnish theatre. In 2005 she was recognized by the Finnish Cultural Foundation for her significant contributions to Finnish theatre as a director and playwright, awarding her the Olavi Veistäjä grant. She is a founding member and the current artistic director of the Sun Theatre (Aurinkoteatteri) in Helsinki where many of her productions were first produced.
Klemola became a household name from her Arctic trilogy (sometimes referred to as Arctic tragedies) plays, the first part of which (Kokkola) premiered in 2004 in Tampere Theatre. Her most recent play (written in collaboration with her brother Klaus Klemola), Arctic Games (Arktiset Leikit), is the fourth and final part of this series. The series focuses on exploring community, violence and masculinity through dark humor. Arctic Games premiered in Tampere Theatre at the end of 2019.