Aletia Upstairs is a doctor of archival performance, cabaretist, performance activist, singer-songwriter, vintage songstress, lecturer and performance producer. Current work — Songs My Lovers Didn’t Understand:
She is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher with a practice situated in the performing archives, autobiographical, verbatim, postdramatic, and participatory-immersive performance frameworks, who investigates the subjective archives of the audience-participants through intercultural, interlingual, sculptural performances imbued with music, poetry, and puppetry.
Her PhD research was vastly different from that of a traditional researcher working with an archive as she was performing the documents of ephemeral events in the Richard Demarco Archive. The methodologies she created, which include using verbatim (from primary research interviews) as song lyrics, can be applied universally in archival performance making. Read her PhD on the Portfolio page.
She teaches European Theatre Arts — Tadeusz Kantor (and related practitioners and theorists) and Dramaturgies of the Real — Bertold Brecht (and related practitioners and theorists).
She was a nominee of the QX Cabaret Awards in 2019 and a finalist for Jazz Idol with the London Gay Big Band in 2017. Her skills have been acknowledged in 5-star reviews for ‘A Queer Love of Dix’ at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 and for ‘The Artist as Explorer’ at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. She was awarded the Kantor Demarco award for ‘Emballage’ in 2016. In 2015 she won a PhD scholarship to Leeds Beckett University and in 2009 she won a scholarship to The International Cabaret Conference at Yale.
In addition to 5 solo cabaret shows, she has composed and produced 4 solo albums and her original music is available on all online platforms. During 2020 and 2021 she was involved in numerous online performance collaborations and started her site-responsive activist performance practice.