On the Couch with Daniel Clarke

Daniel-Clarke-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Daniel Clarke?
I’m a queer, cis-gendered man, originally from Adelaide, now living in Melbourne! I’ve also lived in Costa Rica, London, Manchester, Leicester, Winchester, Whyalla and Brisbane. I’m married to a beautiful supportive partner, Nick, and we have two cats and a very cute 12-week-old puppy called Ziggy. I’ve been committed to a career in the arts since I was 7 years old, after watching Mary Poppins.

I’m currently working as the Creative Producer of Theatre and Contemporary Performance at Arts Centre Melbourne. I’ve also worked as Executive Producer, Programming at QPAC, CEO/Creative Director of Theatre Works, Artistic Director of Adelaide’s Feast Festival; amongst other roles in in the UK and Australia directing, curating, producing and creative facilitation. I’ve recently learnt how to practice Ka Huna Massage. I love walking, ice-cream and Kylie Minogue.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d probably be living in the country (working remotely) surrounded by greenery but not that far from the beach. I’d be exercising more and reading more for pleasure. I would be meditating daily and definitely spending quality time with friends and family. I’d make sure that I put some time aside for my own creativity.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m constantly inspired by artists – resilient, innovative, bold, visionary, unstoppable, change-making, entertaining, vulnerable, intelligent, political, radical, wonderful art-makers. Why? Because it takes huge courage, belief, sacrifice, strength, insight, compassion and risk to commit to a life of making art; so I am completely inspired by those who follow this path.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try to act with empathy and kindness. To listen. To advocate for art that changes hearts and minds. To support people who are making change. I try to be brave enough to have difficult conversations; to shift perspectives, challenge the status quo. I try to stay open to learning and growing, respecting our planet. Not getting stuck in one way of thinking. Am I ever succeeding in all of these areas at once? I doubt it, but I’m giving it a go.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Last year, when living in Brisbane, I fell in love with the Northern Rivers area of NSW… Brunswick Heads, Byron, Tyagarah, New Brighton etc. I would go there as much as I could on weekends. We found a converted boat shed right off the beach in New Brighton that became a perfect holiday spot. I feel so relaxed in this area; a deep relaxation from the moment I arrived. The first time we drove down there I opened the windows as we were arriving and the smell of the tropics overwhelmed me. I started to cry. It took me back to my time living in Costa Rica. I wondered why I had never discovered this place. River swims. Beach walks. Massage, Beautiful food throughout the region and great cabaret at Brunswick Picture House.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
When friends come to Melbourne we will always go and see a show (or two). Definitely somewhere for dinner; Chin Chin is a favourite, or Claypots… or one of the many restaurants in China Town. We will usually go for a walk along the beach at St Kilda or Elwood. Sometimes take the boat from the city to Williamstown. Often lots of eating and coffee.

What are you currently reading?
Sea Sick by Alanna Mitchell and Cloudless by Christine Evans.

What are you currently listening to?
Words and Music by Saint Etienne and a brilliant vinyl box set of 1940’s music.

Happiness is?
Spending time with loved ones. Laughter. Walking. Family. Being outside. Vinyl. Theatre. Puppy. Making art. Massage. Music.

What does the future hold for you? 
If only I knew! I would like to set up a retreat for artists in some beautiful country area. I’m trying to manifest that dream.

Daniel is the Creative Producer of Theatre and Contemporary Performance at Arts Centre Melbourne, who in collaboration with Melbourne Fringe are presenting the 2020 Take Over! At Home Residency Showings until late September – a program of 10 fearless and unique artistic explorations in the lead up to their presentation at Melbourne Fringe in November 2020. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Daniel Clarke (supplied)