On the Couch with Alysha Herrmann

alysha-herrmann-jpgWho is Alysha Herrmann?
I’m a mother and a writer and a theatre maker and an awkward social media stalker. I like long, poorly formed sentences that swirl around like poetry in my mouth. I like chocolate (read: food) and books and seeing theatre/movies that make me sob in that cathartic all the feels way. I feel terribly awkward in real life but people always tell me I don’t come across that way. But it’s kind of okay with me if I do. My fashion sense is often reminiscent of a three year old. My favourite book/s is are all the ones written by Guy Gavriel Kay. I hate massages. Love dogs. Scared of birds and driving manual vehicles.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
I kinda like how everything is coming together on a personal/professional level – the good and the bad – so I wouldn’t want to do anything differently and risk an entirely different result (better or worse).

Who inspires you and why?
The people I work with. The people who participate/collaborate on projects with me, their stories and trust in the process inspires me. The generosity of spirit they bring. Also just all the passionate people that make things happen, especially all the skilled volunteers who bring their talents and their time to everything we do together.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m trying to educate myself about the environmental impacts of my choices and live more deliberately in this regard. It’s something I’m really struggling with because I do like my stuff – my car, my smartphone etc – but it does all have a cost and I don’t want the legacy I leave to be one of ‘I was too selfish to change my habits to give the next generation a better chance’. I’m also becoming more politically aware as I get older too, I come from a family that’s never talked about/engaged with politics but I’m finding more and more that there are a whole bunch of things happening in the world making me mighty cross and I want to be part of the conversation and hopefully the solution even if that’s just through my vote.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’ve not really ever been on holidays as such. Our holidays are going and hanging with family in places where they live. I like those though. We sit around big old tables and eat chips and chocolate and bad things and play card games and board games and shout at each other good naturedly. Tis good for the soul.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Oh gee. I’m not very good at this. All my suggestions are places to eat food. There’s a theme here. Seriously though, I would take them to my heartland, which is the Riverland region of SA and specifically I would take them for a meal somewhere in Renmark and for a walk along the River Murray in the evening. It’s a special place. Also Banrock station just outside of Waikerie. Beautiful food and location and I don’t drink, but for people that do, they have wine.

What are you currently reading?
One of my dear friend’s Creative Writing Masters thesis project thingos, which is a multimodal narrative novel?

What are you currently listening to?
Joelistics (Australian hip hop artist). I’ve had the song Not in My Name on repeat for weeks.

Happiness is?
Work well done. Food and time shared with loved ones. A crisis averted. A storm weathered. Overcoming small fears. Sleeping in a warm bed. Funny SMS conversations with friends.

What does the future hold for you?
Growing old hopefully, with wrinkles and smile lines and loved ones. Getting better at the work I do, hopefully. In the near future in 2015, I’m working on a project called Manifold Portrait, which is very close to my heart, and I’m currently the Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts and we have a really fun zombie theatre project coming up in May (www.carclew.com.au) and a host of other things I’m rather excited about. In the more distant future, I’d love to co-write a fantasy (Dragons. Fairies. Magic.) video game. Anyone game?

Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, writer, theatre maker and cultural producer working across disciplines in the arts, community development, social justice and social enterprise, and is especially passionate about regional communities and supporting the amazing ideas of young people.

Alysha has conversations with people who don’t think they are creative and then uses her skills as a writer, theatre maker and cultural producer to turn those conversations into different kinds of artistic ‘things’. Theatre. Installations. Poetry. Words. Experiments. Experiences. Moments.

Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including the 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award, 2011 South Australian Young Citizen of the Year and was named by SA Life as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30.

Alysha was presented with the Australia Council’s 2015 Kirk Robson Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development in Sydney on Thursday 19 March. For more information, visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.

Alysha also tweets mini poems as @lylyee and blogs about creative life at: alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com

Image: Alysha Herrmann