Emma Clark is a performance maker working across theatre and live art in the UK and US. She creates playful experimental work that is highly visual, often musical, and research-driven, working primarily through collaborative devising and interdisciplinary practices. Her work explores the intersections between politics, history, and pop culture, taking an anthropological interest in how humans interact with their cultural and political identities, as well as the environments, histories, and mythologies that inform them. She is particularly interested in questions of citizenship and humanity in extreme environments, and is increasingly interested in performance as a civic practice.
She frequently collaborates as the transatlantic performance duo emma + pj, with whom she is an associate artist at the Portsmouth Guildhall. She is also a co-founder of the international collective Tacky Pioneer. She is a lead artist for the Yardlings: Bigger programme at The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick, creating original performance in collaboration with young people aged 7-11. She is a supported artist of Chinese Arts Now, has been commissioned by Upstart Theatre, and has presented work at Shoreditch Town Hall, Battersea Arts Centre, Camden People’s Theatre, Soho Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, and the International Youth Arts Festival. She is an alum of the Young Vic Springboard programme, The Bats resident acting company at The Flea Theater in New York City, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and Georgetown University.
GOLD MOUNTAIN is Emma’s first solo piece, a devised performance project that investigates, elaborates, and fantasizes about the truths and myths of her homeland, family history, and mixed Chinese heritage. The seed of the project is an exploration of the California Gold Rush, a historical event to which Emma has distant family connections and the instigating factor for the first major wave of Chinese immigration to the United States. The piece is an investigation of what it feels like to turn and look back at a home she has left behind, examining it from a distance, stitching together an understanding of her identity and where she belongs. By engaging historical, documentary, and autobiographical materials, GOLD MOUNTAIN will explore the intersection between mythmaking and landscape, blending the candy-colored, sun-kissed pop dreamscapes of modern California with the dirt-covered frontier of the 1840s. Emma will sing, dig, and build her way through an odyssey that traverses time and cultures in search of a new way of seeing herself and where she comes from.
She will be using her time at Metal to further explore the research and dramaturgy underpinning the piece, and focusing on the writing of a draft outline or script that will aid further development and rehearsal.