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Oct 11, 2015 at 7:30 pm


SHOW ADDED BY POPULAR DEMAND Limited Run. Live Performance with Ross Sutherland. NYC Premiere.

“Two years ago, I found a videotape in my loft. On it: one and a half films, one quiz show and two sit-coms. Somehow, it became the story of my life.

After a hard-drive crash and a near-death experience, Ross Sutherland found himself house-bound with only one thing for company: an old videotape that once belonged to his granddad.

Over the months that followed, Ross memorized every second of the tape. Slowly, he learned how to manipulate the images into telling the story of his life. The videotape allowed Ross to closed a dialogue with his late grandfather, and eventually helped him confront the illness that had nearly ended his life.

The true story of one man’s journey into synchronicity and madness.


Performance poet, Scot, media-remixer, Ross Sutherland will take over UnionDocs for a weekend run of his VHS “odyssey” STAND BY FOR TAPE BACK-UP. The production was one of the critical hits of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 – enjoying a sell-out run at Summerhall, featuring on The Culture Show’s Fringe highlights program (BBC2), and following a sold-out run in spring 2015 at Shoreditch Town Hall, before it moved onto a successful run at the Soho Theater in London. A film version of the performance premiered at HOT DOCS 2015.

Following the live performance, visual artist and filmmaker Brent Green will join in conversation with Ross Sutherland.

“The videotape has a lot of sentimental significance to me – it’s my main way of maintaining a connection to him, posthumously. The tape has also helped me combat depression (I’ve come to use the tape as a form of meditation). I try to demonstrate this in the show: how repetition helps locate hidden meaning inside the video, transforming innocuous pieces of TV into buried pieces of my psyche.”


“Consuming, compelling, hypnotic.”
– Stage

– Fest Magazine

“Touching, funny, linguistically thrilling”
– Exeunt Magazine

“Simply note down the booking number, because this is a must see show… extraordinary”- The Observer

“A profound meditation on death and the afterlife – which sounds utterly absurd, but is in fact audaciously, brilliantly pulled off.”
– Independent

“Ross Sutherland’s entry at Hot Docs is one of the festival’s most unusual and potentially mind-altering selections”
– POV Magazine

“It all builds to a remarkable release of emotion, as the best live theatre does. But it works damn well as a recording, too.”
– NOW Magazine

Stand by for Tape Back-up uses the screen as a scrapbook and a reflective surface to compellingly show how magnetic tape has shaped Sutherland’s sense of self and the world around him. A mind-blowing meditation on media’s influence and inheritance.”
– HotDocs

120 minutes

Ross Sutherland is a poet and filmmaker from Edinburgh, Scotland. He has four collections of poetry, including Things To Do Before You Leave Town and Emergency Window. He writes regularly for BBC Radio 4 and is the host of the podcast, Imaginary Advice. He was runner-up for the 2015 National Art Foundation Award for poetry. His play, Stand-By For Tape Back-Up toured theatres in 2014, before being adapted for film in 2015 (developed in collaboration with filmmaker Charlie Lyne). Besides “touring” with his STAND BY FOR TAPE BACK-UP show, he is currently working on a piece of interactive theatre about a comedy club, trapped inside a five minute timeloop. To read more, go here.


Oct 11, 2015
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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