Q&A with Mika Oskarson Kindstrand

26 October 2023 | Journal

1 Mika Oskarson Kindstrand QnA

Mika Oskarson Kindstrand is an actor and assistant director from Sweden. Exposed to both Asian and Western theatre training from an early age, via the World Theatre Project (Sweden, India, Mozambique, China), Mika started performing at the age of 5. Since then she has performed in numerous roles in various theatrical productions at regional and national institutions in Sweden, such as Folkteatern Gävleborg, Hälsinglands Träteater, Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern, Stockholm Stadsteater and Orionteatern. She has also worked as an assistant director in major productions for several prominent Swedish directors, such as Stina Oscarson, Natalie Ringler, Lars Rudolfsson and Peter Oskarson.

Mika has trained in Noh Theatre with the Kita School since 2017 and is a company member of the international theatre ensemble Theatre Nohgaku. In recent years she has performed with various groups around the world, such as Theatre Nohgaku, Theatre of Yugen (USA) and Dairakudakan (Japan).


What were you doing before coming to ITI?

I was working as a director’s assistant at Folkteatern Gävleborg, a regional theatre in Sweden, and freelancing as an actor and producer on the side.


Tell us how you came to know of ITI. What made you choose to come here?

I got to know about the school through a newspaper article featuring Gopalan Venu [Kutiyattam Master who also taught at ITI]. I was living in Japan at that time, training in Noh with Theatre Nohgaku and the Kita school. I had been looking for a longer training programme that wasn’t narrowly focused on Western contemporary acting, and ITI fit the bill.


Think back to your first day here: what were some of your thoughts and emotions then?

I felt very blessed to be here - and nervous!


What is it like to train here at ITI?

It depends on the student. The teachers at ITI are exceptionally good, but the training will be what you make of it. The training at ITI was not as rigorous as I thought, but what one realises is that the real challenge lies in allowing the training to change you from the inside.


Sometimes it’s hard to see your own growth, but when watching the other cohorts you can see clearly how the students transform through their training. It’s beautiful and inspiring.


Any reflections on the experience of working with classmates from different countries?

Of course the intercultural learning environment is rich and fun, but it can also be difficult and even nasty at times. It’s important not to idealise or universalise. Differences matter. What you need to learn as a student at ITI is to admit and respect each other’s otherness. Listening, respect and humbleness become very important features in the actors of ITI. 


What are the most memorable experiences you’ve had at ITI?

I enjoy very much watching our juniors’ presentations. Sometimes it’s hard to see your own growth, but when watching the other cohorts you can see clearly how the students transform through their training. It’s beautiful and inspiring.


What are your plans after graduation?

I’m heading straight to India after graduation to perform my solo Songs From Earth (Final Year Individual Project) at an international theatre festival and then on tour in Kerala. I hope to develop this work and tour Europe next year. I’m also looking forward to perform in Poland with the devised work Travellers, led by Ranice Tay and Ang Gey Pin, as well as with Theatre Nohgaku in Japan in the coming months. But most of all I’m looking forward to work with my father on our translation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.


What would you say to a new student or someone considering joining ITI?

Love the work. Be patient with the training, your colleagues and yourself.


Is there anyone you'd like to thank?

Sasi. All of my teachers and traditional master teachers. Everyone in the office. All of my co-students and alumni, but especially Yolanda, Kewal, Sandeep, Akshay, Kaleem, Will. Gey Pin and Ranice.

Anders Sandrews Stiftelse (Anders Sandrews Foundation in Sweden) for their generous support for my course fees.


2 Mika Oskarson Kindstrand Kutiyattam

3 Mika Oskarson Kindstrand TheChair

4 Mika Oskarson Kindstrand FYiP 

Profile photo and The Chair production shot by Bernie Ng