Finnish actress and director of puppet theatre. “I am a fool, a jester and a puppeteer. I have a visible soul, my puppet.” This is how Sirppa Sivori-Asp describes her work. Her theatre career began when she appeared on the stage at the age of four in the Municipal Theatre of Viipuri.
The Playhouse School of Theatre in Pittsburg (Pennsylvania, USA) welcomed Sirppa Sivori-Asp in the 1940s. After having returned to Finland, she started her professional career as an actress at the Municipal Theatre of Turku, Finland, in several films and television.
Her affection for puppet theatre was kindled in Austria in the1950s when Sirppa Sivori-Asp saw a performance of the Salzburger Marionettentheater. She tried to establish a professional puppet theatre in Finland, but the attempt came to nothing. In 1971, she met two other puppetry enthusiasts and established Nukketeatteri Vihreä Omena (Green Apple Puppet Theatre) in Helsinki. Two of her plays deserve special mention. Matkalla kymmenen valtakunnan taa (The Faraway Land), a solo production based on her own experiences during the war, which she played in the 1980s in New York at The Jim Henson Festival (see Jim Henson). The play has become a classic. And Gulliver’s Travels, a play she directed at the Mermaid Theatre (Canada) using both giant and miniature puppets with live actors.
Sirppa Sivori-Asp became a member of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) in 1972 and was the President of the organization from 1992 to 2000. She was President of UNIMA Finland from 1985 to 1992. She received the Golden Medal of Finnish Theatre in 1996 for her career in the fields of drama, opera and puppetry, and was awarded with a Cross of the Order of the White Rose.