Stockholm university

Rikard HooglandSenior lecturer, associate professor

About me

Associated Professor in Theatre studies


Rikard Hoogland received his PhD in 2005. He is a associated professor in Theatre studies at Stockholm University and also teaches on the subject of cultural policy.

Research topics are Independent theatre groups, Swedish theatre during the beginning of the 20th century, Contemporary Swedish theatre, Brecht and modern forms of directing. He has published in peer-reviewed journals – Peripeti, the Nordic Journal of Culture Policy, Nordic Theatre Studies – and in anthologies published by Cambridge Scholars, Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Stockholm University Press, Ohlms, Palgrave, and Rodopi. He is active in International Federation of Theatre Research and the working group Theatrical event. He has been a visiting scholar at Freie Universität, Berlin.

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Rise and Fall of a Theater King: Albert Ranft and the Commercialization of the Swedish Theater Field between the 1890s and 1920s

    2022. Rikard Hoogland. Urban Popular Culture and Entertainment, 109-136


    Albert Ranft dominated Swedish theater production from 1894 to 1925. At the height of his career, he was running seven theaters in Stockholm, one in Gothenburg, and two touring companies. By developing innovative regional touring strategies, importing artistic and technical innovations from other European cultural centers, and fostering especially close theatrical connections with the Nordic countries, Ranft emerges as an important figure not only in Swedish theater history, but in the field of European cultural transfers more broadly. Moreover, his career provides a unique opportunity to study the commercialization of the Swedish theater field between the 1890s and 1920s, and its much slower division into modernist high art theater and popular entertainment than in some of the better-known cases from Western or Central Europe. Based on transnational exchanges, Ranft was able to run his theatrical businesses successfully by relying on a mixture of light entertainment, business knowhow, and high drama that did not give space for a pure art theater until the 1920s, making him an integrative force in Sweden's theater field. The chapter highlights some of his most successful productions and methods, but also considers his dramatic downfall from a position of supremacy in the theater.

    Read more about The Rise and Fall of a Theater King
  • Brecht as a Stranger in a Postdramatic Era

    2021. Rikard Hoogland. The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht-Jahrbuch 46


    According to Hans-Thies Lehmann it is impossible to think of postdramatic theater without the necessary steps that Brecht took. Given his strong emphasis on the narrative, Brecht is not postdramatic, but his theories about Verfremdung, Gestus and audience are groundbreaking steps towards postdramatic theater. Several theorists have already analyzed the relation between Brecht and postmodern/postdramatic theater (Badiou, Barnett, Fuchs, Jameson, Varney, Wirth, Wright). Barnett argues that it is impossible to combine Brecht with the postdramatic after analyzing a couple of productions that have tried this. The reason for their failure is seen in the problem of representation. In contradiction to this assumption I will argue that a postdramatic production could indeed reactivate Brecht’s theories and strengthen their possible effect. Brecht remains a stranger in the encounter with postdramatic theater (another stranger in a theater culture that is still dominated by dramatic plays and psychological realism), but the meeting between these two strangers can be fruitful. In this contribution I analyze the production of Fatzer at Deutsches Theater, Berlin directed by Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner in Berlin in 2016.

    Read more about Brecht as a Stranger in a Postdramatic Era
  • Lars Norén and Jon Fosse

    2020. Rikard Hoogland. Contemporary European Playwrights


    Lars Noren and Jon Fosse are frequently described as the most important Scandinavian playwrights since August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen. In this chapter, the author argues that in the field of European theatre, there are theatres, festivals, magazines, directors and actors that are particularly important in achieving visibility. He highlights what has been written about Noren and Fosse in the German publication Theater Heute, which has a key position when it comes to introducing new trends and playwrights in continental Europe. 

    Read more about Lars Norén and Jon Fosse
  • Attacken på Albert Ranfts teaterimperium

    2019. Rikard Hoogland. I avantgardets skugga, 243-269


    "The Attack on Albert Ranft’s theatre empire.The theatre battle field"

    In 1921 Swedish theatre was accused for its immorality. The central object of the critique was a production of Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev’s play Jealousy at the private owned theatre Svenska teatern. The theatre critics had found the play lacking in its composition but praised the production and the main female actor. The accusation did instead come from Christian newspapers and was then taken up by major big city news outlets – and subsequently it discussed in the parliament. Serious proposals was put forward to establish a censorship on theatre performances. The main target was Albert Ranft, at that time the main owner of theatres in Sweden, allegedly being merely interested in gaining as high profits as possible. Also one of the fore runners of modernist theatre, Per Lindberg, engaged in the debate and accused Ranft for low quality. Nevertheless Lindberg had produced the same play in his own theatre. This chapter analyse the conflict in perspective of the changing role of youngsters in the Swedish society and the attempt to “rescue” them. Furthermore, there is focus on the conflict of how theatre should befunded. Ranft’s successful enterprise was used as an example for reducing governmental funding. In this conflict the modernist took the same position as the Christian movement even if the development of modernist staging did have immorality as one of its main components.

    Read more about Attacken på Albert Ranfts teaterimperium
  • From Folk Tale to Photomontage

    2018. Rikard Hoogland. The Power of the In-Between, 129-147


    A photomontage from 1894−95 with material from the popular and successful theatre production Ljungby horn is the artefact in this chapter. The photomontage is connecting with the development of theatre photography, which was governed by the commercial market for visiting cards. The term remediation is used to describe a transformation whereby the different sources are, through the use of photography, placed on the same level in the montage. Other intermedial connections discussed here include music, literature, communications, theatre set design, and mass media.

    Read more about From Folk Tale to Photomontage
  • ‘How close is Angola to us?’ Peter Weiss’s Play Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman in the Shadow of the Cold War

    2017. Rikard Hoogland. Theatre, Globalization and the Cold War, 293-306


    Peter Weiss made his international breakthrough as a dramatist with the two plays Marat/Sade and Die Ermittlung. Weiss’s next work was therefore eagerly anticipated, but the play Gesang vom Lusitanischen Popanz was met with disappointment. It was a propagandistic play criticising Portugal’s colonial involvement in Africa. Weiss’s publisher, Suhrkamp, went to a lot of effort to try to stop the production. Several theatre critics from West Germany who that attended the world premiere in Stockholm pointed out that Weiss neglected the more pressing political issue: the Berlin Wall. The reviews published in East Germany underlined the political importance of the play and the criticism of West Germany’s policies towards Portugal. Some Swedish critics found that the political issue was overwhelmed by the aesthetic form. In this article I show how the assessment of the play was deeply coloured by the establishment of the Cold War home fronts in West and East Germany.

    Read more about ‘How close is Angola to us?’ Peter Weiss’s Play Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman in the Shadow of the Cold War
  • The Valuation of Popular Theatre Performances

    2017. Rikard Hoogland. Nordic Theatre Studies 29 (2), 6-27


    Albert Ranft started as an actor in touring theatre companies in the 1880’s, but soon became responsible for one of the most important groups. Twenty-five years later, he ran a big company with about 2500 employees, owned theatres in Stockholm and Gothen­burg as well as a couple of touring companies.

    His repertoire was based on popular entertainment plays, revues, operettas, historical plays, contemporary dramas etc. Simultaneously, his companies could offer ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ productions. Even the actors could, during just one week, work in differ­ent genres. The way of programing was for Ranft an art form by itself, and sometimes he even acted in and directed the plays.

    In November 1893, at Stora Teatern in Gothenburg, he premiered a fairy tale play, and the staging was filled with spectacular effects. The play was, from the beginning, a stun­ning success with the production running for several hundred nights. Moreover, the pro­duction of Ljungby Hornbecame the ground stone for Ranft’s theatrical enterprise.

    The article describes how this success was established through mediatization and its base on rural oral history. The performance is analyzed and discussed as a popular theatre production (McConachie, Price, Röttger, Schecter). The author proposes that a more inclusive definition of popular theatre should be used; one which also takes into account the productions that had commercial success. Popular theatre needs to be in­cluded in theatre history writing to enable a better understanding of how the theatre system has developed.

    Read more about The Valuation of Popular Theatre Performances
  • What Do Theatre Autobiographies Conceal?

    2017. Rikard Hoogland. Nordic Theatre Studies 29 (1), 64-80


    Autobiographies by actors and directors are considered to be somewhat of an unreliable source of information where research on theatre history is concerned. Researchers have made a great deal of effort to validate facts in autobiographies, but then have often neglected other forms of information that the written source gives. In this article, four different autobiographies are analysed with a specific focus on autobiographical strategies (Gardner), the embodied act of writing (Schneider), Hegemonic processes in society (Bratton), and audiences (Singleton). The article discusses if it is possible to place autobiographies in both the repertoire and the archive in Taylor’s sense, and if they can be seen as a possible link between them.

    Read more about What Do Theatre Autobiographies Conceal?
  • Playing on and around the Public Square

    2014. Rikard Hoogland. Playing Culture, 164-180


    The article investigates the ways in which a public square can interact with its citythrough pre-arranged performances. The site of this study is a square in the middle ofStockholm, Sweden that was constructed in the late 1960s. Four performances thattook place during 2007 and 2009 are studied. All four connected in different wayswith the square. One of the main research questions is whether it is possible toconstruct a square designed to host public events and performances, and what theforemost problems are with a giant square such as Sergels torg. One of theconclusions is that while there is a need of open places in the city, the utilisation ofopen spaces for this purpose is threatened by increasing commercialisation of the city.These questions are discussed with the help of theories about city planning, publicopen space as well as theories of playing and the carnival.

    Read more about Playing on and around the Public Square

Show all publications by Rikard Hoogland at Stockholm University