Artist of The Month- November- Maude Sandham

Our Artist of the Month is South-Africa born Maude Sandham, the lead actress of one-woman show Tracks. Miss Sandham has literally just arrived in Hong Kong for the occasion (she will continue her tour in Vietnam) and she didn't hesitate to share as much as she could about her fascinating, and yet tough, background. 
For those who have not visited South Africa, especially Johannesburg,  it is hard to imagine such a place of high contrasts. Miss Sandham graciously told us about what really influenced her and what moved her towards the performing path- with an eye towards activism. 
Read on!
1.Name, Birthplace, age: 
Maude Sandham 
Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 years old.
2. How does where you were raised affect your work? 
Johannesburg is a tough city to live in. I think more so than any other city in SA, black and white, rich and poor, old and young, live and hustle together in much closer quarters. It is a busy and often unkind place, where everyone is hustling hard, and maybe because there aren't many beautiful natural resources to look at (we are one of the only cities in the world not built around a water source, we are a city built on old, abandoned mine dumps) we have to make the beauty and find the kindness amongst ourselves. I think this is the way my work has been affected: You learn to toughen up quick, hustle hard, but you also learn about the diversity of stories out there, and how to empathise.
3. Where did you train?
I studied physical theatre and directing at Rhodes University in South Africa, and trained in devised theatre and performance at the London International School of Performing Arts in Berlin. 
4. What is your favourite style of theatre? Why?
Right now? I love big joyous public performances and interactive public clowning. I love performance as protest and the use of performance to dismantle systems. 
5. What was the best show you EVER saw?
It's so hard to ask a theatre nerd this question! But by far the work that blew my mind as a child, and opened my mind to the possibilities of creative storytelling and theatre-making, is You & Me by Swiss Theatregroup Mummenschanz. 
6. What was the best show in HK you EVER saw?
This will be my first trip to HK, and I'm so keen to see what's on offer on the HK scene! Do you have any recommendations? Let us know!
7.  What piece of work are you the proudest?
Of my own work? It's hard to say. I a very grateful to have had a very prosperous year in theatre. I have recently completed a big project clowning and doing workshops in France with Les Balladins group, which was incredibly successful and profoundly meaningful work. I've just recently finished creating a residency and directing a show as the culmination of this residency, called "Our Dead Are Not Dead". And I am immensely proud of Tracks. It has taught me so much about myself, and about theatre-making, and I am so grateful to be able to tell this story on so many platforms, and to work with Nicola Pilkington every day. 
8. What is your process like?
The process for every show is different. It depends on what the project is, the people involved, the space, and the story needs. Tracks has evolved so many times since its conception in 2017. At first, Nikki and I did lots of research, in particular interviewing my family members, researching the laws of SA, and the recent history of Johannesburg. We both wrote and edited the script together, and worked and reworked it as we went on rehearsing and finding the physicality of the piece. We have also discovered along the way, by doing it, by performing it, what works and what doesn't, and in doing so have kept stripping away at the access to find the core of what needs to be told.
9.  What is your dream project?
I have a whole wall at home pasted full of dream projects... but one big one? I would love to perform/direct/create Hadestown by Anaiis Mitchell in SA. It's a folk opera based on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and it is INCREDIBLE.
10. What do you think about the arts and theatre scene in Hong? 
I've heard and read so much about the young burgeoning art scene against the backdrop of the history and rich culture of the island. I am so excited to immerse myself in it and learn from HK artists. Bring on the HK arts magic!
Catch Maude Sandham in action next week in Tracks. For more information about this show click here


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