RAW: Charles Sanders In Profile

The current creative artist in residence at Light Square’s Higher Ground, Charlie Sanders, is a star in the making; though in which facet of the arts that light will reach its zenith can’t be much foretold at this point.

Raised in Canberra and inspired at any early age by Jon English and Simon Gallagher in the 1990’s production of Pirates of Penzance, Charles got his first opportunity in theatre at the age of seven as one of the two cabin boys in another Gilbert and Sullivan musical, HMS Pinafore. His love for musical theatre including cabaret was born there.

Having accepted an offer to study at Arts SA, Sanders speaks with respect and enthusiasm for his lead teacher there, Terry Crawford, who saw it as his role to expose his students to every theory about acting and mode of learning that craft that he could and then let each student decide from there on what best suits them to advance with.

Sanders chose the teachings of Rudolf von Laban, the Hungarian dance artist and theorist who believed motion and emotion should work together and be synchronised to achieve the job at hand.

Upon graduating, Charles chose the hard but well worn path of other graduates in starting up their own theatre companies for the purpose of showing off their talents, whether as actor, director or impresario. It is in Early Worx, resident at Higher Ground, that Sanders is now developing his skills (along with his co-founders Amy Victoria Brooks and Velalien.)

For the Cabaret Fringe Festival, his one man show, A Modest Exhibit, (a reprise of the show put on during the Fringe in February) drew rave reviews though Charlie jokes he was amazed that his black pants seemed to attract as much comment as his singing. The Cabaret Confessional wrote of the performance, ‘Sanders gives an exquisitely nuanced performance in this return season and takes the show to a new level.’ This blog was equally as enthused stating ‘In a word Charles Sanders is amazing. His vocal strength is accompanied by a confidence and athleticism that makes this a stunning show.’

This month, Sanders directs two works by Carly Churchill, Seven Jewish Children, a deeply political piece about the state of Israel and families and how they communicate in times of fear or oppression and Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen, a play written in the 1970s dealing with over population.

As the man charged with bringing these works together, Sanders also is in charge of promotion and negotiations with various parties, including Higher Ground supremo, Dush Kumar – all tough gigs that will stand him in good stead should he wish to pursue the Guy Masterson approach to a life in the arts.

Where all this will lead him, he does not yet know himself. While expressing his love for cabaret (which is obviously backed by no small modicum of talent) Sanders quips ‘there is not much demand for skinny androgynous fags in theatre.’

While committed to a large program of works for 2012, including two co-productions with other companies, Sanders says that 2013 may see him working in a creative capacity, perhaps for a festival such as Feast (for which he is producing the play 121 this year.)

However it works out, Adelaide audiences with a keenness to support developing star talent ought to find the time to get behind Sanders’ Early Worx productions before this talent too moves on to greener pastures.

Images By Harry Pearce

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