On the Couch with Hugo Chiarella

Hugo Chiarella AAR On the CouchWho is Hugo Chiarella?
I am a writer, producer and occasional performer. I am husband to actress Gabrielle Scawthorn. I am also the book writer and lyricist for the musical DreamSong which is being produced by EbbFlow Theatre Co at The Alex Theatre in Melbourne.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Read more, write more, sleep more, delete social media, eat healthier, exercise more, learn another language, drink more water, learn two other languages, drink less coffee, stop using spray deodorants, go vegan, learn to play piano, moisturise, stretch, meditate, reduce my carbon footprint, journal, be a better listener, be less cynical, floss, stop beating myself up for all the things I should be doing differently… But there’s still time.

Who inspires you and why?
My wife inspires me because she is strong, intelligent, fiercely talented and ridiculously funny. My mum inspires me because she is driven, a leader in her field, and not afraid to fight for the things she believes in. I’ve also been really inspired recently learning about the Transition Town movement (look it up), because they are empowering communities around the world with resilience, creativity and sustainability.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I had the power to, I would introduce universal basic services across health, education, food, housing, transport and the arts. I would also introduce subsidies and incentives for worker-owned cooperatives in an effort to democratise corporations, empower workers and reduce wealth inequality. And I would introduce a four-day work week. Enough is enough.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York. Theatre and Bagels. What’s not to like?

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I currently live in London. One of my favorite things to do with visitors is spend an afternoon trekking along the Thames path all the way up to Chiswick for a roast at my favorite pub, The Dove, where apparently Charles II romanced Nell Gwynne.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been reading Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls. It’s about a young guy who gets involved in an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet. There really should be more fiction set in the world of amateur theatre. There should be even more non-fiction set in the world of amateur theatre. The other book I’ve been reading is Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield which is a critique of the ways in which networked technologies are reshaping societies. But I have to keep on dipping back into Sweet Sorrow to cheer myself up.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve recently become obsessed with this mash-up of Dinah Washington singing This Bitter Earth set against Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight.  Have a listen. It is extraordinary.

Happiness is?
Time spent with my wife, Gabrielle Scawthorn.

What does the future hold for you?
I will be writing more musicals. I also work as the Development Producer for a company called Fuel in London, so I will be working across a really exciting slate of shows in various stages of development. And I will be travelling to Melbourne to see Ebblow’s production of DreamSong at The Alex Theatre.

Hugo is the Writer (Book and Lyrics) of the new musical, Dreamsong at the Alex Theatre, St Kilda: 21 – 30 November 2019. For more information, visit: www.ebbflowtheatre.com for details.

Image: Hugo Chiarella (supplied)

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