Jo was born in Norway and fulfilled the cliché of a Norwegian childhood with wild nature, social democracy values, and violent troll fairytales. Apart from a traditional background, Jo also spent several years in tropical areas due to his parent’s profession. This early mix of local identity and globetrotter confusion has been relevant in his professional work, both in themes, variation of genres, and perhaps especially in the particular interest in different languages. Jo studied at the National College of Ballet in Oslo but due to skepticism towards academic methods and extreme absence, Jo never managed to graduate neither in classical ballet nor choreography. He nevertheless initiated a fruitful career as a dancer which later led him to choreography, theatre direction and playwrighting. Although these three artforms are defined as his main occupations, he has also been developing a particular style in set design and lighting design. He has also been involved in film-making, both in front of and behind the camera. The multi-disciplinary character of his work is however to be seen as nothing more than a natural interest in the overall process of storytelling.
As an artistic director of Jo Strømgren Kompani, founded 1998, Jo has developed a significant personal style with a mix of theatre, dance, puppets, film, and live music – wrapped in a nonsensical language frame.
As a choreographer Jo has been commissioned by a wide range of companies – from classical to contemporary. As a theatre director he has mostly worked with national and municipal theatres in Scandinavia, predominantly with plays by Henrik Ibsen. As a playwright he has written a long list of plays for theatre and scripts for film. He is a member of Writer’s Guild of Norway.