Zia Soares

Lisbon, Portugal

Zia Soares is a theatre director and interdisciplinary artist

ph_Estelle Valente

Zia Soares is a theatre director and a performer. Daughter of an Angolan mother and a Timorese father, Zia Soares was born in Bié, Angola, and lives in Lisbon, Portugal. She is the first black female artistic director of a theater company in Portugal. Besides Portugal, she also works regularly in Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.

She attended the Philosophy Course at the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Lisbon and the MA in Scenic Arts at the NOVA University of Lisbon – School of Social Sciences and Humanities. At the beginning of her career, she also worked in ballet and percussion with the National Ballet Company of Guinea-Bissau, and circus skills and arts at the Amsterdam Balloon Company.

Zia Soares is the artistic director of Teatro GRIOT (a theatre company based in Lisbon, Portugal, whose work arises from the tension between body and territory, collective memory and individual memory, collective imaginary and individual imaginary), where she staged, among others, The Laughter of the Scavengers, by her authorship – nominated for “Best Show” of the International Prize of Teresa Pamodoro (Italy), and A Dance of the Forests by Wole Soyinka.

Zia Soares has been developing performing arts workshops with black communities living in municipal neighbourhoods located on the margins of Lisbon, Portugal.

Zia Soares is an artist supported by apap – Feminist Futures, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.

“From very early, I developed strategies to move between territories, physicals and symbolics, and I became increasingly skilled in the construction of transgression mechanisms. This structuring of myself forces me to transit the world in a state of extreme lucidity and many times to such a point that can not be differentiated from delirium.

The work I’ve been developing, in collaboration with interdisciplinary artists, is based on my willingness to experiment transgression strategies on the place of performance, questioning its borders, opening spatio-temporal discontinuities, relating: images, gestures, sounds, speeches, that potentially, can derive on scene.

One of my latest work, The Laughter of the Scavengers, sprang from a violent event, a massacre – it is about massacred bodies which open up to a kind of limbo, and where the dead escape the linearity of time and the causal restraints of the living; bodies that transfigure the scene as the remains and fragments of the carnage are devoured.

I am interested in the polysemy that is established in the impossibility of archiving memories.”