Latvala, Johanna

Visualizer, builder, director

Johanna Latvala  is an artist and art educator whose magnetic north pole lies somewhere between puppet theatre, visual arts and performing arts. She graduated from Turku Arts Academy puppetry line of studies in 2013 after having worked in the field since 2006. Especially impossible tasks get her to light up.

As a puppeteer Latvala has specialized in set design. She has made the sets for over 20 shows –in addition to puppet theatre to people theatre, mask theatre, clowning and promenade performances. She has vast experience from different parts of set design: both small and big stages, building and drawing designs as well as taking sets on tour. In the future years she’s also planning on directing more. An important part of her work are performances created around meetings, such as the interactive love potion shop Lemmentauti, in which love is discussed with the customers, and Kehto Experimance, which takes the viewer around in a giant stroller.

Besides puppet theatre Latvala has studied art education at the University of Lapland with a minor in expressive art therapy. She has designed and directed several workshops with art therapeutic elements for example for people with eating disorders.

In the future Latvala wants to direct and stage as many different performances as possible, to decorate events and venues (for example techno clubs), make masks, direct workshops, write about puppetry and continue to planning experiential performance concepts. Building the sets she has noticed that she especially likes creating unique furniture, so she will gladly make them as well for example for a present.

The lives and life stories of different people interest Latvala. In puppetry she is especially intrigued by how naturally a puppet show can include several different and even conflicting plots –some on an event level, some through the materials and the power relations between them.

– Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psykoosi (TEHDAS Teatteri, 2015): Latvala’s first full length directing job and at the same time the first puppet rendition of Kane’s famous play.

– Staging Merja Pöyhönen’s Shakespeare –puppet shows Romeo & Julia (AofP & TEHDAS Teatteri, 2015) and Myrsky (AofP & TEHDAS Teatteri, 2013)

– Anna Karenina (Turku City Theatre, 2010): Latvala worked as a set assistant in Andriy Zholdak’s major production.

– Kehto Experimance – experiential city artwork, in which the viewer is transported in a giant stroller. Premiered in 2012 the performance has visited among other places Kiasma, Porin Art Museum and Helsinki City Museum.

– The Invisible Hand – Finnish Puppet Theatre -exhibition (Teatterimuseo, 2009). Midwinter’s dream –puppet show (Sixfingers Theatre, Teatteri Sudenenne and Turku City Theatre, 2007)

– 7 sooloa! –international solo puppet theatre festival (Rovaniemi, 2006–2010): Latvala organized the festival together with Leila Peltonen and Lappi puppet theatre association.