HOUSE OF SAND CREATES MADCAP, VISCERAL PERFORMANCE WORK WITH A SIGNATURE EXPRESSIONISTIC STYLE
IN AND ACROSS ARTFORMS INCLUDING THEATRE, DANCE, CABARET AND VISUAL & PERFORMANCE ART
"Eliza and Charley Sanders are important artists who give us an alternate view of the world"
- Suzy Wrong, Suzy goes see & Auditorium (UK)
House of Sand is the brainchild of sibling creative partnership Charley Sanders and Eliza Sanders, but it is more than a funny play on the surname Sanders. It’s a way of describing how our sibling creative partnership works: We’re like children on windblown beaches building castles, each one a collection of a billion tiny grains of inspiration, following our own sense of play. We gather people and ideas and build epic imaginative creations - knowing that eventually, whether with the next tide or the king tide - they will finally be washed away.
We came together through a shared belief that the dance and theatre worlds could learn a lot by looking to each other for innovative new ways of working and modes of performance, and it just so happened that we each had siblings on the other side of the fence! The playful blending of art forms to create experiences that are more fecund for audiences and more accessible to broad audiences is at the centre of our ethos as a company.
Since the beginning of 2015, we’ve worked with around forty collaborators in two countries and six cities and partnered with seven venues to present twelve seasons at six festivals. We build tight-knit family style groups of collaborators, which allows us to embrace the transience of working in many different places.
We explore what it means to be a citizen of the world by looking towards the very personal, intimate and specific. And we’ve developed a methodology which brings the idea of global/local citizenship into the body, the muscles and the guts, and results in a signature aesthetic: visceral, expressionistic, and slightly absurd.
Beyond House of Sand we both have substantial independent practices - this website also serves as a portal to media and reference for those practices.
Charley Sanders & Eliza Sanders - Co-Artistic Directors
awards & accolades
NOMINATED FOR TWO 2018 ADELAIDE CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
NOMINATED FOR TWO 2018 BROADWAY WORLD SYDNEY AWARDS:
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY - CHARLEY SANDERS; REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN.
BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A PLAY - ELIZA SANDERS; REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN.
WINNER: BEST EMERGING COMPANY - NZ FRINGE 2016
WINNER: BANK SA BEST DANCE WEEKLY AWARD - ADELAIDE FIRNGE 2018
WINNER OF THREE 2016 NZ FRINGE AWARDS
NOMINATED FOR SEVEN 2016 NZ FRINGE AWARDS INCLUDING
BEST IN FRINGE l OUTSTANDING PERFORMER (ELIZA SANDERS) l MOST INNOVATIVE WORK (CASTLES)
NOMINATED (AGAIN) FOR MOST INNOVATIVE WORK (FEET.US) - NZ FRINGE 2017
RUNNER UP TO BEST ENSEMBLE AND BEST DIRECTED CHAOS (DIRECTING AWARD) - NZ FRINGE 2018
CHARLEY SANDERS - CO ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Charley is a director, dramaturge, and theatre maker, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Acting from the Adelaide College of The Arts (AC Arts) and has trained in Viewpoints, Suzuki and Composition with Tina Mitchell, Zen Zen Zo and SITI Company. Charley currently maintains substantial practices in both Adelaide and Sydney.
Charley has worked in the arts since the age of 5; first as a classical boy soprano, then as a musical theatre performer, an actor, and since 2010 as a director and producer.
In 2010 Charley established ‘Early Worx’ and served as Artistic Director for four years. The company created 10 works, 3 return seasons, and toured to the Edinburgh Fringe. Their numerous awards included Charley’s 2011 receipt of the Adelaide Critics Circle Emerging Artist of the Year.
Charley served as director and dramaturge on Trans Scripts for Paul Lucas Productions (NYC), an on-again-off-again engagement lasting over two years and including developments and performances in New York, New Jersey, Dorset, London, and Adelaide.
Charley has worked extensively as a freelance director including for Opera Australia (2nd Assistant Director, Cosi Fan Tutte, dir. Sir David McVicar) State Theatre Company SA (assistant director, Maggie Stone, dir. Geordie Brookman) Lambert House Enterprises(Flood) ActNow (co-director, Zero Feet Away) and as a teaching-director in the tertiary acting course at AC Arts (Titus Andronicus, Mother Courage, O Go My Man, Slavs, 5 Years).
Charley is currently Artists & Venue Services Manager for Sydney Fringe Festival.
ELIZA SANDERS - CO ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Eliza is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Dance Performance from the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) and is a certified Countertechnique teacher. Her creative practice utilises improvisation focusing on anatomical exploration and uninhibited voice work. Eliza’s work involves a prevalence of theatrical absurdity, the integration of text with movement and integrated stage and costume design.
Eliza has created multiple works on Footnote Dance Company, QL2 and The New Zealand School of Dance. She is a key artist on the Make a Move program that works with school teachers for the Australian National Curriculum. Eliza works as a teacher of dance, improvisation and yoga around Australia and New Zealand with students age 5-65.
As a dancer Eliza has worked for, The World of Wearable Art, The Australian Dance Party, QL2, Java Dance Theatre, Body Cartography and Battleground Productions. She is a member of the Sound and Fury Ensemble and regularly performs as an independent cabaret & burlesque performer.
In 2017 Eliza collaborated with photographer Lorna Sim on a series of images. An exhibition of these titled Enigma featured at The Photo Room in Canberra in May/ June 2017.
SUZANNE MERRALL - CREATIVE PRODUCER
Executive Producer Suzanne Merrall excels at realising seedling concepts, developing ideas and delivering outcomes that exceed expectation.
With over twenty years’ experience as a producer and manager of creative works, projects and space, Suzanne possesses an uncanny ability to realise projects of true significance. Classically trained in Dance, Speech and Drama, Suzanne began her career as a ‘Realisateur’ in the early 90s in Paris. Since then she has produced work across four continents - devising, producing and touring work in Turkey, Britain, South Africa, Brazil, India, The Gambia, The Cook Islands and Australia and has worked with, and/or mentored, some of the world’s most influential Arts professionals.
‘Suzanne has created a unique blend of flexible, creative and strategic arts projects, ensuring that the organisation (ootb) is at the forefront of making arts accessible and relevant.’ (City of Edinburgh Council, Head of Arts Strategy) One of Scotland’s pioneers of multi-disciplinary, cross art-form collaborations, Suzanne has worked with artists and productions of all genres. She is a creative with a broad range of practical and pragmatic skills, who excels at problem solving and capacity building. A master fund raiser and highly experienced financial manager, Suzanne is particularly adept at working within challenging and often unconventional environments and has done so both as a manager and producer.
Suzanne has produced work in Britain’s largest theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse (A Concert for Kosovo attracting an audience of 3,000), a busy railway platform (SCO splinter group with Performance Artist and Activist Annemarie Culhane), suspended from a crane on the side of a mountain (technically complex and spectacular, Sister Sister written by Iranian filmmaker and political activist Roxana Pope), in Community Centres in Scottish housing schemes and Highland church halls (Hip-Hoda, an exploration of creativity born of oppression, Hip-Hop and Capoeira, devised by Allan Irvine (Scotland) and Mestre Chamine (Brazil)), Prince’s Street Gardens, Edinburgh (the Queen’s official Golden Jubilee Concert, for the City of Edinburgh Council), a disused warehouse (Adelaide Fringe venue, curation included The Border Project & Driller Jet Armstrong), an Imax Cinema, (Adelaide Fringe Club and Inaugural Award Ceremony, co-productions with Adelaide Fringe), a tent (Trash Test Dummies ‘Best Children’s Performance’ 2015), 2 libraries, 2 hotels, 2 cinemas and a masonic lodge, (Australian International Documentary Conference).
Though Art has always been the vehicle, the fuel driving her work has always been social justice. Incredibly prolific and successful, Suzanne is currently working as an independent creative and producer.
Owen McCarthy - Designer
Owen Iosefa McCarthy is a freelance performance designer working across New Zealand. Since graduating from Toi Whakaari’s Bachelor of Design for Stage and Screen in 2011 he has been collaborating with theatre, dance and film practitioners to develop scenographic design solutions.
His diverse practice requires him to work in many different roles to create set, costume, lighting and projection elements for live performance.
Stephen Sewell - Playwright
Well known for his film and theatre work, including his AFI Award winning script of The Boys(1998) as well as plays such as The Blind Giant Is Dancing, It Just Stopped and Kandahar Gate Sewell is one of the most celebrated and experienced writers in Australia. He chaired the Australian National Playwrights Centre for a number of years and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a two year Australia Council Literary Fellowship. and the prestigious ANCP Award for Significant Contribution to Australian Theatre (2004).
Sewell has worked as theatre writer, dramaturg, screenwriter, script editor, theatre and film director, lecturer, workshop supervisor and speaker. His work has covered a wide variety of fields and activities, from cabaret to musical theatre, drama and as screenwriter or script editor with some of Australia's most significant films. In addition to his theatrical and film careers, Sewell has published three novels, Babylon, Animal Kingdom and The Captive and numerous articles, as well as conducting writing intensives.
His directorial debut, the feature film Embedded, was released recently and he is casting his second feature film, Sometimegirl. Sewell is Head of Writing for Performance at NIDA, in Sydney.
Sophie Gargan - Dancer
Mario Spate - Composer
Mario Späte (aka Badcop) is a producer / writer / sound designer / mixing engineer based in South Australia. His work takes him from contemporary music to theatre and television. Mario has worked and written with some of the biggest names in Australian music, toured internationally and his productions have received airplay on Triple J and commercial radio.
Mario co-wrote and produced Tkay Maidza's break-out singles 'Brontosaurus' and 'Handle My Ego' putting her in the Australian conscience. Other artists he's worked with include; Allday, Urthboy, Woodes, Evan Klar, Heaps Good Friends, MANE, Flamingo, JP Fung, Nakatomi, Nicole Millar, KLP, Jake Stone (Bluejuice), Okenyo, The Land Below (Sweden) and ARIA winning artists, Megan Washington and Montaigne.
His theatre credits include compositions for Patch Theatre, No Strings Attached, Restless Dance and the Adelaide Centre for the Arts. Co-founder of The Misery Children Theatre Company, the company won a coveted Melbourne Greenroom Award for their self-devised show Mutzenball and a Critics Circle Award for his score of Bash and Sons & Mothers.
His work on the show 19 Weeks received huge claim, with a sell-out season during the Adelaide Fringe. It also received the top prize of Best Theatre 2017 and was invited to the Edinburgh Fringe and a season in New York. His work has had several major commercial synchs including national ads for Mazda and Samsung here and in the USA. Recently he made his television debut, composing the score for Closer Productions ABC show, F*!king Adelaide.
Anna Cheney - Actor
Anna is a multi-award winning actor currently based in Sydney after graduating from the Adelaide College of the Arts and receiving the South Australian Rising Star Award during her final year.
Recently Anna's performance credits include starring in Jackie Chan's international blockbuster Bleeding Steel, performing alongside Richard Roxburgh in ABC TV's Rake and touring Australia with David Walliams' hit comedy Mr. Stink directed by Jonathan Biggins. She has toured numerous productions with Bell Shakespeare including Romeo and Juliet at the Sydney Opera House and The Melbourne Arts Centre. She has performed for State Theatre SA and was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with critically acclaimed, sell-out show Love Child.
Other screen credits include McLeod’s Daughters, Oranges and Sunshine and Look Both Ways. Theatre credits include Sweeney Todd, Orphans, Centrelink the Musical, Richard III, The Laramie Project and The Dark Room.
Anna is a proud and active member of the Equity Diversity Committee.
Stephanie Howe - Designer
Stephanie Howe is a set and costume designer who works across theatre, circus and film. She is a design graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) as well as an arts graduate from the Australian National University (ANU). Stephanie has always been drawn to the performing arts because of its collaborative nature, its immediacy to audience, and its capability for powerful storytelling. She is particularly drawn to works of a political nature.
Recent works include set & costume design for Puss in Boots (Sydney City Recital Hall), Precipice (National Institute of Circus Art), Animal Farm, (Monkey Baa Theatre) and costume design for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (The Old Fitz Theatre). Upcoming work includes a circus/ballet of The Rite of Spring (NICA). This is her third collaboration with director Charles Sanders.
Laura Beanland-Stephens - Dancer
Workplace welfare at house of sand
House of Sand is committed to a safe, respectful and diverse working environment - at all times, on all projects and for all collaborators.
We seek only ever to work with artists who are uniformly respectful, professional and pure of intention. We believe that every artist we choose to work with fulfils and exceeds this baseline. This being said, we recognise that issues can occur and it is our commitment to all artists to resolve any such issues in a timely and appropriate manner.
At House of Sand it's our belief that no level of talent, skill or fame excuses inappropriate or unlawful behaviour. We seek to work with the best artist for each role, and that artists will also be the best member of the team: respectful, appropriate and professional.
You can read our full Code of Conduct and Workplace Bullying and Sexual Harrassment Policy HERE
Workplace welfare officer
House of Sand has appointed Anna Cheney as our Workplace Welfare officer - only our fourth 'official' member of staff after the co-artistic directors and Creative Producer Suzanne Merrall. Anna is a long time advocate of diversity and fairness in the arts and sits on the Equity Diversity Committee. In her role as Workplace Welfare Officer she acts as an advocate for artists' welfare within House of Sand. Thanks for your ongoing work in this field Anna - You're a great asset to House of Sand and the arts community!