On the Couch with Sarah Sutherland

Sarah Sutherland Arts Review On the CouchWho is Sarah Sutherland?
I’m an actor and theatre maker and the Artistic Director of rollercoaster theatre company, an ensemble of actors with disabilities. I’m an ensemble member of Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and I’m a mother of two children under four and a stepmother of three under 24.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d like to have done a lot of the things I’ve done about fifteen years before I actually got around to doing them… I guess I’m a late bloomer. Or a shocking procrastinator.

Who inspires you and why?
People who are generous and compassionate. Curious, creative minds. And the actors in rollercoaster. I’m inspired by their unique perspectives on life and their unerring support for one another. It’s impressive and it’s great to be around.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Bring my kids up to be empathetic, fearless and respectful individuals who value diversity. And encourage them to listen and value the opinions of others. I guess this reflects what I also most love about theatre – that it can provide us with the opportunity to stop for a moment, take a breath, and really hear one another. It’s a space in which it’s possible for people to share experiences and ideas about the complex nature of being. It’s ancient and modern and it can and should be accessible for everybody. I hope to make more of it, and I hope it makes a difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Did I ever imagine my favourite holiday destination would involve the words ‘kids club’? Ah nope… it still doesn’t. New York, hands down. But most often it’s Port Fairy where we have a built in kids club (my mum).

What are you currently reading?
I love learning about the different ways people live. It’s something I’ve always found fascinating. I’ve just finished reading everything I could find about life in Bhutan. Now I’m devouring every book, article and blog I can get my hands on about living in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) which, of course, I’m unlikely to ever do. I’m actually a frustrated anthropologist or perhaps I just have wanderlust.

What are you currently listening to?
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. My three year old likes them more than Frozen. That’s got to be a good thing.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Coffee shop hopping of course – I’m a Melbournian! With a side of dumplings in Chinatown and a wander through some city lane ways before a mid-afternoon lie down in the Botanical Gardens. Then, if I really like them, I take them to Red Stitch. Red Stitch is like good coffee – I know where to find it, but if you’re new in town, you may not.

Happiness is?
The thrill of performing. Backstage after a rollercoaster show. The beginning of Summer. Waking to the sound of magpies warbling. The first sip of coffee in the morning. Cuddling my children.

What does the future hold for you?
Not much sleep …yet! fish with rollercoaster theatre company is at the end of August, and then I perform in a new Australian work – Desert 6.29 pm – with Red Stitch in November and December. And after that? Lots of interesting things. Fingers crossed.

fish will be presented at The Melba Spiegeltent: 31 August – 2 September 2017. For more information, visit: www.rollercoastertheatre.net.au for details.

Image: Sarah Sutherland (supplied)

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