2022: Tristan Sharps

Brighton-based theatre artist

Tristan Sharps has been creating large-scale site-specific projects for the past 26 years. He trained at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris in 1988-1990 before performing and creating projects with a variety of companies in the UK and around the world. In 1995/6 he co-devised 2000 inspired by Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler, transforming the Union Chapel in Islington into the fictional world of the hotel Roulettenburg. 

He formed dreamthinkspeak in Brighton in 1999 and the company is now internationally recognised as a key practitioner of site-specific performance. The work interweaves live performance with a wide range of media to create extraordinary journeys that are ambitious, visually layered and popular with audiences wherever they are performed. Productions have taken place in a variety of sites, from an underground abattoir in Clerkenwell, to a disused paper factory in Moscow to the vast Zuidas office complex in Amsterdam. 

Previous Brighton Festival commissions have included Who Goes There? (2001), Don’t Look Back (2003), Underground (2005), Before I Sleep (2010) and The Rest is Silence (2012). The company’s work has also been commissioned and presented by the Barbican, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, LIFT, Somerset House, Liverpool European City of Culture 2008, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and a host of international festivals. 

dreamthinkspeak is an associate company of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival.


'I first visited Syria in 2007, to collaborate on a project in a public underpass in Damascus. I was struck by the warmth, curiosity and also the diversity of the many people I met there. The day I spent with my hosts in the Umayyad Mosque was unforgettable.

The site of the Mosque had previously been a Roman Temple, then a Christian Church. It keeps some architectural elements of both buildings in its current structure and also houses the tomb of John the Baptist.

I believe there is so much more that connects us than divides us. As a descendant of East European immigrants, on my Father’s side, I have always felt a curiosity about other worlds and ways of living.

I’m also drawn to collaborations with people from other practices, especially technology and architecture. I first met Marwa in 2018 after I was inspired by reading her book, The Battle for Home, and I was keen to collaborate with her on a new project I was planning. Now to be working with her as a guest director at Brighton Festival is a huge honour.'