Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Tikka Sears (Seattle) is an actor, director, multimedia performance artist and educator. Her new multimedia theater piece, Work created under compulsion/Memory war, explores the intersections of physical theater, myth, oral history, and non-realist documentary. She creates, performs, and directs solo performance pieces and frequently collaborates with video and glass artist Manuel Castro. Sears has been studying and performing Indonesian arts for 15 years and weaves mask, dance and puppetry traditions into her current work. In 2004 she returned from two years in Indonesia where she was a Fulbright Artist-in-Residence. She co-created and directed Choice and the Hunter’s Machine, a multimedia theater piece with the Black Umbrella Theater which performed at the JakArt International festival in Jakarta. Her one-woman show, Marsinah Accuses, written by Ratna Sarumpaet, toured in six cities across the US. Tikka has a BA in Theater and a Certificate in Documentary Video Production from the University of Washington and has worked on numerous films and multimedia projects as a videographer, director, and actor. In addition to two years of Fulbright funding, Sears has received grants from the US Embassy, the American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation, and two Artist Trust GAP grants. Her work has also been featured recently in The Stranger’s Art & Performance Quarterly.

Tikka received a 2009 GAP to pay for travel costs associated with conducting interviews, and to cover time off to work on a script adaptation for a theatre piece. Below U.S. is an original project that traverses America’s divided cultures, aiming at the problem of people in the U.S. hoping to make a permanent boundary separating the U.S. from Mexico by pushing for the construction of an insurmountable wall. The script was adapted from interviews conducted in Salem, OR and Miami creating a blend of innovative theatre and humor that takes audiences on an odyssey.

Tikka received a 2006 GAP to purchase equipment and materials to fully develop a new performance piece entitled Layar. Sears’ new piece incorporated portable screens with video projection and her own intricate choreography to be synchronized between the screens and Sears’ live performance. Incorporating video interviews and oral histories exploring migration, regret and repetition, the video footage was also projected directly onto the performers’ bodies, allowing Sears to explore “the actor’s body in relation to and in dialogue with multimedia projection.”

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Tikka taught a workshop titled Connection, Improvised Movement and Performance Technique at Seattle’s Nova Alternative High School. The class was a diverse population of 21 ninth- to twelfth-graders, two with developmental disabilities. They learned elements of physical theater to generate original performance work; the workshop also focused on actively connecting with fellow performers and using their environment as a tool for improvisation.

Sears reported that the “[s]tudents were very engaged and filled with energy. They committed fully to the experience.” When asked to observe and then describe small wonders in their classroom that they had not seen before answers came back filled with detail. “One student noticed a stain on the floor that looked like a Gorilla sitting in the lotus position with mouth wide open. Another student noticed a hole in the wall and wondered if it had been put there by an angry fist.” Stories emerged from these simple observation exercises.

The students and teacher will continue to use and build on the new information for an upcoming performance. Sears said, “After the workshop several students came up to me with shining eyes and asked me about the current work I was doing and said how much they enjoyed the workshop and exercises. They asked if I would come back sometime to work with them again. It was powerful to see that students and performers of all ages connect to this way of working and found artistic freedom within a structure of improvisation.”

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.