Our Story

2022

Puppets Anonymous

On October 29th 2022 we premiered the second episode of Puppets Anonymous!! Join us for stories about amazing puppet characters all searching for their one true love. Join us if you ever had your heart broken and ever truly loved!!!

The Vaudeville Valley Troupe consists of actors with intellectual disabilities. All the stories and puppets were created by the actors!

October

Together in September Banner

On September 28th 2022 we co created the event with Founders Center "Together in September." This event began with the unveiling of a banner that was created by a local middle school in Koreatown. The students that created the banner expressed what they loved in their life and their hopes for the future. Also during the event was our live puppet show and a storytelling cafe where the audience shared stories with one another and formed new connections over coffee and light refreshments. Through these art and culture events people did come together in september!!

Vaudeville Valley Troupe

During the month of September the Vaudeville Valley Troupe performed their live show "Puppets Anonymous" in senior facilities throughout Los Angeles. We performed at the Veterans home in West Los Angeles as well as all three of St. Barnabas senior facilities. "Puppet's Anonymous" was created and performed by those with intellectual disabilities. Everyone had a great time and we can't wait to come back to these centers soon!

September

Golden Rope of Hope

As part of The Strindberg Laboratory's transforming spaces through art and theater we have created and performed “The Golden Rope of Hope” a participatory theater game. We performed this game at multiple spaces throughout Los Angeles including Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles Mission and Pico Union Project. These spaces serve people who are food insecure, homeless and other marginalized communities. The purpose of this game was to form stronger community ties and have people once again take collective actions amongst each other. Video By Eric Ragan

Puppets Anonymous!

Welcome to the first episode of Puppets Anonymous created by The Strindberg Laboratory's Vaudeville Valley Troupe!! TSL’s Vaudeville Valley Troupe consists of people who have disabilities. The performances were created during the pandemic through zoom and meeting in outside spaces. Each episode was created by the imaginations of the actors and deal with magical creatures love problems, alien abductions and much more using puppet theater. Enjoy!

2021

TSL Launch Party featuring Nicole

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating the achievements of the amazing people that create our amazing productions. This video features Nicole Abbink! Nicole co-directed "Destiny Is the Journey" which featured actors from The Los Angeles Mission and was part of the Break It to Make It program. Hope you enjoy!

September

The Getting to Know You Game!

Throughout the month of September 2021, we created and played "The Getting To Know You Game." This game was developed during the pandemic and uses participatory theater to allow people to practice active listening and connect with one another post covid. We performed this piece on the street where people were starting to gather at Los Angeles landmarks such as Griffith Park, Hollywood and Highland, Santa Monica Pier and other locations throughout Los Angeles.

Hope for Justice!

During the pandemic we created a collective artwork that expressed our desire for a better future once the pandemic ends. We created this piece with our company members who come from diverse backgrounds. This piece was created for the No Labels No Walls Digital Festival-Creating Action Together on August 25th and 26th. One of the festival’s events is "Justice and Art" where we will be collecting art, poetry and other artistic expressions and creating from those materials a singular digital art work that we can share around the world. Here is our contribution!

July

TSL Launch Party featuring Tiara

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating our actors who have helped to create our many productions. Here is a video featuring company member Tiara Gildon who was a participant of our program at The Los Angeles Mission. This video features interviews and artistic work created by Tiara during her participation of the stage production of 'Free Yo Mind' that was performed at Los Angeles City College as part of the Freedom Festival.

July

Strindberg’s Launch Party

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating our actors who have helped to create our many productions. Here is a video featuring company member Marshall May. This video is all about Marshall and tells his amazing journey creating many productions with us and features interviews and artistic work that Marshall has created during the seven-year history that he has been associated with TSL.

June
June
Online Workshops with

Online Workshops with Los Angeles Mission

At the beginning of the pandemic, we had to switch our in-person theater workshops at Los Angeles Mission to online. Here is a video documentation of our theater classes that we conducted online with students from The Los Angeles Mission. We conducted a series of 15, two-hour sessions, at the LA Mission between August 25th and November 19th 2020. The class was then halted due to the pandemic. Thanks so much for everyone who participated and helped to make these workshops possible!

Meet Tue Huynh!

All Things Tue Huynh!

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating our actors who have helped to create our many productions. Here is the video featuring company member Tue Huynh! Tue performed in our shows while incarcerated in Lancaster Prison. He was in shows Redemption in Our State of Blues and Fathers and Sons. He is currently involved in our work in the community and has created a series of YouTube videos entitled “Fear for Breakfast.”

June

An Evening with Dominique Beltran

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating our actors who have helped to create our many productions. Here is the video from “The Strindberg Laboratory’s” launch party with company member Dominique Beltran who first started with us in 2015 with our workshops at Fact Family which serves young autistic adults. Since then, Dominique has acted in many productions with us. During this video we celebrate Dominique with special guest appearances by Batman, Darth Vader, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George W Bush, Al Gore and many other surprises!!

May
April
Meet Company Member

Christopher Simpson

During the pandemic we created a series of videos profiling and celebrating our actors who have helped to create our many productions. On April 2021 we created this video all about company member Christopher Simpson-The Singer, The Star, The Mayor of TSL. Chris first began with TSL in 2015 during our program at the Union Rescue Mission that resulted in our original production “The Birds” based on Aristophanes famous play. This video features interviews and footage from Chris's work with TSL!

2020

Mystery Theatre Horror Show

The Strindberg Laboratory is pleased to present with our Vaudeville Valley Troupe: Mystery Horror Theatre Show! This short film was created during the pandemic on zoom and in outside spaces and features actors that have disabilities. This short film is inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show as it is one of the favorite movies of our actors that performed in the film. If you thought Rocky Horror Picture Show was crazy you haven’t seen anything yet. Be ready to be blown away!!! This short film premiered at the No Labels No Walls festival on September 19th 2020. Created by the Vaudeville Valley Troupe, composed of actors on the autism spectrum.

September

We Are The Strindberg Laboratory

"We Are The Strindberg Laboratory" is a feature documentary that chronicles our theater groups productions, events and the fantastic people we got to create with along the way. This documentary will tell the story of a theater company evolving as we reach into diverse communities and create theater with them and what we learned along the way.

September
September
Here we go again!

Art. Culture. Action.

From September 14th–19th, 2020 the second No Labels No Walls festival will take place in conjunction with Citizenfest and the We Are One Network. This festival will take place virtually and involve people and organizations from Finland, USA, Scotland and other European countries. This festival will connect through art and culture diverse people throughout the world so we can start creating a future that is brighter for everyone! We have more in common than what separates us! So please email, call or write to us on how you want to contribute to this important event. We can't do it alone and we need all of you to create a stronger future together!

NLNW Festival

From September 14th–19th, 2020 the second No Labels No Walls festival took place in conjunction with Citizenfest and the We Are One Network and The Strindberg Laboratory. This festival’s aim is to unite diverse populations using art and culture. We hope to learn about many organizations and their work practicing art and theater with diverse populations throughout the world. This festival took place virtually and involved people and organizations from Finland, USA, Scotland and other European countries. The festival had over 100 events from people and organizations residing in 13 different countries and with thousands joining in from around the world. Thanks to everyone who attended and participated. Join us as we continue to create together a more connected future. Video by Eric Ragan

Another SMA Workshop

Latino Equity Alliance

On April 10th at the beginning of Covid we conducted an online shared art workshop with Latino Equity Alliance. We had so much fun singing, drawing and coming together in these unique times. Our goal of the workshop was to get people connecting to one another even if we can’t meet in person. We can't wait to continue sharing with others and building a better and brighter future for all!

April
FROM THE SENIOR FAIRFAX CENTER

Senior Fairfax Center

What a great experience we had at the Fairfax Senior Center creating stronger communities through art and culture. During the workshop that consisted of members of the senior community our actors dressed up as Dark Vader and Macbeth and we created art work with the participants dealing with themes of belonging and their vision of a better future.

February
FROM THE LOS ANGELES MISSION

Holiday Miracles

Through The Strindberg Laboratory’s theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission, we have created scenes that are all about celebrating the togetherness of the holiday season with the mission’s residents. The scenes show how with the right spirit unlikely persons can connect despite all odds to make their lives and the world a better place.

Created for the No Labels, No Walls Festival

December

2019

Created for the No Labels, No Walls Festival

Macbeth: A Tale of the Conqueror and the Conquered

From our work in Los Angeles’s prisons and skid row we have developed Macbeth: A tale of the conqueror and the conquered! This original take on the classic tale of Macbeth hopes to raise awareness of the consequences of lust for power and ambition on society. The production uses visual theater techniques such as shadow, theater, animation and puppetry to tell this tale and make its message accessible for any audience despite language barriers.
This production was part of the No Labels, No Walls Festival and the performances took place in Finland!

September
January
With Kukunori we established

No Labels No Walls Movement

In 2018 we formed with Kukunori, a Finnish association dedicated to mental wellness, The No Labels No Walls movement and festival.
Art. Culture. Action. Happens when there are no labels, no walls! We know that separation is never equal and integration, especially among marginalized community members, is difficult. That is why we have brought together diverse organizations and individuals to form the No Labels, No Walls movement and festival. During the festival we had over 50 events that featured artists and organizations transforming their communities using art! Join us!

2018

December
Through our theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission we have created

Miracle in Skid Row

Through The Strindberg Laboratory's theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission we have created scenes that are all about Christmas. The scenes show the holiday spirit between sons, fathers, grandfather's and friends. These stories are touching and funny and come from the imaginations of the actors from the program. Watch video about this workshop that shows the importance of the program for both the actors and those who came to see it

For LA Mission Workshop

Miracle in Skid Row

Through The Strindberg Laboratory's theater workshops with the Los Angeles Mission we have created scenes that are all about Christmas. The scenes will show the holiday spirit between sons, fathers, grandfather's and friends. These stories are touching and funny and come from the imaginations of the actors from the program. Please join us for this original holiday celebration.

When: Monday December 10th, 6:30pm
Where: The Los Angeles Mission Spanish Chapel 303 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

This is a free event

December
December
From our theater workshops with F.A.C.T. Family we created

Toons Gone Rogue

Toons Gone Rogue was a variety show for the holidays, created from Strindberg Laboratory’s theater workshops with F.A.C.T. Family. Our amazing cast celebrated all things Disney in this wild variety show that comes from the imaginations of our actors.

Strindberg Laboratory and F.A.C.T. Family presents

Toons Gone Rogue

Through The Strindberg Laboratory's theater workshops with F.A.C.T. Family we have created Toons Gone Rogue, a variety show for the holidays. Come see our amazing cast celebrate all things Disney in this wild variety show that comes from the imaginations of our actors.

Saturday December 8th 2:00pm

Blue Door Theater 9617 Venice Blvd, Culver City CA 90232

December
June
With actors from the Los Angeles Mission and LACC through the Break It to Make It Program we created

The Destiny is The Journey

"The Destiny Is The Journey" was an original play created by actors from the Los Angeles Mission and Los Angeles City College through the Break it To Make it Program. The play takes you on a voyage through the eyes of a troubled soldier who journeys through the desert and jungle after a fierce battle in order to meet the man in the mountains who can set him free. Thanks to all those that came out to the show and participated in the production!

A workshop for F.A.C.T. culminated in a production called

Murder Mystery Mayhem & Most Talented

The most recent TSL workshop for F.A.C.T. culminated in a production in February 2018, called “Murder Mystery Mayhem & Most Talented.” In a series of short pieces created by the participants that spanned a love murder mystery to making it in Hollywood, the common theme was breaking down stereotypical stigmas, which has great resonance in the lives of our participants.

February

2017

Certificates of Recognition

September
September
Working with actors from the Los Angeles Mission we created

Free Yo’ Mind

Free Yo' Mind was part of The Break it to Make It program's "Freedom Festival" at Los Angeles City College. The actors were participants of workshops with The Los Angeles Mission. All of the actors who participated in the production received two transferable college credits. The play was about people who are striving to overcome their trials and tribulations by using the advice and wisdom of Martin Luther King's "What Is In Your Life's Blueprint" speech to help them find their way to a brighter and more just future.

September
Los Angeles City and Break It to Make It, with support from the State of California led by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, put on

Freedom Festival

The Freedom Festival celebrated freedom for everyone, including those coming home from correctional facilities. The event showcased a wide variety of art, performances and speeches as well as booths with information on housing and educational and employment opportunities.

With California Arts Council and Los Angeles City College we produced

California Dreaming

“California Dreaming” was part of Strindberg Laboratory’s “Demonstration project” through California Arts Council’s “Prison Project” with people who are about to be released back into society. The play was formed from the dreams of our students about their family, relationships and their desire for a positive change. The play’s story centers on a lost soul who winds up in a magical train station where he is whisked away by a wise man who shows him how to build a better future through songs, scenes, dance, and poetry.

June
We created with student from the prisons

Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons" performed on the B yard in California State Prison of Los Angeles County in March of 2017. The play consisted of original and scripted material dealing with the relationships between fathers and sons. The families of our students who were incarcerated were allowed to have their family members attend the performances

March

2016

One Dream Away

The play is written and performed by persons with one to two year release dates in the B yard in California State Prison of Los Angeles County. The play is about their dreams and fears for the future and consists of eight original scenes with raps, songs, and poems. The scenes ask the question; Can I dream big enough to change my life and am I able to conquer my fears and fulfill my dreams?

Media Piece from USC Annenberg of School of Journalism

with support from the California Arts Council’s Prison Project, we created

Three Original Shows with Students from the Prisons

In 2016 and 2017, with support from the California Arts Council’s Prison Project, we created three original shows with students from the prisons. Our workshop is now a college course and all of our students receive two transferable college credits through Los Angeles City College.

We partnered with Los Angeles City College (LACC) and Los Angeles Mission (LAM) and we helped create

Break It to Make It

In 2016, after seeing students in the jails being released and coming right back to jail, and working in prisons where some of our students never got out, we decided to build a great reentry program. The people that had been successful in our Jails to Jobs program all had three things in common; they were enrolled in college, had stable housing, and they had jobs.

With this in mind we partnered, with Los Angeles City College (LACC) and Los Angeles Mission (LAM) and we created Break It To Make It. This program offers people who have criminal backgrounds a foundation at Los Angeles Mission, and opportunity to achieve their higher educational goals through Los Angeles City College. Led by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson), the State of California granted the funding to launch Break it to Make it, and the program began in January 2017. All our students are eligible for this program. We have an ongoing theater workshop at LAM so students can continue their artistic endeavors.

The FACT students created

Daroca’s Curious Journey

With support from Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Meri Pakarinen, our Jails to Jobs program participants, and the FACT students created Daroca’s Curious Journey, which was performed in multiple venues in April, 2016. This was an important event, as people with criminal backgrounds have rarely been able to work within the autistic community due to requirements for background checks.

April

Jesus 911

Another Jails to Jobs production with our BITMI partners at the Los Angeles Mission about people who have faced adversity in their lives trying to seek help and be saved. The play captured the diversity and hope of people who have faced the impossible and their desire to turn their lives around.

We partnered FACT for our “Jails to Jobs” program

Our first nonprofit partner with our “Jails to Jobs” program was FACT (Family, Adult & Child Therapies) a nonprofit that provides quality care to children, adults, couples and families managing a large range of diagnoses.

2015

We received a

Certificate of Recognition from Governor Jerry Brown

November
From this workshop, we created

Redemption in Our State of Blues

Redemption In Our State of Blues is written and performed by the drama class from the B-yard at the California State Prison in Lancaster. The play is about redemption, love, community, and hope. It consists of eleven original scenes with raps, songs, and poems. The stories ask the question; "Are there second chances?" and "How do you grasp them in time with life’s challenges?"

We were

Awarded a Contract with the California Arts Council’s Prison Project

In 2015 Strindberg Laboratory was awarded a contract with the California Arts Council’s Prison Project and started working in California State Prison of Los Angeles County. The prison is a level 4 institution that had had very little programming, and the students on the yard we worked in had long sentences.

July
We created and performed

The Birds

In July 2015, we created and performed an adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Birds with Jails to Jobs program members along with actors from The Union Rescue Mission.

"The Birds" is an adaptation of Aristophanes "The Birds" written 2500 years ago. "The Birds" is an anarchic, musical satire about finding freedom, getting back one’s faith and self-confidence and most of all how absolute power corrupts absolutely. This adaptation through original raps and songs brings a vision of what could happen if people from the fringes of society take over and come into power!

We were featured in

People Magazine

We created the program

Jails to Jobs

The performers of Hustlin wanted to continue making plays with us but needed income. This led to the creation of our Jails to Jobs program in 2015. Through this program, our students who were leaving correctional facilities were employed teaching theater workshops to Los Angeles community providers, along with creating and performing original shows. Ongoing training and rehearsals for our Jails to Jobs program took place at the Vortex in downtown Los Angeles.

2014

Inmates from the K6G unit Created and Performed

Love is a Battlefield

Love is a battlefield was performed in 2014 at Men's Central Jail. It was created and performed by inmates from the K6G unit in the jail. The play explored many different types of loves, through songs, poetry, and scenes. The play was a testament to the fact that despite adversity and tribulations love conquers all.

November
From the Councilmember Jose Huizar and Mayor Eric Garcetti we received

Certificates of Recognition

August
Hustin was featured in

The LA Times

August
Working with our students at the Volunteers of America, we created

Hustlin

Developed at Skid Row, the play consists of 8 scenes based on real life experiences of the actors with freestyle raps connecting all of the scenes to produce an entertaining and enlightening audience experience. The audience gets a close-up look at the ups and downs of hustlers, pimps, prostitutes, corrupt ministers and ex-cons trying to survive in a world where the game is stacked against them.

We began

Theater Workshops at the Volunteers of America (VOA) on Skid Row

Due to the success of the Men’s Central Jail workshops, students wanted to continue working with us after being released. To answer that desire, in 2014 we began theater workshops at the Volunteers of America (VOA) on skid row where many of our students went to live after release from jail.

2013

We Began

Transformative Theater Workshops at Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail

In the K6G unit that houses gay and transgender men. This workshop has continued at the Jails and now we are also in CRDF Jail through Five Keys Charter School.

2007 – 2011

Miss Julie

The Beginning

Meri Pakarinen co founder and artistic director of the Strindberg Laboratory began the theater company in 2011 with the production of Miss Julie that was performed in Helsinki Finland. In the subsequent years original one person shows about famous artists like Helene Schjerfbeck, Elli Tompuri, Jane Avril, Toulouse Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh were created and performed in the United States and Finland. View some of our videos and pictures from some of our older productions!!