On the Couch with Helen Machalias

Helen-Machalias-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Helen Machalias?
Writer. Living in Canberra via Sydney and Armidale. Proud product of Regional NSW and the public education system.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Very little, though I wouldn’t say no to more uninterrupted writing time.

Who inspires you and why?
Anne Summers, for her achievements across so many diverse fields, her grit and ability to reinvent herself while staying true to her values. She was the speaker at my graduation ceremony and concluded her speech to graduates by sharing “You need not be bound by convention or tradition or anyone’s expectations – including your own. All you need is to believe in yourself. Work hard. Be bold. Have fun. And go where life leads you. You will have such a wonderful time getting there.” Words to live by.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am hopeful and determined in my advocacy work. I also try to improve my patch of the world in a small but consistent way by being kind, generous and building up the people around me.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Locally, Fremantle and Margaret River in WA for the scenery, relaxed pace and delicious food and wine.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I very proudly show off my favourite Canberra food haunts and our local wine region.

What are you currently reading?
I’m doing research for the upcoming development of my play Barren Ground, so mainly books relating to the experience of refugees in offshore detention and Shakespeare’s work, including Hagseed by Margaret Atwood, Shakespeare in a Divided America by James Shapiro and No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m trying to keep up with the many incredible podcasts that keep appearing. Current favourites are Chat 10 Looks Three, Bell Shakespeare’s Speak the Speech, Wilosophy and A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard.

Happiness is?
A byproduct, not a target.

What does the future hold for you?
Whatever I put on my annual vision board.


Helen’s latest play, Barren Ground will be presented as part of The Street Theatre’s First Seen: new works-in-progress program in an online showing on Friday 4 September 2020 at 5.00pm. FREE – bookings essential. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au for details.

Image: Helen Machalias (supplied)

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