How would you describe your current job, and what do you like best about it?
I work as a dramaturg for the Finnish National Theatre, which means a lot of reading, writing, analysing, rehearsing and generally playing with words, and the best thing about it is that it is never monotonous. Every creative team is different, every director is very individual, every production a new experience.
What was your first ever job?
The first real job I remember was working in a driving school as a receptionist, taking bookings, to earn a bit of money while I studied. It was interesting meeting people from all walks of life – almost everyone learns to drive, even me, which is how I got the job in the first place. Ironically, since then I’ve never driven.
What was the contact/opportunity/job offer which you feel has made the most difference to your career?
The most influential person in my career has been my Finnish literature teacher at university, Maria-Liisa Nevala, who was so passionate about the authors she presented that she inspired me to do post-grad work, focusing on drama. Later she became head of the Finnish National Theatre and hired me initially as her part-time literary assistant. She retired a few years ago but I’s still there!
What was the opportunity you missed or wish you’d taken?
I don’t think I regret any missed job opportunities, but I regret not having learned Polish from my father when I was young, and he was still living. My mother was Indian so he didn’t speak Polish at home, but I always loved Polish culture. I tried learning it later when I was pregnant with my second child, and got on quite well, but after giving birth I couldn’t remember anything I’d learned over the previous nine months, so it must have all gone straight into the placenta. Perhaps my daughter will have an affinity for it.
What do you enjoy about working in the theatre sector?
I enjoy working in theatre because I like the impermanence of the art form, and the way it is a constantly changing process. And I like plays, especially all that stuff that lies between the lines.
Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
Any number of Finnish women playwrights, because they have developed and maintained a strong tradition of female voices in theatre for the last hundred years, keeping women in the mainstream of Finnish culture both as characters and as a creative force.