On the Couch with Anni Davey

Anni Davey oncWho is Anni Davey?
I am an independent performer and director of circus. I have a nine-year old daughter. I teach circus and Flying Trapeze. I live in Collingwood in a converted warehouse which makes me sound very hip but I’m not really. Lot’s of people mistake me for my twin sister Maude. An acquaintance asked me once “so, no more offspring for you?”. And after mumbling my way through… “if I had started earlier I would have had five children I think but I’m too old to have more babies and bla bla bla…” I realized that he thought I was Maude and that he was asking if I was appearing on the telly show again soon!

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
Wow, that’s a hard one! Sometimes I think that I should move away from Melbourne to an easier place (like Margaret River where my mum lives), but then the art here always drags me back. Here in Melbourne there is an audience and an appetite for difficult and experimental performance art work that is not constrained by genres or labels. You don’t get that in Margaret River! If there’s anything I’d change it’s my tendency to get overcommitted. If a project excites me I find it very difficult to say na…, na…, NO! (there, you said it – was it that hard?)

Who inspires you and why?  
Children inspire me. I teach circus to 3-5 year olds, and find them, all and each of those super special individuals, give me a different and new way of looking at each question that comes up. How does a kangaroo walk? How much fun can we get out of each moment? Is obedience really important?

What would you do to make a difference in the world?  
Teach young children circus! And that obedience, while convenient, is not very important!

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
Margaret River! The best beaches in the world and that is no exaggeration.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
We walk along the dirt trails at the Yarra Bend and then to the Collingwood Children’s Farm or the Convent. To have a wild place in the inner city is so comforting.

What are you currently reading?
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it’s annoying me a bit. I like clever things but I don’t like things too clever! And 1984. I’m looking for a monologue from my generation to my parents’ that accuses them of destroying our future.

What are you currently listening to?
1. Gavin Bryars The Sinking of the Titanic – it’s so sad! (thanks for the recommendation Bracegirdle)
2. Radio National
3. The builders next door constructing another shoddy monument to the Coles/Woolworths battle for supremacy that will provide more inappropriate and inadequate inner city housing.

Happiness is?
… unlike unhappiness – you eventually recover from it! I have borrowed that quote from someone but I can’t remember who.

What does the future hold for you?
The future is unknowable, and the past is a predator. Each moment, each step forward, is gobbled up by a monster that doggedly hunts down and devours our aspirations and dreams. Any plans I make are unravelling before I have even formed them. So I try and stand aside, let the monster pass, and go to sunny places when it’s too cold in Melbourne.

Anni Davey is a freelance director and teacher of physical theatre and circus based in Melbourne. She is Chair of ACAPTA (Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association). She has enjoyed a long professional relationship with Circus Oz – including Performer, Guest Director, Assistant Director, Operations Manager and Acting General Manager (1998 and 2009). Most recently, Anni oversaw the New Building project.

In the early 1990s Anni was involved in the formation of two independent performing companies, both highly regarded as creating seminal works in circus and in musical theatre. Club Swing toured their aerial show Appetite around Australia and internationally from 1994 to 1999, and produced a second show, Razorbaby (1999) that showed to acclaim in Melbourne and Sydney. Crying In Public Places toured three a cappella theatre shows (Crying In Public Places, Jump! and Skin) around Australia and internationally until 2001.

Anni’s directing practice, in development since 2006, includes three shows with Yana Alana and the Paranas (Sarah Ward) for which she won two Green Room awards as Best Director of Cabaret (2007 and 2009), The Blue Show for Circus Oz (2010), Peep (2010) and Carousel (2012) for One Trick Pony, Down Pour for A4 Circus Ensemble (2010), Short Black for Sosina Wogayehu (2011), I Heart Jack for Anna Lumb (2011), Domestic Bliss for Quiche Lorraine (2008), A Plane Without Wings is a Rocket (2006) and The Antechamber (2007) for The Women’s Circus.

In 2010 Anni was awarded one of three fellowships by the Australia Council as an Emerging Circus and Physical Theatre Director. In 2012 she directed The Rat Trap by Polytoxic, co-produced by the Queensland Theatre Company.

Anni is one of the artistic collaborators on Retro Futurismus – an immersive performance extravaganza at fortyfivedownstairs from 11 June. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.

Image: Anni Davey