Studio Total is a Helsinki based freelance theater. Its art directors are actor-director Anna Lipponen and lighting designer Petri Tuhkanen. Although Studio Total is based in Helsinki, the group works anywhere in Europe where its performances are seen and made. Studio Total has operated under the name Theater Jalostamo2 until September 2020, which was established in 2012. Since 2018 the group has focused on international collaborations.
Studio Total’s performances are total artworks, produced into special locations, discussing current contemporary issues. The strongest common denominator between the pieces is ambitious artistic work in collaboration with international artists. At the moment Studio Total is producing two new premieres yearly.
Total passion. Total theatre. Total art.
Studio Total is a theatre, but also much more. It is an artistic duo that calls artists to collaborate. It is a continuum. It is an institution that enables 100% artistic effort. Within Studio Total, all decisions are made to advance artistic endeavours – structure is secondary, and it should form according to the needs of each production. Art has intrinsic value for Studio Total.
Studio Total is the aspiration to move forward, it is the vanguard, the journey towards the unknown, a look into the future, a direction towards something comprehensive. It is the JOURNEY.
Although Studio Total is established in Helsinki, as a theatre it is everywhere, where its performances are made and seen. Studio Total collaborates with artists internationally, works on international collaborative works, and is visible internationally both in festivals and other areas.
Studio Total is anything we want it to be. It is a place to make dreams come true, a place of creativity, a place to stop and listen. It is a place to learn, experience and achieve. To have a dream is to have a goal, to work towards something, away from something. Studio Total is where those dreams are made possible. Studio Total is the DREAM.
Studio Total’s art philosophy is universal, but not forgetting our own cultural history and personal thinking. It is a way to increase understanding over national and cultural borders. Equality between all humans is at the base of our work culture and increasing empathy between humans is a core purpose in all our activity.
Studio Total is a THEATRE, but it is not only that. It is to put your heart fully into your work as if you were doing so for the very last time.
The artistic goal of Studio Total is to break boundaries, shatter glass ceilings, pop the bubble. Each artistic process determines what boundaries it wants to break. The boundaries can for example be artistic, practical, utopian, or embedded in the production process. The boundary is crossed with determination, not violence. The boundary is leaving our comfort zone – to aspire towards something new. It is our reason to create art.
Studio Total is a place where it is possible to birth a world that is both real and unreal simultaneously. It is an ARENA, where communication does not stop at borders and boundaries. It is communication holistically, using all senses. It is a place where it is possible to touch another human on a personal level.
The works of Studio Total are not bound by a definite genre, space, language, or culture. Each piece creates these anew. Each piece is created in an ecologically sustainable way.
Each one of Studio Total’s pieces is more than a standalone work of art. The works are part of a larger continuum that forms the theatre’s structure and concept. Each piece also aspires to change the world around us. It is an entity that is the SUM of its parts.
Master of arts (theater and drama), actor (FIA), director
My journey to where I am now began when I was 11 years old. I sat into a theater audience, and decided that I would become an actor. I have always worked as hard as I can to reach my goals. As the years passed, my dream started to become real. When I was young, I ended up dancing in flamenco choreographer Kaari Matin’s group. I became so passionate about flamenco, that when the entrance exams for acting schools drew near, I was faced with a heavy decision. Did I want to act or dance flamenco? I made a huge but intuitive choice that led me to be one of 13 people chosen to study acting at Näty. As an actor, I immediately gained a lot. I had big acting jobs in theater, ranging from lead roles in musicals to drama roles on large stages, while also working in tv and movie productions. I was incredibly lucky to get to learn on such a wide spectrum of my field so fast.
In 2012 the idea of our own theater was born, and so we founded the Jalostamo collective, the ancestor of Studio Total. In addition to acting, I became interested in writing and directing. I decided to pursue an idea that I had had for a while, and began directing my first performance in 2018. After that my way of thinking in theater changed permanently. I found a new third me inside myself. A me, who is capable of exactly the kind of total work that I have always loved about theater.
My journey has always been based on intuition. I want to make brave choices, trust my wings, take risks, push my boundaries and see what I can find. Sometimes it requires running an ultramarathon to find my boundaries while sometimes walking the block with my dogs is enough.
Making my art internationally is a big dream for me. I love leaving my comfort zone. I am not the kind of dreamer who lets themself off the hook easily. My dream is to be constantly on the move, I don’t have a need for permanence. My biggest dream is to realise whatever I happen to dream of.
Theater for me is a place where imagination is made visible. It is a place where only your imagination is the limit. In theater you’re never complete. I love physical expression on stage both as an actor and as a director. I want my pieces to always strive to be total art-works, in which visual expression plays an important role. I love to think of theater as images. As an audience member, I get the biggest kicks out of ingenious concepts. I admit to being a fan of german artistic theater.
Master of arts (theater and drama), lighting designer, set designer
I grew up to travel. I spent my childhood all over the Middle East with my parents who worked there. We lived in Oman, Jordan and Israel. When I was 12 years old, we moved to Finland. I couldn’t define myself as a citizen of a specific nation, I had instead grown up to be a cosmopolite. This has defined my experiences ever since. No roots, a desire to travel and an interest in different cultures have always been important to me.
My journey into becoming an artist has been multifaceted. I have always been gifted and interested in creating things with my hands. This guided me into studying to become a cabinetmaker and working with furniture. Once a friend asked me to build set pieces, and so my journey into the world of theater began. The social working environment in theater spoke to me greatly. At best, performances are not the sole work of one artist, but a sum of their many pieces and makers. In theater we have the chance to create something far greater than what one person could ever make.
My dream as an artist is to stay on the move and to constantly develop my own processes. Studio Total is an important part of this dream and a way to turn a new leaf. A dream of a working environment that is fragile, egalitarian, enabling but also equally demanding, pushing forward and unyielding. An environment where we and the artists collaborating with us can freely enjoy and challenge themselves in the context of theater.
My personal dream is to be closer to nature, quietness and the feeling of being small by the mountains or the open sea. These experiences also form the base and peace for art inside me.
For me theater is a platform for communication. It is a space for imagination and wondering. As an artist in theater I feel I communicate with other individuals with the tools I have gained through experience and education. Together we may achieve something remarkable and inexplicable. It is not an easy connection to form, and most likely will not be established in every piece. Regardless, it is something I always strive to achieve. As a visual designer I have the chance to create worlds for the audience to see and experience. I love the magic of theater. I love the feeling when the line between reality and fantasy is wavering in front of my eyes. Without light there is darkness, and only by bringing light into the space, can something be seen. I am the orchestrator of this wondrous experience and extremely proud and happy about this fact.