Anu Panula was known as the founder of Finland’s first professionally driven theater for the mentally handicapped.
Actor, theater director and dancer Anu Panula is dead.
The death is told by his sister, an actress from the National Theater Terhi Panula in its public Facebook update.
Anu Panula was a dancer, actress and choreographer. He is also known as the founder of La Strada, an amateur theater for the mentally handicapped in Tampere. This is Finland’s first professionally driven theater for the mentally handicapped.
Panula was born on October 21, 1956 in Tampere, where he moved again in the late 1980s.
Panula founded La Strada in 2009 in Tampere after becoming unemployed. He had previously worked as a freelance actor and expression skills instructor at the Action Center for the Mentally Handicapped.
In an interview with HS in 2017, Panula told how the activity center had not been allowed to hug the mentally handicapped or introduce them to her own friends.
In her own theater and theater program, Panula wanted to show that people with intellectual disabilities are equal to others.
The repertoire was ambitious, including plays Shakespeare and Federico Garcia Lorcaa.
“Controlling people with intellectual disabilities is not as different as professional actors. Sure, things happen more slowly. Sometimes you have to explain that if someone says on stage you smell shit, he doesn’t mean it in person,” Panula said in her birthday interview.
Panula did not receive a salary from La Strada, as the theater was done as a help, without regular subsidies and grants. In 2015, he took out a large personal loan to get his own, permanent premises from Tampere on the outskirts of Amur and Pyynikki. The renovated facilities opened in 2016.
Panula grew up in an artistic environment herself: her father is conductor Jorma Panula and her mother was actress Helena Haavisto. The siblings also ended up in the arts.
Panula’s spouse was a musician Hannu Kahiluoto, who was cared for by Panula. The couple has a daughter.
He was the first to report on Panula’s death MTV news.