Elina Cerpa

Elina Cerpa

DAS Theatre

performance/theatre maker


When I create I don’t allow myself to think about an audience. At least not in the beginning. For me the confrontation is difficult but it’s very rewarding to perform before a knowledgeable audience.

What does the profession you have studied and trained for mean to you?

It means everything and it means nothing. It means breathing but also a vacuum. It means losing yourself and finding yourself again and again. It means being in a bottomless cloudy space with stones floating in mid-air. So you jump from one stone to another and are happy every time you  reach a new stone.


Elina Cerpa studied film directing and made performances for The New Riga Theatre before she came to DasArts. As she was mainly occupied in repertory theatre, she went to DasArts to develop theatre practices involving "real people". Out of her fascination for and research into amateur photographers, she developed her Master Proof. She worked with an Iraqi photographer (an asylum seeker) and his stories about his father's photo studio in Baghdad. This archive, which exposed the cultural transformations in Iraq during forty years, was used and re-enacted in her performance, a playful meeting between her, the photographer, and an Iraqi lawyer who lives in Amsterdam. Thanks to her performance, the collection has now found a home in the Tropenmuseum. Currently, Elina lives in the Netherlands and Riga, where she is working within Riga’s theatre infrastructure. Her work is described as a fusion of (documentary) theater, photography and politics.


Before I came to Holland I was making performances for The New Riga Theatre in Latvia. It means I never had to move things on or off stage, nor organise the technical part of the project and worry about publicity. I took it all for granted. Making my first performance in Holland made me understand how difficult it is for young performance makers in Holland to find an audience. To be heard. How short the life of a performance can be. How important the presence of each spectator is. How dirty all the electricity wires are and how good it is to have a home of your own to make performances.

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