Sarah Cameron: performer and sculptor
Trained both as a steel sculptor at Chelsea College of Arts, and later at the laboratory of movement at Jacques Lecoq performing arts school in Paris, Sarah Cameron aims to make “sculptures with words” on stage. She is performing in The Red Chair, which she wrote
You describe The Red Chair as a sculpture made with words – what do you mean?
I started writing this story in 1993. When I wasn’t working I would just come back to it and form it, so it’s been with me for a long time. And I read it aloud as I was writing it. So for me when I was writing it, it felt as if the words had shape when they were spoken, that they had a form in the air. They have colour and rhythm, they can have an emotional impact because of the sound.
Have you always acted?
I think theatre was always there in some way. Theatrical experiences that happen when you’re really young can be impression-able moments for children. That whole thing about the dark space and the anticipation and the excitement… I played, actually, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when I was about six. And that was a magical moment – sort of terrifying as well. I’d forgotten about that until just now.
How much does theatre weigh in to your process as an artist?
At the moment I feel like I don’t really fit into any particular world. And I’ve gone from making three-dimensional objects, to performing, to now writing and then adapting the book with Suzy Willson. So I think theatre has always been there, but I’m also really interested in other things at the same time.
How similar or different are theatre and sculpting?
I welded, I worked in steel, and I made really big pieces. And there was a huge theatricality in the making of the piece – the light of the arc welder would create these incred-ible shadows on the wall. The forge, with the fire and the steel, and the spray of the molten steel, and the hammering, and the noise – the process of making a sculpture was this incredibly dynamic, theatrical event. And then people came to see it. There is a kind of ease in knowing that object is there and it’s made. When you’re standing on stage, you’re making it for people right then and there. You’ve got the words, but the process of performing it and making it happen happens every night. And, of course, that’s a much more scary prospect. But it’s also a very exciting prospect, that each night the show is different.
The Red Chair tours until June 19