James Sugg

2010 Pew Fellow

1/7: James Sugg, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/7: James Sugg in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Chekhov Lizardbrain, 2007. Photo courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company.
3/7: James Sugg in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Chekhov Lizardbrain, 2007. Photo courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company.
4/7: James Sugg in The Sea, 20076. Photo courtesy of the artist.
5/7: James Sugg (far left) in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Welcome to Yuba City, 2009. Photo courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company.
6/7: Orestes: A Tragic Romp, 2010, directed by Aaron Posner and composed by James Sugg. Photo courtesy of James Sugg.
7/7: Orestes: A Tragic Romp, 2010, directed by Aaron Posner and composed by James Sugg. Photo courtesy of James Sugg.

“I want to wake up the audience, make them wonder where they have ended up, erase lines of easy supposition.”

James Sugg (b. 1968) describes himself as a bridge—a bridge between music and theater, composer and performer, and traditional and ensemble-generated theater. Well known for his collaborative work with Philadelphia’s celebrated interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company—with whom he won an Obie Award in 2009 for his role in Chekhov Lizardbrain—Sugg finds himself on the precipice of a new stage in his career, in which he hopes to create new work beyond the collaborative experience. “Finding inspiration in solitude is one of my greatest insecurities,” Sugg admits. “Yet I believe it is my unavoidable next step as I strive to make great compositional work.” One of the region’s most lauded theater artists, Sugg has received four Barrymore Awards for his work as a sound designer and composer, as well as the F. Otto Haas Emerging Theater Artist Award in 2005. Sugg has made 17 original works with Pig Iron and worked with several local companies and theaters; he now stands poised to make an enduring contribution to the field. “The very nature of [my] concerns is the search for the ‘unknown,’ and therefore is not about how one makes theater, but how one makes the space in which vibrant theater can be made.”


References

Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys are 2013 Pew Fellows, founding partners of PEG office of landscape + architecture, and PennDesign faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Through the Center-funded project An Artist Embedded in History, Ain Gordon unveils the first part of his new play, created in residency at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

A new chamber opera by composer-in-residence Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek.

Grants & Grantees

In 2005 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 66 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

Classical Arab musician Kinan Abou-afach (Pew Fellow, 2013) was born in Damascus, Syria, where he learned traditional Arabic repertoire on the oud, an Arabic lute.

Filmmaker and Pew Fellow Heidi Saman recalls the first film that influenced her practice, what inspires her to tell stories of the immigrant experience, and more.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, The Philadelphia Inquirer celebrates ten years of Martha Graham Cracker, the alter ego of theater artist Dito van Reigersberg. Poet Major Jackson has published a new book with W.W. Norton & Company, and visual artist Gabriel Martinez opens a solo show at The Print Center this fall. DJ King Britt and performance artist Kate Watson-Wallace will co-curate a new music series as part of the 2015 Fringe Festival in September.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Independent theater artist Madi Distefano is the founder and former artistic director of Brat Productions, a company dedicated to “caus[ing] a stir.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

Gaye Taylor Upchurch is a freelance director living in New York. She is an alumna of Women’s Project Directors Lab and the Drama League.

Grants & Grantees

Thaddeus Phillips produced his largest show to date: an original musical about the delirious final days of Edgar Allen Poe’s life, which he spent traveling between New York and Richmond.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Bruce Allardice has been the managing director of the multidisciplinary Ping Chong + Company since 1988. He was a Center panelist in theater in 2010.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presents, develops, and commissions a range of high-quality contemporary performing and visual arts in Philadelphia.