WHO IS TOM MIDDLEDITCH?
Aspiring Writer, Director, Theatre maker, Philosopher, and Neurodiversity Advocate. I run the company, A_tistic, which is dedicated to spreading Neurodiversity, and developing our performance aesthetic called “Spectrum Theatre” – a style dedicated to making the audience who views such work think with an autistic mind, simply through engaging with the work.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY TO WHAT YOU DO NOW?
If I had lived the aspirations of an earlier version of me, I would be working on my Masters now in Astronomy, with the goal to work with the Chinese space exploration team. I still love reading about physics and space, it’s a source of incredible awe and peace for me.
WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
Good art by great artists. I love becoming driven after watching art, thinking I need to create work that has that impact. Also the people who just do things. can throw themselves into a task, no fuss, no bother, and just do the thing. I want to be like that.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD?
Exactly what i’m doing now. I’ve had people approach me after shows i’ve done to say “i saw your work, and went out and got diagnosed Autistic, and now I am living a better life” Anyone who tells me art has no importance has a steep hill to climb explaining why that isn’t important.
FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION AND WHY?
I’ve got a preponderance for the Mountainous regions in Victoria, Bogong, Emerald, Mt Warburton, any place which is well wooded and green. If I could go again, the observatory town of Coonabarabran would be splendid. You can have dinner and then the staff take you to a telescope to look at the rings of Saturn. Now that’s good service!
WHEN FRIENDS COME TO TOWN, WHAT ATTRACTION WOULD YOU TAKE THEM TO, AND WHY?
Depends on the season. If it was winter, I’d take them all over the city, down every alley way and into every hidden bookstore. Summer would be trickier as i’m not the best with direct sunlight, or for that matter, direct moonlight.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Too much. I switch between reading and audio books. Presently it’s Writing Tools, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and How Emotions are Made. I tend to absorb more when I have 3 – 5 things going at once.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?
Endless Spotify, thanks to my brother paying the subscription. Still the best christmas present he has given me. Specifically though, I’m listening to the album Continuum by Shook. It’s great both as work music and daydreaming stimulation, great blend of piano and techno inspired construction. plus, the video clip for Infinite is beautiful. I definitely have a thing for Sci-Fi that has people’s lived experiences breathed into every little fact and feature of it’s construction
The emotional state that tells you “things should stay as they are now”. Which, cause we are creatures prone to boredom, is not something that can remain the same without some amount of change. More specifically for me, and most reliably, it’s being in my wicker cane rocking chair, watching something fascinating on youtube, writing things that i want to see performed, all with a hot cup of coffee.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU?
Probably the rest of my life. In particular though, with the work I’m doing now, more opportunities to grow my writing craft, expand the Neurodiversity mission of A_tistic, and eventually to write a book on how to do what I did, so other people can do it better. I’d love to travel to Europe sometime, when I can visit all the major theatre hubs, and the site of the children’s psychiatric institute where Asperger did his work uncovering the condition that informs my arts journey. Maybe retire to Coonabarabran, if it still has trees then.
Tom is the Writer and Producer of Alexithymia – which will be presented as part of the 2017 Poppy Seed Festival in the Stables – Meat Market: 8 – 19 November. For more information, visit: www.poppyseedfestival.com or www.citizentheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Tom Middleditch (supplied)