On the Couch with Dan Ireland-Reeves

Dan-Ireland-Reeves-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Dan Ireland-Reeves?
I’m just some random guy from England. I’m a writer, an actor, ex gay sauna worker. I’d like to think I’m funny, outgoing and friendly. I’m very lucky to get to travel all around the world performing my shows but most of the time I’m just a regular person who waits tables in a restaurant to pay his bills. And I say that with my chest; there’s no shame in having a regular day job.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If I wasn’t writing and performing, I’d love to be a director. I think I could have made a good career out of it if I’d have gone down that route originally. I love moulding the whole image and narrative of a show. Either that or scenic design. I’ve always been a sucker for a beautifully designed production.

Who inspires you and why?
I often find I’m hyper-inspired which can sometimes make it difficult to stick to a creative path. Everything inspires me and leads me down different paths. Performers, writers, directors, designers. All things creative. Jamie Lloyd, Phoebe Waller-bridge, Bunny Christie, Mark Ravenhill, Michaela Coel… to name just a few. They all evoke an urgent feeling, which is something I aim to achieve with my own work. It’s not relaxed, not casual. Their work is impossible to ignore.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try just to be a decent person. I do my best to be kind and honest and I hope people do the same to me. There’s a lot of ego in this game. I try my best not to add to it. I think those little things that add up are really important.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love New York and Paris. They both have such great energy; albeit in totally different ways. Failing that, anywhere hot and near water. I’m a terrible swimmer but I love it anyway. Just calm. On the beach is the only time I can manage to shut off and read a good book. I’m far too easily distracted in the real world.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
If you were in my neck of the woods I’d probably jump on a train and take you into London. Living close I tend to take it for granted so it’s nice to take other people there and experience it through their eyes. There’s a lot to discover when you learn to see things for the first time again.

What are you currently reading?
I’m not currently reading anything. That sounds awful, doesn’t it. I have a stack of plays ready to go. I often dip in and out of them for reference, but in general I have a terrible attention span when it comes to reading. Doesn’t stop me buying new books all the time though.

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books. I’m currently listening to Miriam Margolyes’ autobiography. She has such a fantastic outlook on life. Failing that, I’ll be listening to show tunes and upbeat 80’s classics.

Happiness is…?
For me happiness is that short window of pride after having achieved something. Doing a show, completing some DIY, finishing my to-do list. All small moments of happiness before the next thing comes up. And of course any time spent with my husband and dog. And Chinese food. Simple pleasures.

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? It’s taken me a long time to get where I am now. I hope there’s further to go but I’m happy with where I am and what I’ve achieved. Maybe someone will discover me and take me on the next adventure. The work is good… I think so anyway. It would make a great TV show. I’ve got a lot more stories to share. But for now, the immediate future looks to be touring Sauna Boy for a bit longer, which I’m thrilled about.

Dan is the writer of and performs in Sauna Boy – which will be presented at The Motley Bauhaus (Black Box) from 29 January – 3 February as part of the 2024 Midsumma Festival. For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.

Image: Dan Ireland-Reeves (supplied)