Theater & art


Amanda Antunes: Collaborating across disciplines

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Age: 26

Hometown: Sao Paulo


Think of: Fingers in many pots — artist, hostess extraordinaire, costume designer at New Repertory Theatre, and editor-publisher of Spirited, a thrice-yearly Boston magazine about art and culture.

What caught our eye: Artist Autumn Ahn directed Antunes in a performance-art video for the show “Seven” this summer at Montserrat College of Art. Antunes gave a compelling performance as, essentially, Ahn’s physical avatar; she had to be graceful, fluid, and open, as she submitted herself to Ahn’s vision.

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Light-bulb moment: “When I decided to leave my country [seven years ago]. I had this deep feeling I didn’t belong there. . . . Here I felt I could finally build something of my own.”

Biggest thrill: A party for Spirited’s “Money” issue, with a string quartet, art, poetry readings, and hip-hop. “I felt the entire time completely outside my own reality,” she says.

Biggest surprise: Antunes says she has always had the feeling of not fitting in. Then, when she came to Boston,“I was being accepted, and people were hiring me for what I had to offer.”


Inspired by: Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, painter Frida Kahlo, and Antunes’s grandfather, Edison Batista Antunes, the only other artist in her family. “He was always my secret admirer, and I was his.”

Aspires to: “My dream is to continue to be a costume designer, to work in film and bigger productions, to continue with Spirited, and collaborate and work on a greater scale.” She tries to connect her costumes, bringing one design aesthetic — a color, a pattern — from one character’s costume to another. “There’s an invisible thread between all of them.”

For good luck: Each issue of Spirited has a theme; the one that comes out in October is called “Rise.” As Antunes plots out the magazine, inviting writers and artists to contribute, “I choose an album I like and play it really loud, beginning to end, and listen to it for three months,” she says. This time, it’s David Lynch’s “The Big Dream.”

What people should know: “Brazilians are superstitious. . . . Americans are much more practical and functional, which has helped me. I feel like I’ve learned balance here. But Americans believe in a plan. I don’t believe in a plan. I believe things set themselves going, and you have to go with it.”

Coming soon: See Antunes’s costumes in “Rancho Mirage,” opening at New Rep Oct. 12; the next issue of Spirited is due in late October, with another performance/party by the end of November.



Cate McQuaid can be reached at
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