On the Couch with Scott Turnbull

AAR OTC Scott Turnbull - photo by Bryony Jackson Who is Scott Turnbull?
Scott Turnbull is a 46-year-old Tasmanian and father of 2. I have grown up in the death industry, with 21 years of practice and now find myself fortunate enough to be a performer making a work in collaboration with Lara Thoms called The Director. I am very familiar with the traditional elements of funeral direction and my service included operating my own crematorium, mortuary care, body transfers and rethinking how a funeral service can be meaningful. Lara has put all of these elements in a show at Arts House which I am enjoying making.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Having made quite a few mistakes in my existence, I’ve noticed that acknowledging mistakes for me are the pathway to my next life adventures. So, what I will do differently now, is be quicker to acknowledge my mistakes to be a better as person as I age.

Who inspires you and why?
My wife, family, friends and the several personalities that live inside me. I get a balance of love and grief from all that makes me to feel valued and respected. I am also learning a lot from the artists on the project Aaron Orzech, Lara Thoms, Lz Dunn, Katie Sfetkidis and Kenneth Pennington and all the skills they are sharing from their respective fields in dance, dramaturgy, design and so on.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m in awe of the people in the world that are actually making big differences. I am hoping in talking about death and supporting communities to feel empowered to make choices around the end of their lives makes a difference. I volunteer at a coffin club helping people to make their own coffins which is pretty interesting. More coffin clubs in the world would be a good thing.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
Never been on a great deal of holidays, why would I when I’ve got the incredible tasmanian landscape to explore. I get in a boat most weekends and head to Possum Bay, Salamanca and sometimes Norfolk.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take them on a Derwent River speed boat trip to Salamanca Market, returning home via MONA at dusk. Hobart by water is awesome, and we live pretty close to MONA and go over there for music, show and a couple of drinks

What are you currently reading?
Nothing, more than two lines puts me into a coma. I love a good yak over a read.

What are you currently listening to?
For the show we are listening to peoples funeral songs on repeat. Ave Maria, Celine Dion and then the more cheeky ones such as Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from the Life of Brian. We have a game as to who can guess the song first and what kind of person would have chosen it.

Happiness is?
In a boat, water skiing, beach combing and making creations in the sand, spending time with my bees and being out in front of a campfire.

What does the future hold for you?
I would love to tour the show, The Director, around Australia somehow. I feel like it could go anywhere, country halls, funeral homes, theatres, galleries, museums. It’s simple in scope but big in ideas.

Scott stars with Lara Thoms in the world premiere of The Director at Arts House for a limited season from 21 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Scott Turnbull – photo by Bryony Jackson

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