On the Couch with Courtney Stewart

La-Boite-Theatre-Courtney-Stewart-photo-by-John-McRaeWho is Courtney Stewart?
I’m an artistic and stage director, story developer, industry leader, and mama.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If I wasn’t in the arts I would probably be an educator – I love working with and for young people.

Who inspires you and why?
I feel inspired by every person I get to work with, I’m inspired by my two kids too.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Open as many doors and create as many opportunities as possible for artists, people, communities to share their voice, stories and perspectives. I really believe in the power of community healing through stories.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Hawaii – I’ve been a couple of times with my partner. We both love being outdoors in the water or climbing mountains and eating fruit and veggies. I’d love to take our kids to Hawaii one day.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If we are talking about Melbourne, I would take them all around Southbank – the NGV, ACMI, Arts Centre, Malthouse, MTC – the buildings are grand, spacious and inspiring. There is a somewhat similar vibe in Brisbane’s South Bank – both are heaving with creative activity.

What are you currently reading?
Stolen Focus by Johann Hari – super interesting book on how and why it’s so hard to pay attention, and what might need to change on an individual level but also what needs to change in the world to make this possible.

I’m also reading The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton – which talks about how our surroundings can have profoundly positive or profoundly negative impacts on our very being.

And I’m reading Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership – as an Artistic Director and CEO of a Theatre Company, I’m keen to learn about how directors of Not-For-Profit companies navigate such a challenging operating environment. It’s an amazing book.

What are you currently listening to?
Music: Durand Bernarr, Erykah Badu, Jhene Aiko
Podcasts: Simple Families, Huberman Lab, Nonprofits are Messy

Happiness is?
Being with my family – my babies are getting older so every moment counts. I love being at home and watching them play and letting them set the rules!

What does the future hold for you?
I’m really not sure! I feel like I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities that have seen me stretch in every direction. I have grown so much over the past 18 months, and have worked with some truly incredible people.

I will continue to do my part to ensure the future is a place where all young people can have great opportunities and safety. That feels really important to me. Not just for my kids, but for all young people.

Courtney is the Co-Director (with Tariro Mavondo) of The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke – which is currently playing at the Malthouse Theatre until 17 March 2024. For more information, visit: www.malthousetheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Courtney Stewart – photo by John McRae