On the Couch with Anne-Louise Sarks

Anne Louise Sarks Arts Review On the CouchWHO IS ANNE-LOUISE SARKS?
I’m a theatre director. I’m 36. I’m passionate and sarcastic and deeply loyal. I’m addicted to boiled eggs.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY TO WHAT YOU DO NOW?
Honestly I’m incredibly lucky. I love my work, I get to travel the world and tell stories and work with amazing artists. I wouldn’t change this for anything… except maybe for a little more time on my couch.

WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
Right now Pam Rabe is blowing my mind. Daily. Her talent is extreme. She’s an amazing font of theatre knowledge. She’s relentless in her interrogation of the play. Also she knows where to get the best dumplings. Outside the theatre I’m in awe of the women who have had the courage to speak out about assault and abuse. I’m hoping #metoo is a turning point for real change.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD?
I think we all need to use our unique skills to make a difference. I hope that by celebrating empathy in the theatre I’m contributing something valuable to this universe. I believe there is real power in the stories we choose to tell and how we listen. Also let’s institute affirmative action, right now, everywhere.

FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION AND WHY?
I’m terrible at holidays. I can’t sit still. I’m always seeking the next adventure. Earlier this year my partner Sean and I went to Iceland and it was amazing!

WHEN FRIENDS COME TO TOWN, WHAT ATTRACTION WOULD YOU TAKE THEM TO, AND WHY?
When I’m in Melbourne my first stop is always Bourke Street for Hill of Content and the Paperback Bookshop, and then up the street to City Wine Shop for a fancy wine with a view. In Sydney I would take them straight to the beach.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Heroines by Kate Zambreno. It’s about reclaiming the stories and talents of the wives of famous modernist authors. She’s feisty, and insightful. I’m finding it very inspiring.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?
I’m obsessed with Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris from Still Processing – it’s a podcast run by the New York Times – they talk about culture and race and everything to do with humans. It’s essential listening. It’s fun and serious, entertaining and eye-opening, that’s a tricky balance to achieve. And musically – Blastoma by Ngaiire is eternally on repeat.

HAPPINESS IS?
Coming home.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU?
Gosh, who knows!?! I’m hoping it holds lots more opportunities to make theatre. Next stop for me is London. I’m starting a new job making work with an ensemble of actors for the Lyric Hammersmith.

Anne-Louise is directing Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary starring Pamela Rabe at the Malthouse Theatre from 3 November 2017 (opening night – 9 November). For more information, visit: www.malthousetheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Anne-Louise Sarks (supplied)

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