A not so still life – an interview with Sue MacLaine

1 September 2015

we can tell a hundred different versions of our life story depending on our audience

Sue MacLaine is a Brighton-based theatre-maker, performer and playwright. In her show Still life: an audience with Henrietta Moraes audiences are given sketch pads and pencils, and invited to draw the nude MacLaine during the show, staged as a life-drawing class.

Henrietta was model and muse to Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and latterly, Maggi Hambling, and the uncrowned Queen of the 1950s Soho set. The show was shortlisted for a Total Theatre award in 2012 and received Most Groundbreaking Act award in the Brighton Festival 2011.

ISTA artist and trustee member Dinos Aristidou interviewed Sue in Brighton on Tuesday 9th June 2015.

Dinos: With this performance you have the visual side and the theatre side – how did that all start and happen?
Sue: It started with me reading Henrietta Moraes’ obituary…

Dinos: … who was described as a bohemian – as a job…
Sue: (Laughs) Yes, and I just thought that was really fascinating. I have always been interested in obituaries or in articles where they show a photograph of a young self and an old self and the bit that happens in-between – that life – it brings out a real softness and a compassionate curiosity. Because more often than not people look worse; there’s been a deterioration. So there was that in her obituary: how does this life that starts in this photograph become this life in this other photograph?

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