Lian Cheramie is an army brat originally from Lafayette, Louisiana. Lian received her BFA in Performing Arts at ULL, and she has been involved with Acting Up (in Acadiana) since it began in 2003. As a theatre artist, she enjoys Shakespeare, creating original works, and movement based work. She draws her ideas for her personal work from our Louisiana culture and language. In 2013, Lian collaborated with Sarah Mikayla Brown to create the original two-woman show Cajun Face. From 2013-2016, Lian and Sarah toured the show around the Acadiana area, as well as the New Orleans Fringe and the Chicago Fringe Festivals. In 2018, Lian and Sarah wrote and performed Cajun Face 2:The Tanties with a final performance in February 2020. In 2018 and 2022, Lian collaborated with Anna Laura Edmiston on the creation of FEMME and FEMME II, focused on women musicians and performers from the Acadiana area. Since 2008, Lian has been a talented theatre teacher in a variety of schools for Lafayette Parish. She loves teaching and aiding her students in creating their own work as well as mentoring them in their artistic growth. Lian can also be seen dancing with Spirit of Polynesia that focuses on honoring the art of Hula.
Who makes up your art circle?
My art circle is made up of former and current company members of Acting Up, the women I dance Hula with at our halau, dancers, musicians, visual artists, writers/poets, students I have taught, and my co-workers in the LPSS Talented program. Some people I currently work with creatively, I have been collaborating with for over 20 years. Other collaborators, I taught at one point or were my teachers. That’s what I cherish about being in this community for the past 22 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside mentors as peers, and those I have mentored have also become my peers as well.
How do you expand your art circle?
Before the pandemic, when I wasn’t in a rehearsal, I was often at other theatre performances, music shows, dance shows, Art Walk, visual art openings, assisting other artists in the development of their own works. Showing up to support, showing up to connect. I find being a supportive audience member, which completes the full circle of the commune aspect of performing and visual art, has been an incredible tool for me in expanding my art circle. I have had profound moments when I stepped out of the comfort of my circle, and without fail, I was transformed, inspired, and looked at my own process in a different way.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
Without a creative community, how would a community thrive? A creative community is what brings joy and humanity to a community. It makes people come together to have a shared experience- from having a cry together at a performance to dancing together to live music until the sweat is flying– however we are brought together by creativity, it’s cathartic and necessary shared experiences. Our creative community is what has made me stay in Lafayette after college- instead of pursuing theatre in a big city- I am dedicated to contributing to our community here.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
As I reflect on this question, I continue to return back to the Cajun Face shows that Sarah Mikayla Brown and I created. We wanted to share our personal reflections- often funny but at times emotionally difficult- on our cultural identity, and what it means in an ever changing world. Often, after our shows, audience members would tell us how they came with other family members, and how they laughed together and at times, begin to get teary eyed because something in our show reminded them of a loved one who had passed away. I feel in many ways, our audience came to our shows to be entertained, but truly, we all had moments of healing during the performances. This type of connection with an audience- it’s what is continuing to fuel my work.