Suspect Culture – One Of Scotland’s Leading Theatre Companies

Suspect Culture was an experimental theatre company based in Glasgow between 1993 and 2009. It was made up of a small administrative team and core group of associate artists who collaborated in making groundbreaking, high quality new work with an international reputation. Over the course of its 16 year history the company worked with some of the most respected artists and organisations in the UK and internationally, creating new performance work in theatre, and more latterly, visual art and film.

Suspect Culture is one of Scotland’s leading theatre companies. Our mission is:

  • to work with artists from around the world
  • to tour nationally and internationally
  • to satisfy our curiosity about the world we live in

To us, a collaborative approach means giving text, design, music and performance equal weight in all our work. The director, writer, designer and composer are involved from the very beginning of each new idea, which is then developed through a long process of workshops and rehearsal before being presented to an audience. This emphasis on collaboration is reflected in the way we credit artists and assign authorship, which is always shared among the artistic team.

The company is led by Artistic Director Graham Eatough and consists of a small producing team and a group of associate artists from around the world who come together regularly to collaborate on projects.

Whilst working primarily in theatre, Suspect Culture also develops work in other media and curates an annual symposium called Strange Behaviour, which seeks to explore relationships between theatre and other apparently unrelated disciplines. Subjects for Strange Behaviour have included Sciences of the Mind, Mathematics, Divinity and Economics.

Who’s who

The Company

  • Graham Eatough Artistic Director
    Graham co-founded Suspect Culture in 1992 and has been the company’s Artistic Director since 1995. He has been involved in all Suspect Culture’s productions, and has also directed work for the Tron theatre, 7:84 and Cryptic Productions. He has directed short film with the Film Council’s Digicult Project, and has worked as a performer in film, television and theatre. He received a Creative Scotland Award in 2001.
  • Purni Morell Administrative Producer
    Purni joined the company as Administrative Producer in 2004. She was formerly Literary Assistant at the Royal National Theatre, Literary Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre California and has translated for the Traverse Theatre, Muziektheater Transparant (Belgium) and Speeltheater Holland.

  • David Morgan
    Administrator
    David is the company’s Administrator. He previously worked as Front of House/Box Office Manager at Gilmorehill G12 and was Front of House Manager for Glasgow Repertory Company’s Bard in the Botanics 2003 season. He is a graduate of Glasgow University and has written about music and film.

  • Brian Daly
    Finance Officer
    Brian joined Suspect Culture as Finance Officer in 2005, and works part-time for several arts organisations in Glasgow. He was formerly active in property and metal trading.

Associate Artists

  • Renato Gabrielli
    Renato is a playwright, actor and director based in Milan. He was dramaturg at Teatro Stabile di Brescia from 1997 – 2001 and currently teaches drama at the Universitá Cattolica di Brescia. His double-bill Death in the City was performed at the Tron Theatre, and his play A Mobile Thriller won a Herald Angel award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2004. He co-writes the TV drama L’Albero Azzurro.
  • David Greig
    David is a co-founder of Suspect Culture, for whom he regularly writes text. His work outside the company includes San Diego, Outlying Islands, The Speculator, Victoria, Caledonia Dreaming, The Architect, Dr Korzcak’s Example, The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, Danny 3006 + Me, Petra, Europe & Stalinland.
    Andrés Lima
    Andrés is an actor, writer and director based in Madrid. Since 1991, he has directed around 20 productions, often working with Compania Riesgo, which he founded in 1993, and Animalario, the company which he runs together with long-time collaborator Alberto San Juan. He appeared in Suspect Culture’s Airport in 1996, and worked on Casanova in 2000. He is best known for Pornografía Barata  (2002) Alejandro y Ana. Lo que España no pudo ver del banquete de la boda de la hija del presidente (2003), which won Best Play Award at the Gala de los Premios Max. Animalario received a similar award for Best Company in 2003. Andrés also works as an actor in film and television.
    Patrick Macklin
    Patrick is a graphic designer and together with Louisa MacIver runs Frozen River, working on print and web. He has designed for Suspect Culture since 1998. Other clients include Cineworks, Playwrights Studio, BAA, Kaffe Matthews, The Glasgow School of Art, The Hidden Gardens and Savalas. He lectures at Glasgow School of Art and has exhibited in Britain, Barcelona and Brussels. He is also co-founder of the art and design collective ‘Lapland’.
    Maurício Paroni de Castro
    Maurício Paroni de Castro is a Brazilian director working regularly in Italy, where he studied and later taught at the Scuola D’Arte Drammatica Piccolo Teatro in Milan. He studied with many of Europe’s leading directors, including Tadeusz Kantor and Heiner Müller, and has himself directed over 30 plays in Italy, the UK and Brazil, Portugal and Norway, including work by Renato Gabrielli and Andres Lima. For Suspect Culture, he also worked on Airport, Candide 2000 and The Golden Ass. He has taught drama at many schools intrenationally, including the RSAMD in Glasgow, and has worked and written with the film director Beto Brant.
    Nick Powell
    Nick has been an important part of the company since the start. He has written the music for 14 productions. Recent work outside the company includes The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Tron) and The Wolves in the Walls (Improbable Theatre/Vicky Featherstone) and Death in Gaza (HBO). Nick regularly works with Paines Plough, 7:84, Improbable Theatre, Frantic Assembly, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Animalario (Madrid) and on scores for film and TV. He released three albums with Strangelove and is currently one half of the band Oskar.
    Sergio Romano
    Sergio is one of Italy’s leading stage actors trained at the Scuole d’Arte Dramatica in Milan, and is best-known in Italy for his award-winning performances in Hamlet (1994) and as Iago (2001) for Teatro Il Rossetti in Trieste. In 2000 he appeared in Suspect Culture’s The Golden Ass (Tron). Other theatre work includes La Moscheta, I Due Gemelli Veneziani and Questa Sera Si Recita A Soggetodirected by M.Castri. Films include La Vita Altrui and Da Zero a Dieci and La Terza Stella.
    Ian Scott
    Ian has created set and lighting designs for Suspect Culture since 1996. He has worked with Graeae, 7:84, Abbey Theatre Dublin, Royal National Theatre, Citizens’ Theatre, LIFT, Paines Plough, Sphinx, David Glass Ensemble, Opera Circus and Blast Theory, as well as for environmental design projects. He recently designed the Ice Rink at Somerset House, the new party area at Madame Tussaud’s and the Unknown Amazon exhibition at the British Museum.

The Board

  • David Williams (Chair)
    David is Chief Executive of the Kings and Theatre Royal Glasgow; The Ambassador Theatre Group manages both. David sits on two other Boards: Glasgow Grows Audiences, the new audience development agency for Glasgow; and Market, a contemporary art gallery in Dennistoun.
    Hugh Hodgart
    Hugh is Course Leader and Head of Acting at RSAMD, Glasgow. He was Associate Director for TAG Theatre at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, before serving as Associate Director at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh for nine years. He has directed a wide range of plays, both classic and contemporary, and has also lectured and conducted workshops in several countries including France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Switzerland and the former USSR.
  • Jeni Iannetta
    Jeni is Director of Communications at Dundee Contemporary Arts.
  • Jack Queen
    Jack joined the board of Suspect Culture in 2003. He spent most of his career in banking, particularly with the Clydesdale Bank, for whom he worked as Head of Planning from 1987 – 1990, and as General Manager from 1990 – 1997. He enjoys golf and sailing, and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
  • Iain Reekie
    Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh.
  • Seona Reid
    Seona has been Director of the Glasgow School of Art since 1999. Prior to that she was Director of the Scottish Arts council for 9 years; Assistant Director (Strategy and Regional Development) of Greater London Arts; Director of Shape; Head of Press and Publicity for Ballet Rambert and for Northern Dance Theatre; Business Manager of Lincoln Theatre Royal and a freelance arts consultant working with the Arts Council of Great Britain and the London Contemporary Dance Trust.

History

Suspect Culture was founded at Bristol University in the early 1990s by Graham Eatough, David Greig and Nick Powell.

Their idea was to develop a style that would combine the best traditions of British and European theatre, working with text but giving equal weight to visual and musical elements. This has remained a core approach within the company ever since.

The company initially operated on a profit share basis and presented shows in England, Scotland and abroad. In the early 1990s, Graham and David moved the company to Scotland, and were able to secure project funding for One Way Street (1995), and Airport (1996), which established Suspect Culture as a significant new company on the Scottish scene with regular tours to Europe.

Ian Scott joined the company in 1996 and, over the next few years, Suspect Culture enjoyed considerable success at home and abroad. Timeless was produced by the Edinburgh International Festival in 1997 and was subsequently performed at the Donmar Warehouse. Mainstream was co-produced by the Bush Theatre in 1999 and continues to be performed on a regular basis by other theatres and companies in Europe.

Suspect Culture’s interest in drawing on the different theatre traditions of other countries led to our developed relationships with a number of international artists, whom we work with on a regular basis, including Mauricio Paroni de Castro (Brazil), Andres Lima (Spain), Sergio Romano and Renato Gabrielli (Italy) who all joined the company as associate artists.

The artists involved in Suspect Culture have enjoyed considerable success in their careers outwith the company throughout its development, and in 2003 Suspect Culture was restructured to consist of a core staff of four, supporting a growing team of associate artists who continue to be involved in projects on a regular basis while also pursuing independent careers.

Today the company is based at CCA in Glasgow, with a core team of Graham Eatough (Artistic Director), Purni Morell (Administrative Producer), David Morgan (Administrator) and Brian Daly (Finance Officer).

Strange Behaviour

Strange Behaviour is a series of symposia that brings together theatre practitioners and people working in other fields, in order to share perspectives and experiences and see where potential connections might be made.

‘The events are called Strange Behaviour because when we first started we were constantly asked why a theatre company would want to spend its time and resources outside the rehearsal room, investigating apparently unrelated fields – but the motive is quite simple, and in its way quite radical. We do it because it’s interesting. Knowledge today is increasingly divided up, compartmentalised and given over to specialists, and yet, as the sales of popular science books show, there seems to be a hunger in people for a space where our curiosity about the world can be indulged. Where ideas can be discussed [and] connections made with out the need for products, results, or measurable educational goals. So the aim of ‘Strange Behaviour’ is simply to see what happens when two worlds of knowledge and experience briefly collide. There is no point. We’re not look for answers or researching a project. We simply assume that you, like us, enjoy the process of exploration for its own sake’.

–David Greig, Strange Behaviour 2001

Strange Behaviour is open to anyone who is keen to explore theatre and/or economics from new perspectives and is intended to act as a free forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of issues.