I often imagine myself an anthropologist. Each project is an uncharted island through which I lead an investigative team on research-based adventures to generate highly crafted, aesthetically-specific performances. For each expedition, I gather deeply curious, skilled and daring galvanizers of varying disciplines to agitate and analyze a topic from multiple perspectives. Collaboration is at the center of it all.
I work across disciplines; I direct and choreograph for plays, choirs, and dance companies, and I make performance work.
My original work takes multiple shapes which allow specific kinds of relationships with our audiences to unfold. I’m interested in performance as an act of radical intimacy and a platform for the grandest of lies. I love awkward subtext, silent loneliness, imperfect goodbyes, uncomfortable laughter, aggressive impulses, secret longing, irrational fears, TMI, and I love the way banana slugs mate. These are some of the things I want to explore in my work.
Erika Chong Shuch is a performance maker, choreographer and director whose topic-driven ruminations coalesce into imagistic assemblages of music, movement, text, and design. Interested in expanding ideas around how performance is created and shared, Erika’s work has been performed in city halls, theaters, industrial offices spaces, diners, parking lots and food courts.
Recent projects include For You, a dedicated practice of performance making proceeding from these two desires:
1. Make performances based on, and for, specific individuals
2. Bring together diverse groups of strangers for intimate encounters
Along with Rowena Richie, an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, Erika is adapting For You, to small groups of people living with dementia and their caregivers. They are also working with the Momentary, a new contemporary Art Space in Arkansas to develop For You, for new audiences coming to celebrate the Momentary’s opening. Created in collaboration with Rowena Richie and Ryan Tacata, For You, is a project of Creative Capital, commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and has been supported by Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco Museum of Design and Performance, Franconia House.
Also in development is TheaterTheater, a participatory morality play exploring the hidden forces underlying everyday ethical choices. TheaterTheater is supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission and Rainin Foundation.
Erika’s original performance works have also been supported and commissioned by Berkeley Rep’s Groundfloor, Intersection for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, deYoung Museum, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi, Dancers’ Group, Liz Lerman’s Dance Exchange/Corcoran Gallery/DC and in Korea: Daejeon Metropolitan Company, Chang Mu Company, Mullae Art Space.
Erika received the 2016 Creative Capital Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation’s Investing in Artist’s Grant, Gerbode Foundation’s Emerging Choreographer’s Award, Goldie Award, Falstaff Award, ongoing support from SF Art’s Commission and Zellerbach Family Fund, Helen Hayes Award (nominee) for Indecent at The Arena, and for Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Conference of the Birds at the Folger Theater/DC. Directing credits include Lily’s Revenge, the Love Act (by Taylor Mac) at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco and co-creating/ directingIron Shoes with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble (with support by Creative Work Fund, Rainin Foundation, NEA, Berkeley Rep). Directing credits also include Eurydice and God’s Ear at Shotgun Players. Erika was Associate Director for The Gift of Nothing at the Kennedy Center.
As a choreographer for theater, Erika has worked for theater companies such as Theater for a New Audience (NY), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Folger Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theater, Playmakers Rep, California Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Pittsburgh Public, Kansas City Repertory Theater, and Magic Theatre. Upcoming shows include: The Heal, by Aaron Posner (a co-production between The Roundhouse, Maryland/ Getty Villa, Los Angeles), The Lady and The Sea (The Court Theater, Chicago), Taming of the Shrew (The Old Glove, San Diego) and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Portland Center Stage).
The Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project is a fiscally sponsored company of Intersection for the Arts and has been creating original performance work under the artistic direction of Chong Shuch since 2002.