On the Couch with Adam Spreadbury-Maher

Adam Spreadbury-Maher - photo by Eliza PowerWho is Adam Spreadbury-Maher?
Who me? I’m a London-based (but Australian-born) theatre and opera director. Since 2010, I’ve been the second Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre, which was the first pub theatre in London since Shakespeare’s time when it opened in 1970. I’m the proud owner of an eight year old miniature Yorkshire Terrier named Tickets and an enthusiastic marathon runner. My next is in September, along the beautiful coastline of Ken in the UK. I’ve managed to persuade several people to run their first marathon with me!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I try to avoid wallowing in the past. I’m a spiritual person and I believe that I am exactly where I am meant to be today, and that the roads that have lead me here were equally important in their time. I’d also say that for me, change isn’t just an abstract concept; if there’s something I wish to do different, I make a decision and I act. I’ve recently eradicated sugar from my diet and it’s coming up to one-year since I last had caffeine. The difference it’s made to my mood has been astonishing!

Who inspires you and why?
The artists and theatre makers I work with are pretty inspiring, as is my boyfriend, Oli, who’s something of a dynamo. Don’t laugh but my dog has taught me a lot. She holds no resentments, no matter what transpires and I think we could all take a leaf out of her book!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d like to think that I’m already doing something! I hope the work we create at the King’s Head Theatre gets people talking and thinking and feeling things they wouldn’t otherwise, and so makes a valuable contribution to society. I’ve also raised money for charities through my marathon running. If there was a button I could push to fast-track marriage equality in Australia I’d have pushed it years ago.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Athens, Greece. I adore that city. Though it currently exists in a state of crisis the people are awake, engaged and in constant dialogue with each other and the troubles they face. The energy and the passion is palpable and there’s some hand-down incredible art on display. I visit the city as much as I can, and the King’s Head Theatre staff team decamps there twice a year to reflect and refocus. You can’t walk down a street in Athens without stumbling across beautiful and provocative antiquity; it’s the birthplace of modern society.

When you arrive in Melbourne what attraction will you go to, and why?
An ethical supermarket to stock up on supplies. I’m doing a lot of home cooking at the moment; it helps me avoid snacking and, crucially, sugar.

What are you currently reading?
An anthology of plays called New Plays from the Black Theatre including writers Herbert Stokes, Charles Fuller, Salimu and Ed Bullins (published in 1969). The Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein, Master Class by Terrence McNally and A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.

What are you currently listening to?
A beautiful recording of Puccini’s Tosca with Maria Callas. I’m directing a brand new production this September in London. We’ve relocated the action to Nazi occupied Paris, which is thrilling.

Happiness is?
Feeling at ease with what you have and spending quality time with those you love. Eating well, sleeping as much as you can and maintaining a healthy, consistent balance between work and play.

What does the future hold for you?
If only I knew! I’ve got a pretty busy work schedule planned for the next few years, which I’m really grateful for and I’m off on holiday to North Africa with my boyfriend soon. It’s long overdue and I can’t wait to go exploring with him. I’m working on two productions currently; a new version of Tosca and a play by Kevin Elyot (who wrote My Night with Reg).

Adam has directed the Kings Head and In Your Face production of Trainspotting – currently playing at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs until 13 April, before heading to the Brisbane Powerhouse from 19 April 2017. For more information, visit: www.trainspottinglive.com for details.

Image: Adam Spreadbury-Maher – photo by Eliza Power