Supporting creative work by women
This is the second interview in the series spotlighting the finalists for The LPTW Gilder Coigney International Theatre Award in 2011. Hedda Krausz Sjögren has toured with SEVEN since 2008, putting close to 300 politicians and media profiles on stage to portray seven Interview: Hedda Krausz Sjögrenwomen’s rights activists. In 2010 the play was presented in European Parliament in collaboration with Swedish parlamentarian Cecilia Wikström, seven parlamentarians taking on the roles.
WORKS BY WOMEN: What inspired you to become a theater artist? What is your favorite piece you’ve ever seen and why?
HEDDA KRAUSZ SJöGREN: My grandfather would give me ‘vouchers’ every Christmas – ‘a play and dinner with grandpa to be redeemed during the coming year’. One year I think there were six vouchers. So he brought me to the theatre, and to all kinds of different productions, both classic and productions off the beaten track. He brought me to a production of Strindberg’s Gustav Vasa in a theatre in a suburb of Stockholm. We were maybe four persons in the audience, but the actors played like all producers of Broadway were in the audience. It was fantastic. I was maybe 12 then. And he brought me to Unga Klara and artistic director Suzanne Osten’s production of Stanislawa Przybyszewska’s Danton – a very political play that she filled with life and sweat and discussion about ideas. There were two teams, team Robespierre and team Danton, and it was over four hours long. I was maybe 15 then, and it went right into my heart. Theatre is everything that life is, but much more, that is what I was thinking and fell in love….
WBW: You were nominated for the The LPTW Gilder Coigney International Award in 2011. What did that mean to you?
HKS: It meant that I realized that people cared about what I was doing. The work with Seven has gotten attention at Riksteatern and in some non-traditional theatre forums and always by the people who were involved – but to know that people who have not seen my work are interested, curious, and see value in it, is very encouraging indeed.
WBW: How do you create your work? What is your process?
HKS: I want people to meet and and talk. I look for possibiltiies of transboundary – that is when new things happen, when you leave the beaten track, you leave your zone of comfort. But I also believe that we cannot continue putting things in boxes – the world is connected, young people are global and build their identities on sharing – over internet and IRL – and we as artists can’t stay inside a theatre building making art if we went to communicate and be in dialogue with the present.
WBW: What is one thing being a theater artist has taught you? What does working in the theater impart?
HKS: A holistic view of society, based on the fact that as a theatre artist you must employ your body, your intellect, you have to incorporate history, the present, sciences, being introverted and extroverted. It really has taught me to always look for new ways to explore the world and myself.
WBW: What is your dream: for yourself, for theater in general, for the next generation of theater artists?
HKS: I am convinced that theatre, live arts, has a vital role to play in a fragmented but connected society – when Europe is torn apart by lousy economy, fascism and political instability, theatre and arts is a fabric that actually can weave people together. I also would love to see the theatre take a big leap into our time or our future – we need more storytelling apps, more live streamed happenings, more of a lot of things I don’t know what they are yet and what technique to employ. But more ways to share stories and give them meaning and status, in a broader political and societal context.
The LPTW Gilder Coigney International Theatre Award will be given again in 2014. To learn more now, visit the League of Professional Theatre Women website.