Ritva Siikala

Author of Zambezi with Bengt Ahlfors

Ritva Siikala is a Finnish theatre director. She studied at the Theatre Academy Helsinki as well as theatre, woman’s, and religious studies at University of Helsinki. Siikala has directed several plays in the Nordic countries, mostly classics such as plays by Tšehov, Ibsen, Strindberg, Lorca, Miller, O’Neill and Canth. She has also worked as a pedagogue in theatre schools.

1988 she founded Teatteri Raivoisat Ruusut (The Raging Roses Theatre), a theatre group where women played all the parts in western classics. As part of Helsinki’s year as a European Capital of Culture 2000 Raivoisat Ruusut carried out a multicultural project that led Siikala to found the Kassandra International Art Center in 2002. Kassandra brings together artists from different cultural backgrounds, works with schoolchildren and women, produces peformances and cultural events. Siikala’s aim is to build a culturally rich, open-minded and dynamic Finland.

Ritva Siikala has been awarded with the Pro Finlandia medal and several prizes for her achievements in the theatre and in the field of cultural diversity. Her fictitious autobiography Rauhoitu nyt vihdoinkin (Calm down now, for goodness sake) was published in 2004.

As well as being executive director for Kassandra, she has continued her work with theatre. Her play Aina jonkun tytär (Always someone’s daughter) from 2004 awoke a lot of attention and discussion. Other plays she has directed includes Sateenkaari (Rainbow) in 2000 and Sofokles’ Antigone in 2011.