On the Couch with Alister Smith

Arts Review On the Couch Alister SmithWho is Alister Smith?
The director of the new production of Project: Hysteria for TBC Theatre Company opening the brand new independent theatre festival – Poppy Seed.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I try not to live in regret but if I didn’t direct I think I would have either continued a career in cinema where I worked for 15 years OR follow my dream of owning my own coffee and wine bar.

Who inspires you and why?
Barrie Kosky – bold, brave and unapologetic. Bob Fosse – he paints dynamic and stunning visuals on stage and screen. His art has purpose and power. Sam Mendes – brilliant understanding of the interior world and the complexities of humanity.

What do you do to make a difference in the world?
Attempt to make theatre that inspires imagination, hope and conversation.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
NYC inspires my spirit Paris inspires my soul.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Breakfast at the Diplomat in Highett where my wife and I call home. Walk along the Brighton beach boxes. Gertrude Street shopping. Hiring a boat at Studley Park. Beers and burgers at The Arbory on the Yarra. Show at the Malthouse. Then cocktails and jazz by The Shuffle Club at Transit Lounge

What are you currently reading?
The Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr. It’s the best biography of Tennessee Williams.

What are you currently listening to?
The Broadway Cast recording of Hamilton. Alec Balwin’s podcast, Here’s The Thing. ABC Jazz on digital Radio. Ella Fitzgerald sings the Irving Berlin catalogue LP.

Happiness is?
Black Rock Beach with my wife Elenor, our dog Scout and a glass of wine.

What does the future hold for you?
Possibility.

Alister Smith has worked as a director, choreographer, producer and writer across a board stream of artistic disciplines. This year he was nominated for a Green Room Award for ‘Best Direction of a Musical’ – Pacific Overtures for Watch This Theatre Company & Manila Street Productions.

His creative highlights include: Roxie Hart for The VCA; URINETOWN! The Musical for The VCA Musical Theatre; Slavs! for The National Theatre Drama School (Director); Where Do I Begin? for Manilla Street Productions (Director); Showcase 2013 for The Arts Academy (Director); Penelope for Red Stitch (Director); Possum Magic – 2013 National Tour (Director); Himmelweg (Director, RRTC); and Raton Laveur – Melbourne season & Adelaide Fringe 2013 (Director).

Additional creative highlights include: Behind Closed Doors by Adam J Cass a collaboration between Red Stitch Actors Theatre and The Flinders Quartet (Director); Tribes for MTC (Assistant Director); Hose for MKA (Director); John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt for The VCA (Director); The Threepenny Opera (Director, RRTC); Butterscotch and Lily Grey both for cabaret artist Emma Clair Ford (Director) and The Petticoat Soiree (Writer/ Director, Melbourne Cabaret Festival & RRTC); Yakiniku Dragon for The VCA & The Victorian Arts Centre (Director).

Alister is a graduate of The Victorian College of the Arts (Theatre Directing) and The Arts Academy Ballarat (Company 2004 – Music Theatre Performance). Alister is the founder and Artistic Director of Redroom Theatre Company, a Melbourne based production house of new theatre (est. 2005). Alister works extensively with performing arts students within the university sector working with Federation University (formally The Arts Academy) The Victorian College of the Arts and The National Theatre Drama School.

Alister will be directing Project: Hysteria for TBC Theatre at the Victorian Trades Hall Ballroom: 10 – 22 November 2015 as part of the inaugural Poppy Seed Festival. For more information, visit: www.poppyseed.net.au for details.

Image: Alister Smith

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