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A Sapphic Affair

"And on soft mats, /Girls with all that they most wished for beside them"

Created and Directed by Luciana Silvestre Fernandes 

A Maenad's Theatre Production presented by Eastern Front Theatre on the main stage of Stages Festival

Performed at Alderney Landing Theatre June 7-10

Photography: Jamer Arthus Mclean 

Sound Designer: Olivia Wheeler

Performers: Emma James and Luciana S. Fernandes

Stage Management by Thunder Defayette


This project was born out of the desire to embody myself intimately in my art, to bridge practices and communities, to increase the representation of queer love and kink through a positive feminine lens, and to honour the work of Sappho.

Her verse begs me to be expressed through movement and restriction.

In this project, the medium of shibari is the story. Rope bondage can be an empowering form of connection and a type of power play: the vulnerability and trust involved in yielding and receiving full control over another's body is true and deep.

The practice is filled with beautiful human contradictions of empowerment and control through submission (as the person being tied is the one who is truly in control of the scene), and of service through dominance (the person tying is truly serving the person being tied).


"The use of Shibari allowed the audience a myriad of different interpretations. The act of one woman gently tying another up seemed to exist on one plane as a realistic element in this relationship, but it also seemed symbolic, and inviting analysis. Both women from the beginning of the piece wear ropes around themselves, perhaps suggesting the constrains they feel in their society, the pressures they feel to conform, or the expectations from their families, but then they also have agency over the rope, they can use it to become closer to one another, both physically, and emotionally. At one point Fernandes is able to move James’ limbs like a marionettist, showing the amount of control she has over her partner, or, conversely, showing how much trust James has in her. They are able to pull one another closer, but with just a snip of a pair of scissors they can be irrevocably separated. 


A Sapphic Affair is a captivating and imaginative piece that explores the depth of connection between lovers, and the audience feels that immense depth so ardently because of course the trust between the characters is mirrored in the trust required between the two performers.

Here the lines blur in a very interesting way, between fact and fiction, real and imaginary, and this is evocative of Sappho’s stitched-together legacy as well."

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