Marie Richardson Biography

Marie Richardson grew up in Ljusdal in the Swedish province of Hälsingland, about 350 km northwest of the capital Stockholm. Ljusdal is a small town of a few thousand inhabitants and is mainly surrounded by forestland. In order to visit a professional theatre, one would have to go to one of the surrounding towns at least 50 km away. Marie's first experience with the theatre was aged seven, when she played the role of a nasty doctor in a school comedy. In an interview with Aftonbladet in 2002 she recalls, "My interest in the theatre came into existence at a very early age. I tried it for the first time at an end-of-term celebration when I was seven years old. Then I felt it in my entire body. Usually I was shy and a little uncomfortable, but the theatre filled me with an immense power. I felt I was in control and the audience laughed. I remember the focus in the room. It was quiet and then laughter. A very special feeling which I hadn't experienced earlier." [1] During elementary school her experience with theatre was sporadic, and it wasn't until high school she managed to become acquainted with acting on a more regular basis.

THE THEATRE
After her high school graduation Marie Richardson managed to get accepted on the one-year course at Skara Skolscen in Västergötland, a drama school accepting around 25 students nationwide each year with the aim of providing a basic training in subjects such as stage performance, movement, speech, dance, fencing, history of theatre and culture and preparing their students for later admittance to the national drama schools. Former drama students at Skara Skolscen include writer Henning Mankell, actors Peter Andersson, Noomi Rapace, Allan Svensson, Rikard Wolff and Pia Johansson. Johansson was Richardson's classmate during their year at Skara Skolscen 1979-80 and together with Wolff the three performed during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the drama school in 2012. "At Skara I took my first steps into the grown-up world. It was an extremely significant year both professionally and socially" Marie told a journalist.
Childhood quote
"I doubt I would have been accepted at the National School of Drama if I hadn't spent a year at Skara first, understanding of how much cooperation is required in this profession. We lived for the theatre around the clock and didn't think it was enough with lessons from nine to five. So we made our own production of Little Red Riding Hood, which we toured with on weekends." [2] [3] [4]

After Skara, Marie moved to Gothenburg where she worked as a dresser at the Stadsteater (Gothenburg City Theatre), at the same time as she worked with various theatre groups and applied at drama schools both in Gothenburg and Malmö, before she was accepted at Scenskolan, the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Stockholm, where she was a student from 1982 until 1985 along with her friend from Skara, Pia Johansson, with whom she also shared a flat at Södermalm. What was popularly known as Scenskolan has its roots from the Drama School of the Royal Dramatic Theatre founded by King Gustav III in 1787 and is rich in tradition. Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson all graduated from this school. It later changed its name to Teaterhögskolan, Swedish National Academy of Dramatic Arts, and was situated at Filmstaden in the northern outskirts of Stockholm, where the old film studios used to be located during the first half of the 20th century. In the mid 1970s the school moved to the southern neighbourhood Södermalm. Former students include actors Lena Olin (1979), Peter Stormare (1981), Pernilla August (1982), Lena Endre (1986), Jakob Eklund (1987) and Helena Bergström (1988). From 2011 the name has been Stockholms Dramatiska Högskola, Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, which offers a three years bachelor program within film, radio, television and theatre. Today, professors include actors Stina Ekblad and Krister Henriksson. [5] [6]
Scenskolan Stockholm 1985 teaterhögskolan

Photo courtesy of Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts.

In the photo on the left is the class of 1985 at Scenskolan. Squatting, left to right: Anna-Carin Franzén and Per Svensson. Standing: Staffan Lindberg, Anders Palm, Margareta Rylander, Anna Barlind, Kim Wesén, Jan Halling and Katarina Weidhagen. In tree: Pia Johansson and Marie Richardson.
Of these class mates, Pia Johansson has been a member of the permanent ensemble at Stockholm City Theatre since her graduation, played 50+ roles there and in addition to this also about 30 roles on film and television. Anders Palm is an actor, writer and director, Katarina Weidhagen has played roles on both film, television and the theatre, and Staffan Lindberg is a writer, director and producer.

After graduation Marie Richardson was offered a permanent position at Dramaten, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, in Stockholm, where she is still employed and has performed in around forty productions since then in Stockholm and on tour both in Sweden and abroad. Richardson's dramatic span is wide, covering anything from Euripides, Molière, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg, Albee and musicals to Pinter, Fosse, Lorca, Enquist, Norén and recently a brand new play by Norwegian playwright Arne Lygre.

At Dramaten she has worked with director Ingmar Bergman in seven plays from 1985-93, including Mishima's Madam de Sade, Ibsen's A Dolls House, Strindberg's Miss Julie and Botho Strauss' Time and the Room, and with many other directors such as Thommy Berggren (The Homecoming, 1993), Hans Klinga (The Taming of the Shrew, 1997) Danish director Peter Langdal (The Cherry Orchard, 1997), Karl Dunér (Platonov, 2005, and I Disappear, 2013), Mats Ek (in another production of The Cherry Orchard, 2010) and Gösta Ekman (The Miser, 2009). During the last few years she has taken a couple of leave of absence periods from Dramaten, performing at Stockholm City Theatre (Stockholms Stadsteater), Aarhus Theatre and Chinateatern, succeeded by periods back at Dramaten.

At Stockholm City Theatre Marie Richardson has performed in seven plays since 2007, including the main character Manuela in the stage adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar's film All About My Mother. In 2013 she played Siri von Essen in P.O. Enquist's Night of the Tribades and Katarina in Norén's Demons, and in the spring of 2014 she plays the titel role in George Bernard Shaw's Candida, also at Stockholm City Theatre. In 2011 Richardson played Queen Gertrude in a modern, unconventional production of Hamlet at Aarhus Theatre in Denmark, joining two other Swedes, Jonas Karlsson, who played Hamlet, and Stefan Larsson, who directed, in an otherwise Danish cast. In 2012 Richardson performed in a musical again, playing Marjorie Houseman in the stage adaptation of Dirty Dancing. A leave of absence agreement allows this mobility between theatres, as well as the periods during which actors are part of a television or film production.[7] [8]

FILM
(To follow soon)

TELEVISION
(To follow soon)

WALK OF FAME
Trollhättan ("Trollywood") has been the basis for studio recordings for around 350 Swedish and foreign feature films since 1997. On the main street Storgatan in Trollhättan is a Walk of Fame with stars for 17 of the most renowned actors shooting films in the Film i Väst Studios. Marie Richardson’s star was among the original 12 stars from the inauguration in 2004 and is in the company of actors such as Rolf Lassgård, Pernilla August, Mikael Persbrandt, Stellan Skarsgård, Lauren Bacall and Nicole Kidman.

GOODWILL WORK
(To follow soon)

Trollhättan Walk of Fame Marie Richardson

Courtesy of photographer Jonas Bergenfeldt, 2014.

SOURCES
[1] Aftonbladet
[2] Skara Skolscen, Wikipedia
[3] Skara Skolscen website
[4] Skövde Nyheter
[5] National Academy of Dramatic Arts (Wikipedia)
[6] Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts
[7] Dramaten
[8] Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Conversation with Marie Richardson in Stockholm on October 25th 2013.