Theo Adams' journey from being a 15-year-old stalwart of the London club circuit to beauty icon and founder of the Theo Adams Company
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Actress Gwendoline Christie, artist Imma Asher, Dazed Beauty’s own Isamaya Ffrench – performance collective Theo Adams Company comprises an eclectic and talented group of performers, dancers, singers, and musicians, but the person who brought them all together is an icon in his own right. A multi-hyphenate artist from North London, half-Cypriot and half 'not sure' (“my mum was adopted – I could be from anywhere!”), Adams grew up on a diet of Dame Edna and 1960s Greek musicals, leaving him with a penchant for high glamour, blink-and-you’ll-miss-something-fabulous theatrics and strong female vocals.
At 15, after dropping out of school, he entered the London club circuit, dressing up extravagantly in makeup and wigs so that the bouncer wouldn’t be able tell he was underage. Eventually, clubbing led to performance art, which led to an invitation to put on a performance at the Tate in 2008, which led to the formation of Theo Adams Company. Today, the collective create site-specific shows from scratch, which get weirder each time, while specifically catering to the cause or occasion. It might be a fashion week party, a photo shoot with David Sims, or their current project: an original concept musical, reimagining how performance can be staged in a proscenium arch theatre for the 21st century.
With Adams, performance seeps into event, into film, into photography, but while the lines are always blurred everything is always executed with precision: “I'm a control freak and a perfectionist,” says Adams. “It’s all about continually developing to make the best possible work. I feel what we are working on now is a continuation of what we were doing at the beginning, but I never look back and always look forward. It’s hard to put into a few sentences what we do, but at its heart, we explore finding the shortcuts to plug into the extreme elements of human emotion: relentless joy, melodrama, catharsis and euphoria – both for the performers and the audience.”
Tomorrow you wake up with another face of your choice. Whose is it and why?
I'm not fussy, but any woman 70 years old or older, it would make my life much more comfortable as then my personality would match my face. Since I was a toddler, I’ve always been a woman in her golden years. Past the stage of giving a fuck. They are the real radicals of the world.
You have to donate a feature/limb of your body to an icon of yours. You get nothing in return. What feature or limb do you give and why?
I'd give anything to Jenifer Lewis. She is a real icon. She deserves anything she wants. I'm not sure what use she would have with any of my limbs though, but who am I to question her?!
It's 30 years from now. You stumble home at 3am and catch your reflection in the fridge door. What do you look like?
If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?
Well, I'm already slightly psychic. I can spot bullshit from miles away; I'm happy with that.