On the Couch with Adam Cook

Adam Cook oncWho is Adam Cook?
I’m a professional theatre director, who graduated from NIDA in 1988. My first professional show was a profit-share American comedy called Reckless by Craig Lucas. I staged it in the Downstairs Theatre at Belvoir in Surry Hills. It was a big hit, we paid back our investors, we made money, and I’ve never been out of work since. That’s 25 years. I’m pretty proud of that.

I also direct operas, musicals, and concerts, and I’ve always had extremely broad taste in the kinds of work I’m interested in doing. I don’t think you’d look at my shows and see a definable style, and I mean that as a positive. I don’t repeat myself. I’m also omnivorous when it comes to what I read and the music I listen to. I’m an upbeat, optimistic person with the soul of a five-year-old boy, but don’t worry – it’s mine.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d choose a vocation in which I could enjoy myself AND make my fortune.

Who inspires you and why?  
Anyone battling life-threatening illness. Great artists in any field, past and present.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Keep doing what I’m doing. Poetry never stopped a war, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express our opinions about it in an artfully crafted way.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
London. I’m a theatre creature! Wonderful bookshops there too. I’m the only person I know who’d fly to the other side of the world just to mooch about in book stores. I love hanging out at the National Theatre in London. I’m going to be buried there. Somehow.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Art Gallery of New South Wales. It’s full of wonderful art works, both contemporary and from the past.

What are you currently reading?
I always have about half a dozen books on the go at any one time, and it’s usually a variety of styles, forms, and genres. So, right now on my night table, I have Matt Haig’s The Humans, Mountains of the Mind by Robert McFarlane, about the mortal fascination with mountaineering, Evan S Connell’s Mr. Bridge, as well as 100 Poems To Make Men Cry. And of course I’m reading A Doll’s House by the intrepid Norwegian iconoclast, Henrik Ibsen.

What are you currently listening to?
Sia’s new album, and Hilary Hahn’s double cd of newly commissioned works for violin and piano called In 27 Pieces.

Happiness is?  
…a warm puppy. Well, it would be if I had one!

What does the future hold for you?
I shudder to think! But one thing I can predict is that audiences will be deeply engaged by our new production of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, playing at the Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre from now until August 2. It’s an opportunity for your readers to see some brilliant acting in a brilliant play.

Graduating from the NIDA Directors Course in 1988, Adam Cook has since directed over 100 productions across Australia, London, Canada and the United States, for the Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane Festivals, Melbourne Theatre Company, Company B Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, Ensemble, Sydney Opera House Trust, NIDA, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, La Boite, Q Theatre, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Opera Australia, Griffin, Bell Shakespeare, OzOpera, Playbox, Festival of the Dreaming, Windmill Performing Arts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, City of London Festival and the Barbican International Theatre Event (BITE).

Adam was Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia for 2005-2012. Most recently Adam directed Much Ado About Nothing for Sport for Jove, as well as the highly acclaimed Workhorse Theatre Company production of The Motherf*cker with the Hat which will be remounted in a co-production with Darlinghurst Theatre later this year.

Adam is currently directing A Doll’s House for Sport for Jove Theatre at the Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre until 2 August. For more information, visit: www.sportforjove.com.au or www.seymourcentre.com for details.

Image: Adam Cook