SUKOSTA is the artistic collaboration of Sue Lee and Kosta Andrea. At the Heart of the work is a leap into the unknown, a laboratory process, a quest to discover the unpredictable. The company has to date created nine new performance pieces as well as installations and film work, and has presented in venues and festivals in the UK, Canada, Switzerland and Italy. SUKOSTA has gained support from many funders and a growing international reputation for its personal, humorous, quirky and atmospheric visual theatre that touches the depth of human experience
Q: How did you come to the performing arts?
I was always performing, being an exhibitionist – at the same time I was shy – my mum used to say I used to stare at people and not say anything; it was either jumping around the house, or just staring. I’ve always observed, took it in – and later it came out in characters and pieces and made everybody laugh.
Q: How did you get from there to the stage?
Natural progression, really, I was picked for a school play, which was a shock, because I was very quiet, I was surprised I was chosen to do something - and I did a lot of dancing, ballet. I was always chosen to do the character parts in the dance performances; then was picked from the School to do parts at Farnham Repertory theatre at the age of 15. Later when I left home I collaborated with visual artists, did a lot of street theatre, always did my thing, always had a desire to do my own thing, to be in control.
Q: Your Company SUKOSTA is currently promoting a Creative Performance Retreat EXPLORE. What’s it all about?
It’s about drawing people together, as creators. We’ve done professional workshops beforehand –this one is called EXPLORE and its about exploration of practitioners finding a common togetherness – group ensemble.This will be an exciting and dynamic workshop with like-minded people where you can explore the essence of Sukosta’s unique physical approach to creation and performance, through movement and focus on the essential .
The launch of Explore last year was a huge success and allowed participants to refresh and explore new direction within a shared experience context.
Q: What are you teaching?
Not teaching, more leading, discovering, guiding participants, through “states”, opening movements, and allowing receptiveness to their own creative flow.
Q: It seems you are talking about your own approach to creation.
The two go hand in hand. Through the body – into creative expression – both go to the creative core. For example working on a show is a journey, a process, which is as important as the end product. I start with a theme and develop it through the body, working through the atmosphere, of a place, moods, colours, etc – like a painting – then drawing it into an artwork.
Q: Which training did mark you as a practitioner?
I don’t feel I ever had a training. I feel I just evolved – obviously I had different influences. A lot of dance, studying theatre (Middlesex University); bringing it to a head was going to the Lecoq School (Paris), wiping the board clean, finding a neutrality and from there building something.
Q: What’s your worst moment in your career?
Other then working with Kosta Andrea…. As a silent Tortus Street act in Paris, being picked up by the feet in front of a huge crowd by a cocky passing member of public.
Q: What’s your best moment in your career?
Haven’t had it yet…
Q: But if you’ve got to pick one so far..?
“Small World” Tour in Canada (2003) – 4 star reviews in the press - it was a big risk, packing kids, nanny, stage manager for four months – to fail or to win them over – thankfully we won them over.
Q Tell us about your move to the South West.
We moved eight years ago out of London, things went quite well in North London, we had an office space and a following and took a big risk to move to the South West, financially and strategically. It has been a process of getting to know the region and the region to know us. The dream was to have a rural setting, a focused retreat and creation and training space to become an International resource bringing different artists together in a rural setting, giving that focus, one can only get when one has no other distractions.
The Company sees itself as universal, the core is multicultural. Kosta and I met at the Lecoq School amongst students of around 30 nationalities or more, where the nature of those ingredients meant, you have to relate and create on a universal level, and the whole philosophy of the School is to break down boundaries and create a neutral base for creativity. Interestingly enough by doing so, by cleaning the idiosyncrasies – the cultural characteristics come out with pure dynamic. And from that, in London we were based in Haringey, being described as the most multicultural place in the whole world with over forty languages, a good place to be based knowing we wanted to retain the universality of collective communications; theatre without words, a lot of our early work lived of the language of gesture, atmosphere, the between movements.
So why to move to the Province? A rural setting is an excellent place & forum to bring together chosen ingredients to make a show. What is important is to keep open a wider horizon, of reaching out to people on an universal level and not just on a local cultural level - which can be perceived as risk taking, but in the long term reaches more people.
We’re happy here, we had a lot of support from different partners in the region and we’re beginning to make our mark here. Although Kosta has his hair cut and is toying with growing a beard – maybe it should be me who grows one …
Q: Tell us about early shows you saw which marked you.
Michael Clark, saw him when I was 18, it was his strength of character to stand there and to do his own thing in the face of the establishment that attracted me.
Before I did Middlesex University I saw Trestle Theatre Company at Glastonbury Festival – I loved their simplicity of character and movement, rough and ready, very strong and beautiful at the same time.
Attic Theatre, one performer and somebody on a flute, no set or costume – intriguing Show in a tiny
Bath venue back in 1984.
Mummerandada, forerunner of Circomedia, had a real, street and theatre quality - mixture of neutrality, music, comedy, humour.
I always have been drawn between dance world and theatre, the poetry of movement.
Q: Tell me the first few words that come to your mind when you here the following words:
Politics: I leave that to Kosta…. – every act is political, I live my politics, rather than observing myself.
Gadgets: Anything mechanical goes wrong on me (like lifts stopping, watches stopping, etc)
Neighbourhood watch: Ridiculous – however I often behave like one myself
Conservation: I don’t know – reminds me of the conservatives – bores me
Q: And finally your wishes for 2011
Love, light, positive thoughts and actions, creating a positive world.
EXPLORE workshops are taking place on 5th and 6th February, more more infomation and how to book please click here