Graduates of CPPM, Estonian performance artists Liisa Saaremäel and Keithy Kuuspu, have received nominations for the esteemed prize at the Estonian Annual Theatre Awards in the performance art category.

Liisa Saaremäel has been acknowledged for her directorial work in the production of “Scream Box” at Kanuti Gildi SAAL. “Scream Box” is a concert performance that delves into the realm of tiny vocal cords and resounding screams. Whether the screams emanate from fangirls, moments of birth or demise, an open mouth merely serves as an image; it is the moist chords that truly resonate. With its slimy dance, the performance oscillates between intimacy and repetition, akin to children’s games or fervent exchanges between relentless lovers. Through this slippery journey, viewers descend into the anatomy of deceitful tears and the most candid confessions. Moreover, Liisa Saaremäel has also earned a nomination for the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in the production “Teoreem” at the Estonian Drama Theatre.

Meanwhile, Keithy Kuuspu‘s directorial prowess in “Paus istu mine” at Sõltumatu Tantsu Lava and Ģertrūdes ielas teātris has earned her a nomination in the performance art category. “Paus istu mine” (Standstill) captures a fragment of time, extracted from the daily ebb and flow, scrutinised under a magnifying glass in pursuit of a momentary pause, a stillness. The performance seeks to uncover moments of tension through the uncanny and the sublime, whether by evoking a slightly off-kilter familiarity or inducing a sense of perverse ecstaticism, displacing reality and revealing experiences in their raw essence, devoid of any attached meanings.

Liisa Saaremäel (1992) is a freelance performance artist and actress whose artistic endeavours and research centre around societal coexistence from an individual’s perspective, where confined spaces play a crucial poetic role. Recently awarded an MA degree from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in contemporary performing arts (CPPM), her diploma project and site-specific performance “Tiny Home Production presents: SUUREM-KUI-ELU (2021)” secured an Estonian theatre award in the performance art category.

Keithy Kuuspu (1994) hails from Tallinn, Estonia, and is a performance and dance artist. Her practice often involves deconstructing mundane structures and exploring the influence of society on individuals, often through ironic and naive lenses. She is particularly intrigued by the manipulation of time and space, advocating for a slowdown in both oneself and processes before and after outcomes. The integration of visual and performance art, as well as the exploration of connections between the body and materials, are central to her creative process. Her recent directorial works include “Paus istu mine” (STL, 2023), the Estonian Pavilion “Home Stage” at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 (collaboration with Liisa Saaremäel), “False Falling” (EMTA, STL, 2021), and “Body Slam” (with Liisa Saaremäel, 2022).

The winners will be announced on International Theatre Day. We extend our heartfelt wishes to Liisa Saaremäel and Keithy Kuuspu for a successful outcome. Good luck!