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theatre July 4, 2020

Actor Toby Schmitz’s live wire

For actor Toby Schmitz, there’s nothing like the exhilaration of being on stage, but for the past week he’s replicated some of that feeling in a series of live-streamed performances of Will Eno’s Thom Pain. He speaks about playing Hamlet, the vitality of theatre and keeping his ‘art spark’ alight in the Covid-19 lockdown. “The audience is the final director that teaches you things you would never have thought of. You know, if one person moves their leg it may mean nothing, but if four people do, then you’ve lost them somehow.”

union June 20, 2020

A tribute to Arthur Summons

He was a small man with a huge heart and left an indelible mark on the games of rugby league and rugby union. Arthur Summons was also one half of the famous “Gladiators” image. “I didn’t really do anything to make it happen. Just tripped over in the mud, had a photo taken and became famous.”

television June 12, 2020

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Tony McNamara

Before becoming a playwright, screenwriter and showrunner, Tony McNamara was a stockbroker who had failed year 11 English. Now, after being nominated for an Oscar for The Favourite, he brings his acerbic dialogue and honest storytelling to his new TV series, The Great. “I saw a lot of Pinter, a lot of Mamet, Caryl Churchill … I was struck by how visceral it was, how you could get a rhythm going that really carries an audience along.”

art June 6, 2020

Yhonnie Scarce’s art of glass

Using glass as a medium, Yhonnie Scarce makes art that testifies to the trauma enacted on Aboriginal people and communities. She speaks about travelling to memorial sites around the world and the importance of truth-telling. “I don’t like being lied to … They were setting off bombs, and they knew there were blackfullas around in that area, but they didn’t care.”

music May 30, 2020

Singer-songwriter Gordi

Since releasing her first album, Gordi has experienced three years of emotional upheaval, which she has channelled into a new record, Our Two Skins. She speaks to Nick Buckley about losing her grandmother, falling in love over the phone and creating music in self-enforced isolation. “That’s when I feel most creative, when I don’t have everything at my disposal. You know, how I might make one sound if I don’t have that thing. It’s like creating unique moments out of nothing.”

theatre May 23, 2020

Griffin Theatre Company artistic director Declan Greene

Four weeks after becoming the artistic director of Sydney’s Griffin Theatre Company, Declan Greene had to cancel two plays because of Covid-19. He speaks about this extraordinary challenge, his childhood flair for drama and his ambitions for the company. “I’m constantly thinking I should do more to change things in the world … I’m interested in reconfiguring the space I work in to make it a more equal place.”

music May 16, 2020

Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney

During his early career, the music industry was intent on fitting Moses Sumney into boxes. But as his latest album, græ, attests, he is an artist determined to seek his own truths beyond the confines of expectation and identity. “I’m really interested in the collapse of identity politics, increasingly. I want us to get to a place where we can seek equality for ourselves without having to define as anything that’s simple. It feels really petrifying, the idea that you explain yourself to someone in order to gain their respect [and that] in doing that, you’re kind of solidifying your identity in a way that feels quite limiting.”

books May 9, 2020

Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo

Anglo–Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo wrote seven books before her Booker Prize-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, catapulted her into the limelight. “I have done the work for people to now engage with it. It’s just the most incredible thing, because at my age – I’m 60 – to suddenly become an overnight success, is very exciting. It’s also a real moment of hope for people who have been writing for a long time and haven’t received the kind of attention they’d like to get. And also, for Black women, and Black British people.”

books May 2, 2020

Author Jess Hill’s inner power

Jess Hill’s incisive examination of domestic violence saw the journalist win the coveted Stella Prize last month. But the four-year project also took an immense personal toll. “All that advice about self-care … I didn’t do any of it. I almost pointedly didn’t do it. I thought: ‘You need to feel, even just one iota of the pain and suffering the people you are talking to are feeling.’ If I was feeling really relaxed and detached from it, I wouldn’t be able to write about it in the way I wanted to … I sort of had to inhabit it.”

film April 25, 2020

Hearts and Bones director Ben Lawrence

In Hearts and Bones, director Ben Lawrence explores masculinity and trauma through the story of a war photographer befriending a South Sudanese refugee. He speaks here about how his experience of parenthood has influenced his work, and the parallels between himself and his father, director Ray Lawrence. “Through the period of writing Hearts and Bones and being involved in Ghosthunter, the idea of being a father, what it means to raise a young boy in this era, all became fascinating to me.”

film April 18, 2020

Be Kind Rewind creator Isabel C

With her viral video essays, the somewhat elusive Isabel C delves into the intrigues, triumphs and upsets of the film industry. But her YouTube channel, Be Kind Rewind, also looks at Hollywood’s failings, and how it represents and treats women. “The Oscars have survived through several decades, so I knew they could be a good entry point for both exploring history and the industry’s power structure from a female perspective.”