“Elisabeth Gunawan captivates… Her ability to shepherd the audience is matched only in the delicious way she leaves them stranded…”

-Angelo Irving, The Stage

b. 1993 Jakarta, Indonesia
New York University. BA Postcolonial Discourse. 2011-14.
Google Singapore. 2014-2019.
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. MA Theatre Lab. 2019-20.
& The International School of the Hard Knocks™


Elisabeth Gunawan 吳金栵 is a Chinese-Indonesian artist who works in the mode of stories, poetry and performance. Based internationally across Europe and Asia, she is a critically-acclaimed and award-winning theatremaker and actor. Her work explores the naked encounter between performer and audience: using stories, human bodies and art to simultaneously trap the audience in the moment of presence and into their imagination. She is particularly drawn to transgression, using blasphemy to test our shared myths—to go beyond the horizontal line of human drama to the vertical line of heaven and hell.

Her solo piece Unforgettable Girl, which she wrote and performed won the OFFFest award at VOILA! Festival. She has worked as an actor, performer and deviser with the David Glass Ensemble, Flabbergast Theatre, Created a Monster and Ad Infinitum. 

Her ongoing projects include devising/performing in Flabbergast Theatre’s physical theatre adaptation of Macbeth, which will be embarking on a national tour and a run at Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh Fringe this 2022. She directed/co-devised Jasmine Chiu and Ellandar Production’s At Broken Bridge, which explores the intersectionality of the experience of migration and psychosis. In 2021, she was a recipient of Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice fund to begin her ‘Myths, Stories and Worlds’ research (née ‘Mythical Storytelling’), which continues to be the backbone of her practice today. For the period of 2021-2022, she is a resident artist at the Grotowski Institute, where she continued this exploration.

On film, she has been featured in Eelyn Lee’s films Casting Fu Manchu (2020) and San Xing (2021) and Ruby Louise Phelan’s Waltz of the Girl who Lost her Body.

She is the founder of the artistic collective Saksi Bisou, a migrant-led company that tells stories the corporeal and imagined landscapes of exile and migration. Their debut Stampin’ in the Graveyard was a concept album/digital theatre piece that combined soundscapes and poetry to tell the story of the end of the world—it is now in development as a live piece of theatre titled Promised Land—an immersive theatre and sound experience that will be presented in October 2022 as part of the Bloomsbury Festival.

Elisabeth has studied and collaborated with many pioneers and award-winning directors including David Glass, Matej Matejka, Madeline Sayet, and the late Mary Overlie. Her past body of work includes collaborations  with various theatre companies and artists in North America (East West Players, Mad and Merry) and Singapore (Pink Gajah Theatre, Method Productions). 

Represented by Sally Hope Associates
Mark Norfolk
108 Leonard Street, London EC2A4XS

All paintings by Caroline Wong. Clockwise from left:
BETTY (2022), MARIGOLD ORANGE (BETTY) (2022), BETTY (2021)
Photo by Chris Mann