On the Couch with Alexander Andrews

AAR Alexander Andrews - photo by Blake Condon Who is Alexander Andrews?
By day I’m your friendly local drama teacher and by night, independent theatre director. I have a deep passion for education and love teaching – I spend my day in constant laughter and in awe of what my students create. Being Head of Drama at the Australian Performing Arts Grammar School gives me the freedom to dedicate time and energy to my other great love, theatre. The school understands what a beast theatre is and are always supportive of my extra-curricular activities. Teaching brings me a lot of pride, but nothing compares to co-founding an independent theatre company and producing work that challenges and performers and audiences. That’s just magic.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Direct, of course! While I love being a high school drama teacher, working with students in exploring texts and how theatre informs their world, my heart belongs to theatre. If I could spend my days moving from project to project, creating provocative theatre, I’d be a very content man. If you want to make me truly happy, buy me a theatre!

Who inspires you and why?
It’s an old cliché, but the creatives I work with inspire me to no end. The actors, musicians and designers who dedicate their lives to honing their craft and making brilliant theatre are my heroes. Top of the list, however, is Rose, producer and co-founder of Little Triangle. Rose has built our little company from the ground up – nothing happens without her. If you want to see what a modern-day superwoman looks like, look no further.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Easy! Make theatre more accessible. For too long, theatre has been an elite sport – just look at those prices! If I could, I would make sure that people of all walks of life, young and old, were able to experience theatre. It’s pure magic and truly has the power to change lives. It sure changed my mine. We at Little Triangle do our small bit to make theatre accessible – we have tickets starting at only $30, which is an absolute steal considering the incredible cast, crew and creatives involved in NINE.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I would love to say Italy, of course! For those who don’t know, NINE is set in Venice. But alas, I am yet to visit our Italian neighbours. I would have to go with Uluru – the pure majesty and rich history of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is unmatched. If only Pauline Hanson would agree…

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
From one cliché to another, I have to say that when out-of-towners visit Sydney I try to take them to see a show. There is so much happening in Sydney and I get such a thrill from sharing my passion for independent theatre. I’m lucky to work with so many brilliant theatre makers, and love to see what they’re working on. In fact, Kelly Goddard, our Mama Maddelena, is about to unveil her cabaret, Smart Girls Guide, at The Newsagency for The Sydney Fringe Festival!

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books at the moment, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies by Ted Chapin and Mainly on Directing by Arthur Laurents. Being a musical nut, I’m struggling to put both books down. The first follows the creation and production of Sondheim’s Follies, from inception, through to rehearsal, tryouts and opening night. It’s a wonderfully candid book about musical theatre and I could not recommend it more highly. I’m also revisiting Laurents’ book because it’s an old favourite. It, along with a couple of other books by directors, become my bibles during the rehearsal period. Laurents is one of the great Broadway directors, with theatre in his bones, and he is a welcome angel on my shoulder in the rehearsal room.

What are you currently listening to?
A couple of possible shows for 2020, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you…

Happiness is?
The moment the lights go up on the second night of the run. Rehearsals have wrapped up, the set has been built and bumped into the theatre, the lights rigged, the costumes sourced. The actors and musicians have by now performed a couple of previews and what is always a glorious, yet nerve-racking opening night, and now they can relax into their characters and just play.

What does the future hold for you?
Theatre, always!

Alexander with direct and design Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s Tony Award-winning musical, NINE at the Seymour Centre from 5 September 2019. For more information, visit: www.seymourcentre.com for details.

Image: Alexander Andrews – phoot by