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Magical storytellers Leif and Inger Stinnerbom live in a beautiful estate in the middle of Fryksdalen in Värmland. The house can be dated back to the 1500’s and is a meeting place for many cultural personalities, actors and musicians. At their kitchen table, most things are discussed.
TEXT: ÅSA JERNFÄLT PHOTO: BENJAMIN GOSS
The folk music was what brought them together and they spent time in musician circles. Leif played the violin, and Inger danced and sung. Time passed and they moved to Göteborg, where Leif studied. And in Göteborg, their son Magnus was born. But they wanted to come back to Värmland and to the folk music.
– I grew up with this music, and people always played at home. Music was easy to me. It was very undramatic and simple, says Magnus.
He went to the municipal music school and played in his own bands. At the upper secondary school in Karlstad, he met Sophia for the first time. They became good friends and were a couple on and off.
When Magnus got the chance of recording a demo together with a friend, it resulted in a record deal. That was his springboard out in the world.
Sophia continued to study folk music on a higher level, and Magnus played with the famous folk music rockers Hedningarna. He got to experience a life on the road with world tours and had to get used to being a celebrity all of sudden.
During this time, Leif and Inger were involved in the Västanå Theatre, in that time located in Ransäter. Leif was an artistic leader and Inger a costume assistant. Västanå soon became famous for its peculiar storytelling, the beautiful costumes and the particular music.
Not until they moved the theatre to the Berättarladan in Sunne, they were really noticed. What would be Sweden’s biggest summer theatre began to grow. Under Leif’s direction, several of Selma Lagerlöf’s stories and Shakespeare’s classics were produced. In the summer of 2012, Västanå Theatre will set up Molière’s The Misanthrope.
– I haven’t really decided what I want with the costumes yet, Inger says. I often get inspired of the music and its tone; is it dark and heavy, or should it be light and easy? Inger takes from the history of the folk costume and she finds inspiration from all corners of the world.
She has been awarded several times for her costumes during the years and they are an experience themselves. Everyone in the family has been working with the theatre in one way or another.
Magnus quit playing with Hedningarna in 2007 and has since then been in charge of the music, and he composes everything for the theatre. Sophia played in different groups all around the Nordic countries before she was hired as a musician and played many summers in the barn. Everyone’s personality is important and it contributes to what has given the theatre its special expression.