profile

music June 15, 2019

Queering the air with musician and producer Paul Mac

Paul Mac has gone from playing the organ at church to forming a band with Daniel Johns, remixing tracks by Kylie Minogue and recording his latest album, Mesmerism. Here, he discusses his art, his love of trains and his political activism. “Unless we are continuously vigilant about the rights that we’ve gained, they can quite easily disappear again.”

art June 8, 2019

AGSA director Rhana Devenport

After achieving significant success as the director of two major New Zealand galleries, Rhana Devenport brings her ambitious vision to the Art Gallery of South Australia. Here, she talks about building relationships with artists and creating a safe space for audiences to explore challenging ideas. “I think that it is our role, working in a cultural organisation, to love our audience, to be as absolutely in love with our audience, to be thinking in multiple ways about how to be as expansive and open as humanly possible.”

theatre June 1, 2019

Actress Kat Stewart’s realms of possibility

Although Kat Stewart is well known for playing dark, in-your-face characters, her life experience has led her to a greater appreciation of hope and contentment. Her latest stage role is in Melbourne Theatre Company’s Heisenberg. “The idea I really love is that we spend all this energy trying to control our lives and take comfort in that … but we have very, very, very little control and what this play confronts you with is: What if that is not a bad thing?”

television May 25, 2019

The many facets of Zindzi Okenyo’s world

Zindzi Okenyo is asserting herself through her art – on stage, on screen and in the recording studio. Here, the singer-songwriter and actor talks about growing up in different parts of Australia, travelling to her father’s birth country, and being comfortable in her own skin. “The older that I’ve gotten, the more it seems to me the way to be better is to know yourself as much as possible and then relax into it.”

theatre May 18, 2019

Stage advice from actor Hugo Weaving

During his illustrious career, Hugo Weaving has consistently returned to the STC stage, where he currently stars in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The actor discusses his upbringing, his concerns about the local film industry, and sharing the stage with his son. “I thought Harry would be really good in the role. But I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want any sense of nepotism. I just don’t think that’s right.”

dance March 30, 2019

The perpetual motion of choreographer Amrita Hepi

For First Nations choreographer and dancer Amrita Hepi, the body is the first point of memory. Her new show, The Tender, interweaves oppression and connection. “Dancing is about being unashamed in our physical forms, and that’s tough shit when you’re a person of colour ’cause we’re constantly being looked at.”

culture March 23, 2019

Indigenous activist Thomas Mayor’s clear statement

For months, Indigenous activist Thomas Mayor carried the Uluru Statement from the Heart around Australia, rolling out the canvas as he told its story. With Labor and mining companies now on board, the push continues for a First Nations voice. “We have bipartisanship on the influences of the Australian public, left, right or centre. That’s the mindset we’re transferring to – fighting for the referendum to win.”

film March 16, 2019

The high life of Claire Denis

While Claire Denis seeks to avoid metaphor in her films, the French director’s sci-fi prison drama High Life, starring Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson, can’t help but raise big questions about the universe, the nature of time and even the meaning of life. “Everything in screenwriting is painful and yet it’s great. It’s great because the pain is the price you have to pay to be allowed to dream things, to make them real.”

theatre March 9, 2019

Ellen Burstyn variations

Ellen Burstyn, in Melbourne to star onstage in 33 Variations, has a film career spanning six decades and including such cinematic touchstones as The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show. She talks tabout Beethoven, spirituality and recruiting Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. “I asked that he be the director. He had already made Mean Streets, but it hadn’t been released and he was deeply grateful that I wanted him. This doesn’t mean that I gave him his start. And there was no stopping him, anyway – he would have got there in any case. But, you know, there was never any sense with Marty of working with a monster, with a master in the nasty sense. He’s marvellous, he’s an original. He’s smart and fiery and rough and excitable and alive.”

books March 2, 2019

Sohaila Abdulali on survival

In 2012, a prominently reported rape and murder of an Indian student revived interest in Sohaila Abdulali’s 33-year-old account of surviving her own attack. Since then the author has used her new platform to encourage unflinching debate about violence against women. “When I started writing this book, nobody was talking about rape. And even in that short time, people are now starting to want to speak about their experiences and understand them. That people want to understand and talk about it – makes me feel hopeful. There’s a lot in the world to feel hopeless about too, but there’s still hope.”

books February 23, 2019

Kristen Roupenian on short stories and viral success

Amid the spectacularly divisive response to Kristen Roupenian’s short story about a relationship gone wrong, the author’s conception of “Cat Person” as horror fiction was often overlooked. Here, she talks about reasserting her genre credentials with the release of her debut collection. “The temptation would be to turn the book into 11 stories about dating from the perspective of young women. So I was grateful that editors recognised it was a weird, dark collection of essentially horror stories. They let it be what it was.”