On the Couch with Johanna Allen

AAR-OTC-Johanna-Allen-photo-by-Kurt-SneddonWho is Johanna Allen?
A classically trained singer/actor who writes and directs. Occasionally she also delves into broadcasting as a presenter/producer!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Hmm – I’m proud that I feel like I know myself more and more as I go on in life. The self belief required for a career in the arts, or indeed the roller coaster of life – that’s always a work in progress. But I’ve got so much better at ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’. Having said that, I also feel like I will always have to work on this!?

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by people who work across a myriad of platforms. Emma Thompson is somewhat of a hero for me. She’s a wonderful actress – Shakespeare on Film, character roles galore and yet that moment in Love Actually when she realizes her husband has betrayed her is so utterly heart breaking – Love or hate the film, she is magnificent. And she works as a writer with an Oscar for screen play adaption, and recently played Nellie Lovett with Bryn Terfel as Sweeney Todd. She works as both leading lady and character actress – something I identify with. Her take on the world, and her values as I see them, match my own. This is basically turning into a professional love letter to Emma Thompson! There are many others – I love being around funny, warm, open people – from all walks of life – I want to be, and want to surround myself with people who are accountable, who approach things intelligently, who cherish life, work hard at it, and make the most of it.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Hmm. I think this is best achieved by little choices every day. It’s the choice to be patient when you’re tired, compassionate when you could be dismissive, inclusive when you would gain something by being exclusive. I never like seeing people excluded – especially those who have no or little voice in society. I’m not interested in who’s popular if they’re mean. Kindness, every day in little and large ways, and inclusivity.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Right now – Anywhere! I am longing for New York and Europe. New York because I studied there and it always feels like home.  Paris, Italy, Spain, Europe because it feeds my soul!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Depends on the city I’m in… This probably isn’t an attraction persay but I love Fawkner Park in Melbourne. I love the Opera Bar in Sydney. And I’d take them to Coriole Winery in SA.

What are you currently reading?
I usually have several on the go, but by my bedside table right now are Normal People by Sally Rooney. I watched it like everyone else. It’s not how good you are, but how good you want to be by Paul Arden – which was a gift. And Atonement by Ian Mckewan – which is an old favourite.

What are you currently listening to?
The Australian String Quartet as I write content for this wonderful project!

Happiness is?
This changes for me but today it means: Holding ambition for life and gratitude side by side but coming back to the gratitude at the end of the day.

What does the future hold for you?
The future was mapped out with a dream role in a commercial production, but Covid has seen that derailed. However, that meant I was available to come on board this incredible project which otherwise wouldn’t have happened. See? Gratitude…?

Johanna will host Australian String Quartet Live at UKARIA – 8 weekly live-streamed webisodes covering lifestyle, landscape and music, commencing Sunday 2 August – 3.00pm. For more information, visit: www.asq.com.au for details.

Image: Johanna Allen – photo by Kurt Sneddon

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