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Theo adams
Photo by Dima Hohlov

Theo Adams on directing FKA Twigs' tour and his new short film


TextAmelia Abraham

We interview the avant-garde performance artist, director and filmmaker ahead of the release of Theo Adams Company's new short film, Dream Like The Stars – with backstage photos from Roxy Lee

Theo Adams: performance artist, aesthete and director of the Theo Adams Company, a world-renowned performance company who work on live events and films that are dark, visceral and explosive, always challenging to the status quo. Theo's work with the company has opened several doors, not least a job as the director of FKA Twigs' latest tour, which Theo promises to be more like an opera than a conventional gig. 

Today, Theo takes over Dazed Beauty's Instagram with his beauty heroes and favourite moments from the Theo Adams Company archives, and tomorrow, Dazed Beauty will premier the company's new short film, 'Dream Like The Stars' – a surreal homage to Tasmanian public access television. "Presented by the legend of the Tassie arts and entertainment world, Helen Noir and starring our in house dancers, Anna, Sarah, Nando and Sophia better known as TAC. This weekly entertainment spectacular is filmed 'live' at our 'state of the art' studios in Hobart's glittering CBD," explains Theo. 

Below, we caught up with him about his recent work and his long-term inspirations. 

Why did you start Theo Adams company?
Theo Adams: I started the Theo Adams Company in early 2008 when I was 18. I had been doing solo shows for years in nightclubs and art galleries and was asked to perform in a large space at Tate Britain. I felt I needed a bigger cast to fill the room, so I brought together friends who were performers and musicians as well as a group of dancers from the Royal Ballet School. I haven't looked back since.

Who have some of your collaborators been? What do you look for in a collaborator?
Theo Adams: Company members are incredibly diverse in terms of backgrounds, skills and personalities. What brings us together is a willingness to push performance and productions beyond usual limits, not being afraid to be 'ugly' and go to places most people wouldn't even want to think about. It's very hard to find people that are right for what we do, that's why we don't audition. People join organically. I have a total sixth sense for who would work well for us. Every single member is a star in their own right. 

Tell us about the film you've made that's premiering on Dazed Beauty... 
Theo Adams: Last year two of Theo Adams Company's longest serving members Masumi and Mariya became pregnant at around the same time. We knew we had to create something to celebrate so we have done the only thing that made sense for us. 'Dream Like The Stars' transports the company, pregnant bellies and all, to a provincial 1983 Tasmanian public access TV talent show. This would be us if we were living in that time and place. Perhaps the stupidest thing we have ever created, I can't wait to finally share it with the world.

What does beauty mean to you and how do you try to create it through your work? 
Theo Adams: Beauty is a lack of fear. To be bold, to be human and to be yourself.

There is a lot of focus on theatrical make-up, hair, costume in your productions, where do you draw inspiration from? 
Theo Adams: It's subconscious but I guess I've always just been drawn to the theatrical side of things. My taste hasn't changed since I was four years old, it's only grown. Inspiration can come from anywhere, from a droopy earlobe of a woman who has been wearing earrings every day for 65 years to Gemma Collins' fake tan stained palms. Inspiration is all around us.

Who were your beauty icons when you were younger? Have those changed today?
Theo Adams: I come from a very loud, dramatic Mediterranean family. My first beauty icons were Greek actresses of the 1960s. I would go to my grandparents and wear out all their old pirated VHS of Aliki Vougiouklaki musicals. Then at age four I found Eurovision and haven't looked back. Strong women with a strong sense of glamour and themselves. There are far too many to mention but at the top of my head Mina Mazzini, Rocio Jurado and Bulent Ersoy.

You're currently touring with FKA Twigs, can you explain how you work together? And what it is you've created for this tour?
Theo Adams: I have just directed Twigs's new world tour 'Magdelene' with her. Its a sort of reimaging of what a concert can be in the 21st century. More of a three-act contemporary opera than a gig. I don't want to give too much away as you need to be in the room to get the most out of it, it's a real multisensory experience.

And finally, if there were three beauty products that you couldn't live without, what would they be?
MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick: The most iconic red lipstick. We once used 200 tubes of it for performance and transformed the white walls of a gallery entirely blood red. Kryolan Tear Stick: When you can't squeeze out that final tear and you're just emotionally exhausted from crying all day. Place some of this under your eyes and let it all out! Mark Traynor Tapes: The original facelift. Who needs a surgeon when you have some elastic!

Look out for Dream Like The Stars on Dazed Beauty tomorrow.

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