On the Couch with Anna Burgess

Anna Burgess AAR On the CouchWho is Anna Burgess?
I am honest, sensitive, creative, joyful, and willing to laugh at myself (and allow others to as well) whilst standing tall in what I believe. I try to leave each situation I am in with a little joy. I believe there are two very differing beliefs about our time here on earth: 1. That nothing I do matters; or 2. that everything I do matters in some way. I like to believe that any kind gesture, any smile, any piece of theatre has the ability to change a moment and add sunshine and love to a person or a place. I teach and act and develop my relationships with that thought in mind.

What would you do di?erently to what you do now?
Such an interesting question, as I come from a family where my father is a ship’s captain, my mother a painter, my older sister is a chemical engineer, my middle sister a social worker, and my extended family are farmers. I feel I was born with a creative mind so it would still have to be something that allowed that to flow. I adore love and people, so maybe I would’ve looked into being a marriage celebrant.

When I’m not acting I teach and take chocolate tours around the city. It makes my heart happy meeting people and making them smile. Maybe I’d start my own tourism company taking people on tours of my favorite haunts and eating chocolate and laughing all day. I’m sort of joking… but maybe not?! I had a guest on one of my tours say to me one day that being an actor and taking tours was not a real job. What is a real job? Do what you love, give back to the world in some way and try and make a difference.

Who inspires you and why?
My mother, Robyn Burgess. She is an exquisite painter. To me she is the purest example of what an artist truly is; a creative soul who paints every day because she has to, because she desires to, and then sends her work out into the universe where it is enjoyed by the greater world. My mother creates because it is what she was born to do. She also happens to be a sublime human, mother and a kind, generous and funny woman.

What would you do to make a di?erence in the world?
I take my role as an acting teacher and mentor very seriously. Guiding the next generation in and through this world is a beautiful gift that I don’t take lightly. So much of being a performer is about your personal journey and growth, so it feels right to then pass on what you have learnt to keep the world moving and growing. I truly believe the craft of acting can make you a better human. I teach my students that always. Empathy for others will see everything right. Kindness has so much power.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
I feel such an incredible ease in Thailand. The people, the food, the beaches, and the islands. The ocean is where I refocus and energize. I love Italy and New York and was so pleasantly surprised by Los Angeles last year. What a sumptuous city. But my favorite place in the world is Torquay/Jan Juc. It is my childhood, my home. Point Addis Beach along the Great Ocean Road is truly majestic.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Great Ocean Road for a drive, a swim, and a horse ride, Wilson’s Prom for a hike as both destinations are magical, the National Gallery of Victoria for a Friday night art and music event, the arts district to see a show because our arts culture here is heavenly and Cookie restaurant for a meal and a Negroni on the deck because it IS Melbourne to me.

What are you currently reading?
Agnes of God by John Pielmeier. It’s the next play I’m in at The Alex Theatre in April. The text found its way into my life about three years ago in an acting workshop with Larry Moss through 16th Street. It’s an incredible read and I’m immersing myself in it at the moment with three months to go until we open.

What are you currently listening to?
Truth? Everything 90’s. I feel my neighbors may be appalled, but then again you’ve got to dance like no one’s watching or, in this case, listening to your questionable music choices.

Happiness is?
Good health, the beach, great friends, honest conversations, working in the theatre, art, family laughter around the Christmas lunch table, dessert for dinner, finding your wolf pack, speaking your truth, laughter, hiking, nature, the colour pink and most importantly love. Love of thyself, love for others, and love for this very moment.

What does the future hold for you?
Today the future holds watching the weather to see if the show will go ahead tonight. I love working out in the elements. When mother nature says no you have no choice but to listen. Artistically my next project is Agnes of God at The Alex Theatre, which will be an incredible mountain to climb personally and character wise. And personally, looking forward to another year of laughter, growth and joy.

Anna is currently appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens until 3 March 2018. For more information, visit: www.dreamunderthestars.com.au for details.

Image: Anna Burgess (supplied)