Laura Heikkinen grew up writing and performing her make-believe stories alone in her room, so it was a much anticipated relief when she turned thirteen and was able to sign up for a drama class at her middle school. It seemed as though theatre swooped in to save her, literally – she had dropped nearly a quarter of her bodyweight over the summer and it wasn’t showing signs of stopping. When it came time to cast the play, Laura was made the assistant director, to which she puffed and plotted and ended up taking over the tiny role of Edith in a one-act whose title has long been lost. Although she was removed from school to seek treatment only a week before the performance, she persuaded some strings to be pulled and made it to the stage. That first time in the spotlight solidified in Heikkinen’s heart what path her passion would take her on. Fast forward fourteen years through a storm of academia, sickness, theatre and heartbreak, in addition to completely losing touch with her natural hair color, she earned a BFA from Wayne State University, which set up a blessed flow of opportunity, hustle and work. In 2013 she connected with Puzzle Piece Theatre, since having been appointed Associate Artistic Director, performing in many roles with the company, most recently was Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. In 2014 Laura spent a delightful amount of time active with Shakespeare in Detroit, exploring roles such as Miranda in The Tempest, and for the second time romping around as Hermia in the favorite A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Heikkinen has written two little plays: “Chiseled” was featured in the 2013 WSU Louise Heck-Rabi Playwriting Festival, Small Hours Serenade closed Puzzle Piece’s 2013/14 season.
With the shifting toward global consciousness and the responsibility we as artists take on, as our relationships with our art evolves alongside our relationship with ourselves as it relates to responsibilities we take for others, well, there's not much else to do but keep creating. Life and art are messy and raw, often bloody and definitely disturbing. And when it's not, it's rainbows. The beauty of this relationship is why Laura decided to stay in Detroit, and why she is deeply thrilled to be welcomed in to Slipstream. The Initiative seeks to illustrate the answer to the question, “who needs to see this?” by reorganizing previously accepted framework while providing a new lens to see it and another voice, rumbling low beneath the dialogue -- one not only heard, but felt.
Outside of theatre, Laura works with the local art community Apathetic Zebra. She’s also an elephant enthusiast, part-time dream interpreter, and avid observer of the cosmic weather.