Paul Peers
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Paul Peers

Dame Joan Sutherland Fund recipient, Theater & Opera Director 
Origin: Adelaide, Australia
Currently based: New York City, United States

Before pursuing stage-directing, Paul in 1994 trained in the Japanese performing art of Kenbu (Sword Dance) under Maeda Asano Sensei of Ryushin Ryu, based in Nagoya, Japan. He was one of the first foreigners to publicly perform Kenbu in Japan, where he won awards in Tokyo and Nagoya. Currently, Paul directs in both the theatre and opera fields. He recently directed Blue Balloon by Libby Leonard for Columbia University School of the Arts’ New Play Feast Festival at New York Theatre Workshop. His opera directing debut was Händel’s Xerxes for Grammy nominated Boston Baroque. He stepped back into theater to direct Shadow Boxing by James Gaddas at The Theatre for the New City, New York. He directed Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera at the Kasser Theater, New Jersey and was invited back again to Boston Baroque to direct Handel’s Amadigi di GaulaPaul has directing credits in Australia and Germany with productions of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross for the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Lightning Strike Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, XSpace’s Marat/Sade and Geöffnet for the Dosto Projekt in Berlin, Germany. His New York Off-off Broadway credits are Seneca’s Thyestes at the Theatre of the Riverside Church, Love is in the Air at the 14th Street Y, and Talk to me like the Rain and Let Me Listen at The Sanford Meisner Theatre. In 2011 Paul has been offered a residency at the 3-Legged Dog Arts and Technology Center, New York to develop a hybrid performance piece about Mata Hari fusing opera, physical theatre and video art. Paul holds an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Acting from the Centre for the Performing Arts, Adelaide, Australia and a MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University, New York.



Who are you as an artist?
I am an Australian theatre and opera director based in New York City. My background is in physical theatre with training in Japanese performing arts and Viewpoints. Essentially I am a story teller, and through the rigour of my training I explore tensions both physically and emotionally within characters in stage narratives through which I devise compositions to express these tensions in time and space.
What prompted you to come to the US?
To study under Anne Bogart at Columbia University, New York in the MFA Directing Program.

What did your course/project involve?

I undertook a 10 day residency at Three Legged Dog Art and Technology Center. It involved learning the use of Video Projection Software, which would enhance my work as a stage director and to begin devising an original work with 5 opera singers, an actor and 4 instrumentalists.

What were the highlights of your experience?
Participating in breaking down the barriers in traditional operatic staging and watching singers find freedom in physical expression while using their voice. Secondly, seeing the power of how video technology can be applied to live performance. 
Where did you find inspiration?
New York City has been a primary source of inspiration, every night one can go to see live performing arts. Some of my favourite places to see inspiring theatre artists are The Brooklyn Academy of Music, HERE Arts Space, Gotham Chamber Opera and St. Ann's Warehouse. Of course there's the Met Opera for epic, large scale productions. Don't believe opera is expensive you can get rush tickets for as little as $20!
What will you take away from this experience?
This experience confirmed for me that I want to create hybrid forms of performance, not just theatre, not just opera, but a fusion of many art forms to create one unified performance piece.
What is your favorite piece of work that resulted from this experience?
Hearing the music that was composed to text which had found and translated.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently an artist in residence at the HERE Arts Center, New York City. I am collaborating with Brooklyn based composer Matt Marks on a hybrid opera-theatre piece about the courtesan-spy, Mata Hari.
What is your vision for the future?
To build a repertoire of original hybrid works that focuses on stories centred on women for my company called Chopt Logic, which I started with my colleague Tina Mitchell.

What advice would you give other artists aspiring to come to the US?
Successful artists do not make it to the top alone. Building good respectful working relationships is essential whether they are fellow collaborators or supporters of your work.

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