Monday, October 31, 2011

In Sweden, founder, artistic director of Mooms Theatre for actors with intellectual disabilities, Kjell Stjernholm, moves on to new challenges

From Mooms Theatre press release and information from Kjell Stjernholm. Pictured is a performance directed by Kjell Stjernholm in 2003.

The internationally known Mooms Theatre of Sweden is undergoing a reorganization.

“The founder and artistic director Kjell Stjernholm have after 25 years decided to leave the Mooms Theatre," according to a Mooms Theatre press release. "The new artistic director will be Per Thornqvist, who has worked as a producer, director and scriptwriter of Mooms since 2002. Per Thörnqvist will step in February 2012.

"Manager Suzanne Hedstrom Hellberg stays at the theatre. Kjell Stjernholm will remain at Mooms Theatre in 2012, as director of the show 'I want to be a mother,' in collaboration with the Gothenburg City Theatre," the theatre reports.

Media dis&dat profiled the Mooms Theatre in June 2010.

Stjernholm says he is leaving because he has reached the goals he had for the Theatre.

"To some it may sound strange that I - as I do now - choose to leave a place you love working," he said. "For me it's about reaching my objectives. I always wanted to create a theatre where the actors are the identity, and where social links, as the one to me, is given less importance.

"After 25 years we have a theater where actors with developmental disabilities are working professionally on an equal level with normative colleagues. Where the actors, despite their intellectual disabilities, have received training at the Theatre Academy and gained a special place in Swedish Arts politics.

"Our ensemble has achieved both artistic success and audience appreciation. Equal pay, high standards and personal influence is granted and achieved. Mooms is today an international leader in its niche, something I am extremely proud of. I've reached my goal," Stjernholm said.

"When I started the theater in 1987, I formulated a goal for myself. That I would continue as long as I knew that there were new challenges - artistically and organizationally - in which I and my combination of skills was optimal. The journey was longer than I thought.

"I couldn’t in my wildest imagination anticipate that we would get here, where we are today. When Mooms began to fight for employment with market wages and equality for our actors, I knew I started walking towards my own expiry date. Either we would fail - and the theatre would close. Or we’d succeed - and my final organizational objective would be reached. It was the latter.

"I am extremely pleased that Per is taking over my role and Suzanne decide to stay.It is the best of possible scenarios. Continuity of the staff, continued security of leadership and innovation in the artistic work," he says.

Future artistic director Per Thörnqvist says, "In 2012, I’m celebrating my 10th anniversary as an employee of Mooms. I was hired as producer, but in the last five years, my main activity has been directing and script creation. My curiosity about what is possible to create with my colleagues here at the theatre, will now have free reign and I promise that we will surprise and surprise again. "

Theatre manager Suzanne Hellberg explained, "I was asked by the board and the theater's next artistic director if I could reconsider my earlier decision to leave the theatre at new year. After discussions with the Board and Per Thörnqvist I see it as I accept a new job when Mooms is now entering a new phase. I look forward to being involved in the theatre that builds on a new artistic motivation and ambition. "

Stjernholm says he will now fully focus on directing another groundbreaking project - Mooms co-production with the Gothenburg City Theater (premiered April 20) involving cooperation on equal terms with one of Sweden's most recognized institutional theatres.

His last collaboration will be to work with the Mooms actors on the play "I want to be a mother" by Ann-Sofie Bárány, which will have its last show in Malmo October 2012.