Creativity Spotlight: Cinthia Lilen
Our Creativity Spotlight series features advice on artistic practice, inspiration, and a glimpse into the worlds of artists working in a variety of disciplines.
Cinthia Lilen is an Argentinian theatre maker and drag performer based in London.
"That is a key thing I am working hard to practice, having breaks...When you let your mind breathe, that’s when your thoughts organise themselves and then all of a sudden everything makes sense"
Tell us a bit about yourself, your work, your art, etc.
I am a queer theatre maker and drag performer born in Argentina. Seven years ago I decided I wanted to study theatre abroad and was lucky enough to have parents that could afford such luxuries, I got a place in a drama school and moved to London. It was a huge life change but one I don’t regret in the slightest. Being away from everything that was familiar and ‘safe’ allowed me to be free to find out who I was and what I wanted to do (which changes constantly, or evolves would be a better word).
I do mostly theatre, a lot of devised and new work and I also co-host a Latin American variety show called Barrio at the Southwark Playhouse. I like the work I’m involved in to be socially and politically committed and I have a special interest in LGBTQIA+ issues.
What is your creative practice?
I think I work better when I have other brains to bounce ideas with, I am not so much of a solo artist but more like a collaborator. Even when I do my drag numbers and I have to put them together I always have my partner (who’s also a performer) to chew ideas with and my brother who is a Drag King in Argentina.
How do you stay inspired?
I think the best way to keep the inspiration going is by seeing other art but it is also important to rest! That is a key thing I am working hard to practice, having breaks, doing things you love that help you rest your brain that have nothing to do with productivity (damn capitalism!). When you let your mind breathe, that’s when your thoughts organise themselves and then all of the sudden everything makes sense. At least that’s how my mind works.
What advice would you give to other creatives?
Be yourself. I think I learn that the hard way thinking that because I was a foreigner I would have to change to be part of this industry. It’s not easy, and many people will try to convince you that you are not enough, but there is nothing worse than losing yourself, nothing, I repeat NOTHING is worth that.
I would also say, surround yourself with people you trust and develop your empathy. It’s important we, as artists, are aware of other experiences and understand what are our privileges within our society so we can help one another. I truly believe art is the most powerful tool to educate and if you focus your energy in delivering which ever message you feel passionate about you will always feel proud of what you did.
Plug time! What have you been working on lately?
Since lockdown I have been investing most of my time on my drag. I competed in the Argentinian Drag King contest ‘Carrera De Reyes’ last month and won the crown, so I will be judging the next group of Drag Kings, which is super exciting but unfortunately it starts at 2am London time (it will be an all nighter).
I’ve also recently performed in ‘Euphoria’s Big Broadcast’ who was collecting donations to BLM charities as well as in Lesè Majesté ’s first digital drag show, which is an amazing drag night supporting non binary, trans and performers of colour.
Follow Cinthia to stay up to date with her work: