On the Couch with Cathy Hunt

Cathy Hunt AAR On the CouchWho is Cathy Hunt?
Cathy Hunt is a theatre director, dramaturg, writer and occasional performer (as her alter ego, feminist performance poet Ms Beige Brown) originally from Sydney, who moved to Melbourne in 2014 to pursue directing more wholeheartedly and live more affordably as an artist.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Be even more prepared, have started earlier, always on every project! But as my friend and fellow director Justin Nott says, ‘there’s never enough time. There never is. There’s just the time you have. Deal.’

Who inspires you and why?
Local theatre legends Jenny Kemp and Richard Murphet, for their passion, determination and very distinct individual visions, who taught me at VCA. Also Adena Jacobs whose pure commitment to uncovering the work she really wants to make is beautiful to witness both in the discovering and in every rich culmination. Stephen Nicolazzo and Little Ones inspire me for their queer sensibility and the delicious slanting heightened view their work gives to stories I share a deep love for.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Listen more, learn more and speak up more about every injustice that I can’t bear to witness. Actually stop our government from making a practice of abusing vulnerable people seeking to change their situation. In a personal and creative sense, never again tell a single story as though it were the only one (John Berger).

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Nambucca Heads in NSW to see my incredible grandma Mavis who is 102!! and the pesky pelicans. I also have a soft spot for Bawley Point on the South Coast of NSW, after many university holidays spent there – the stars spring out of the sky when you walk down to the beach at night.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I quite like taking people to Moroccan Deli-cacy on Lygon St, also to La Mama theatre in Carlton because it’s been going strong for so long and carries the history of Melbourne theatre and community in its recently renovated walls and courtyard. I am quite into the Kathleen Symes library in Carlton too, we’ve lately been having a few intimate rehearsals for Her Father’s Daughter there.

What are you currently reading?
Oh My Gods – retelling of Greek & Roman myths – as in our version the characters went to Hedda’s ‘Greek god’ themed 21st. Also Greek & Roman political ideas (to get into George Tesman’s mindset) and a book called The Private Life: Why We remain in the Dark about the divide between our private and public selves and why it matters that there is one. Sometimes I terrify myself by reading Annabel Crabb’s Stop At Nothing about the inexorable determination and entitlement of Malcolm Turnbull. All research for the play.

What are you currently listening to?
Many Hedda Gabler playlists and possibilities, Cait Spiker’s has a lot of nostalgic goodness like Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, broken up with a bit of Nick Cave, mine veers more towards PJ Harvey and Laura Marling whereas our sound designer Jess Keeffe is getting me to listen to sounds as diverse as Janis Joplin, Warpaint and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Happiness is?
Being absolutely absorbed in creative possibility and pouring ideas into the work, hanging out with my nieces and nephew on my parents’ farm and getting caught up in their obsessions… and being with my cat Moses.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m looking forward to working on Dybbuks, with Samara Hersch and Chamber Made later this year through Theatre Works’ Associate Artist program. Recently I directed my first opera and would love to explore that art form further – plus looking forward to some serious slumping time down the track! I have been working on a project called Love/Chamberlain with writer Bridget Mackey – we plan to get it happening in the near future. Watch this space!

Cathy directs an exciting new adaptation of Hedda Gabler that drags Ibsen from a 19th Century drawing room to the 2018 streets of Chapel Street in Her Father’s Daughter at the Prahran Council Chambers from 22 May 2018. For more information, visit: www.trybooking.com for details.

Image: Cathy Hunt (supplied)