I’ve often described myself as “a wearer of many hats – real and metaphorical”. You’ll often see me sporting a colourful woolen beret in winter, an orange felt hat in autumn and spring, and a broad-brimmed straw number in summer. I’m juggling parenting, paid work and creative projects, and I have multiple creative projects on the go at once. So I guess my description is pretty apt.
But what I’ve been learning in the past few years is that I can’t wear more than one hat at a time. In reality, it’s impractical and unfashionable, but metaphorically, it’s very bad for my well-being.
Flashback to 2017, when I wrote, directed and produced Hollow with the help of the small core team at Tripwire Theatre Inc., and it was really hard. Too much for one person, especially with the level of emotional investment I had in the show and it was compounded by what was going on in my personal life at the time. Despite being a complete mess after it finished, I learnt a lot from Hollow. I learnt how much I can achieve when I set my mind to it. I learnt how courageous I am. I learnt to compartmentalise theatre-making so that I’m only ever wearing one hat at a time. I love writing, I love directing and I love producing. But I know my limits now and I’m at a point where I can pick and choose projects and my role within them, and better still, I am trusted by other to bring a project to fruition. My time I spent doing it all with Tripwire has given me that opportunity.
This Sunday (exactly two years after the Hollow opening night), I am holding the first meeting of my team for Ballarat National Theatre’s production of Medea. I have my director’s hat firmly on. With a cast of 16 (some children) and emotionally charged content, it’s not unlike Hollow. The difference is, I have an entire production team to resource my vision for the show. I have a production manager, assistant director, designer, and the entire board of BNT to support me. I don’t have to find money to fund the show and I don’t have to market it. It’s a great feeling, and I have enough energy to put towards all the other things in my life at the same time.
So, hats off to that!
I was right when I said that everything changes. I know I’d sworn never again to work with community theatre after being burnt twice. It seems I wasn’t the only one who had negative experiences and with a new broom comes sweeping changes. The new board of Ballarat National Theatre are open to creative risk, actively seeking new blood, and have a longer-term outlook. I’m excited to be a part of that. The opportunities to build more networks, to work with new people, to try new things as a director, to forge a reputation for professionalism and quality seem to now outweigh any potential conflict that might arise from working in community theatre.
This month, I will be directing Act Like A Girl, a monologue series which sees speeches for male characters transformed by the female voice. I’ve got my work cut out for me with 20 actors to coordinate individual rehearsals for! And later this year, I will direct for BNT’s September/October season.
I’ve also been asked to present a guest segment on The Arts Program on 99.9 Voice FM. Every now and again, I’ll be joining Lydnen & POD on Wednesday nights from 6-8pm, to chat about happenings in theatre and spoken word around Ballarat.
2019 is going to be a VERY busy year for me, with new spoken word projects, and my other theatre projects already on the calendar. It’s an exciting time because I never know where the next project will take me or who I might meet, and each opportunity is a brick in the wall that is my career in the arts. And it’s not going to build itself, so when opportunity knocks, I answer.
Follow this blog and my facebook page for updates on all my projects.
It’s mid-February and I’ve got a full year of exciting projects which I’m really pleased to share with you.
The Belly Dancer
The Let-Down Reflex (Solo)
The Sum of Us
Megan performing Spoken Word
I’ve co-written a play with Jacob Honeychurch called The Belly Dancer. Tripwire Theatre Inc. are presenting the world premiere season in Bendigo from 15-18 March. I’m producing the season so I’m really busy getting everything organised before opening night. I’m also super excited to see what the cast and director Alise Amarant have made of the writing. You can book tickets here.
Mid-year, I have my auto-biographical play The Let-Down Reflex premiering in Ballarat. I had two days of development in January with my actor Kate Suter and stage-manager Katrina Hill and we showcased some of our work in progress. We got great feedback from the audience about how we can improve the show and also a lot of love for Kate and the stories in the script. So we’ll be heading into rehearsals for that in the next few months with a view to a season in June. Stay tuned to my website and facebook for announcements about LDR.
I have a series of workshops lined up for 2019. The first two I have secured are thanks to Art In Dereel. I’ll be heading down to Dereel to run a Spoken Word workshop in May and my Short Play In A Day workshop in July. If you’re interested in joining me or if you’d like to book me for another one of my workshops, you can send me a message on my workshops page.
I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be directing for Hobo Playhouse, based in Maldon. I’ll be directing Jeffrey Bryant-Jones in a one man show called The Carer, by Alan Hopgood. The Carer will tour to three locations in Central Victoria in November.
It’s going to be a busy year, which is just the way I like it.