This week, I was lucky to catch up with Rosana Cade, who will be performing the piece ‘Sister’ at Queer Contact 2015 in February. Here she talks about the piece, her work and what it was like making theatre with her sister.
Hi Rosana, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us.
How did you come to work in the arts?
I was always interested in theatre when I was growing up and I thought I wanted to be an actor. However, after a year’s actor training at East 15 Acting School when I was 19 I realised that it wasn’t something I wanted to go into. I wanted to be involved in making performance that I believed was important, in using performance to explore and experiment with ideas that I was interested in. I discovered the Contemporary Performance Practice course in Glasgow and moved to Scotland to do it. Since graduating I have been based in Glasgow making performance, touring it around the UK and abroad, and also running a performance festival in Glasgow.
Tell us a bit about your show ‘Sister’ performing at Queer Contact in February…
For a year my older sister and I collaborated to make this performance, which is an exploration of our relationships to each other, to sexuality and to feminism. It’s a reflection on our lives so far, and a marker of where we are at currently. My sister draws on her experience of working within the porn and the sex industry and how she has struggled with the stigmas society places on these roles, and I draw on some of my personal experiences of discovering my queer sexual identity, and what it was like to grow up idolising my sexually confident older sister. The performance weaves together our autobiographical stories, pole dancing, lap dancing, family videos and stripped back physical sequences to create an honest and unique performance. At times it is a conversation between pro sex feminism and radical lesbianism, at times it is a candid chat between two sisters. Ultimately the performance aims to open up dialogue surrounding some of these difficult issues, and to encourage a spirit of openness and acceptance.
What was the creation process like? And what was it like to work with a family member?
Working with a family member is very different to any other collaboration that I have taking part in. Amy is less than two years older than me, and for most of my life I have looked up to her as my big sister who knows more than me about everything! We have a deeply entrenched dynamic that probably formed when we were children and she could talk and I couldn’t. So to come into a rehearsal room where I am the more experienced one required a big shift in that dynamic, which was a bit difficult. Having said that, we got on really well during the process, and it was a chance for us to really get to know each other again as adults. Growing up we had bedrooms next to each other and shared everything but we haven’t lived together for over ten years. During the first months of making the show we were sharing my bedroom in Glasgow, and it was a privilege to spend this time together again.
What was the hardest thing about making this piece?
I think one of the hardest things was knowing what bits of material were important to work with in the performance. We were dealing with our whole lives, and the editing process was tricky. Also, because some of the subjects we explore are quite sensitive, and can be fairly controversial, it was important for us to really think about how we wanted to talk about certain things, for example Amy’s experiences of working in the sex industry. After a while, it became clear that it was important for this show to be about us as individuals and our experiences, rather than trying to address all of the wider politics, which are there implicitly throughout anyway. Our voices, our experiences, and our relationship are what make the show unique, and what offer us authenticity within the wider exploration of the sexual/feminist politics.
What was the best thing about making this piece?
I think the process that we went on was really important for us as individuals at this stage in our lives. For the past ten years we have both been on journeys of exploration, trying to understand our relationships to our ‘female’ bodies and our sexualities, and this performance gave us a chance to reflect on these journeys individually and better understand each other’s journeys too. It was an opportunity to consider how we articulate who we are to each other and to the world, and what we can learn from listening to each other.
I think the process of making this piece also helped our whole family to have a better dialogue around some of the issues that we are exploring. It brought things out into the open which have perhaps not been discussed properly before, and I hope over all it has helped us all to understand each other a little bit better.
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
Sister is touring to various other UK cities including Brighton, London, Lancaster and Colchester in the next six months. I am also continuing to tour another one of my performances, called Walking:Holding to a few European cities. In March //BUZZCUT// festival is on, which is a five day festival of live art and experimental performance in Glasgow that I organise with another artist. And I am involved in a new performance by Nic Green, which will be on at Behaviour Festival at the Arches, as well as working on a special Sexology event at the Arches, which will also be part of Behaviour. And after all that, hopefully I will be able to go on holiday!
What are you doing when you’re not performing?
I love dancing and I don’t do it enough! I also love watching films and eating delicious food.
Thank you Rosana
You can see Rosana and Amy’s performance of Sister at QC2015:
Amy and Rosana Cade: Sister
Thu 5 to Sat 7 Feb, 7:30pm. Tickets: £13/7.
Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6JA.
Booking: 0161 274 0600 / www.contactmcr.com/sister
Information on //BUZZCUT// can be found here
For more information on Rosana and her work, visit: www.rosanacade.com