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A New World to Explore

Tanya Cusan-Espinosa is a Colombian born artist living and working in the UK. Exposed to puppetry at an early age by a visit to Prague with her Czech father, she later become a performing artist, working and creating as an actor, dancer, puppeteer, director, choreographer and singer.
Tanya founded Cusan Theatre Productions in 2000, directing, creating and performing interactive street theatre, shows, walkabouts and workshops, using life size puppets, themes and characters that are inspired by Latin American Culture. In 2007, a hip operation left Tanya wondering how she would be able to continue her career as a performer. “Initially, I was filled with fear”, says Tanya, “and after the operation, while lying in bed for months, I started making these characters, and they were bigger… what I had in my mind at the time was that if I couldn’t move again, they will move for me, so by creating these characters, I was allowing myself to continue to do what I love - my career as a performing artist.”
Tanya’s latest production, Arnold’s World, builds on her varied artistic experiences and skills as well as her Colombian heritage. The show was inspired by the original story Las Aventuras de Arnold by South American writer Cecilia Espinosa. Arnold’s World is not just a performance for audiences to watch from their seats though, as Tanya’s audience actually enter Arnold’s World. The 50 minute performance of Arnold’s World is followed by a 30 minute exploration of the set by the audience. The set of is a tactile, sculptural installation that can be investigated by using sight and touch by the audience. Cusan describes the set as “a visual feast of colour, narrative, textures, costumes and landscapes made from textiles and recycled materials.” The show was created after Tanya approached Scrap in Leeds, and explored the possibility of a Creative Partnership with them, as Tanya describes, “After receiving the funding from ACE to create our new show Arnold’s World, myself and Jane Morland headed down to the wonderful new place where Scrap is now based thinking…. This is it!” Tanya adds, “We talked to Louise Lucas about the idea of being in residency at Scrap for 4 weeks to make and create our new show. By creating the piece in this way we established a constant open dialogue with people visiting the Scrap store, public, teachers, children, careers, other artists and the Mill community. It was a fantastic way of enriching the work and the artistic team promoting new platforms and approaches. The materials used for the creation of Arnold’s World are objects and fabrics that are available at Scrap, this, with the intention of using recycled materials wherever possible, to invent new life for them”. Tanya worked alongside 9 artists on the making of the show, with Alan Pergusey making Arnold, music being specially composed for the show, and with costumes and tactile worlds made by a team of highly skilled and talented artist.

Alan Pergusey - Visual artists, maker sculptor (Maker of Arnold)
Jane Morland – Performing Artist
Sergio Cusan-Espinosa of Cusan Theatre Productions
Maria Ximena Doody - textile artist, painter and ceramicist
Rhian Kempadoo Millar – Textile artist, designer
Mariana Arboleda Cusan – student from the Leeds College of art and Design
Jo Knowles Visual artist, maker
Nabarro Steel Audio – professional audio production service

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A New World to Explore

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