On the Couch with Dave Kelman

Dave Kelman oncWho is Dave Kelman?
I’m the artistic director of Western Edge Youth Arts a youth theatre company providing access to theatre for young people who wouldn’t other wise get the chance. I’m man who has spent his life making edgy plays with young people from different cultures and trying to break down the elitist and silo-ed nature of the theatre industry.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Not much. May be plant some more trees and – ideally – work a bit more on making art and a bit less on how to fund it.

Who inspires you and why?
Young people who care about the world and Bob Brown, because he has integrity in a world that is so obviously lacking it.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Stop corporations cutting down forests. Tax the rich, that sort of thing.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Island of Mull on the west of Scotland. It’s my spirit country.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Cape Otway Victoria. World class wilderness.

What are you currently reading?
Jerzy Grotowski’s Towards A Poor Theatre – it’s a bit mystical but broadly makes sense and it gets to the heart of what theatre is.  Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam – stunning, hilarious dystopian fiction that is right on the money.

What are you currently listening to?
Lo’Jo – French / North African anarcho-fusion with harmonies to die for.

Happiness is?
Love, art, nature and vegan food.

What does the future hold for you?
Iago at the Malthouse is coming up – a stunning physical theatre exploration of contemporary misogyny from different cultural perspectives with brilliant young performers. Then, if I’m lucky, some more mad edgy plays with young people. Death.

Dave Kelman has worked for the past thirty years as a director, writer, researcher and drama educator in Melbourne Australia and Leeds UK. As Artistic Director of Western Edge Youth Arts (2006 to present), he has directed widely acclaimed, community youth theatre work and an innovative artists-in-schools program.

Recent stand out work for Western Edge includes: Fate (2013), a music/theatre performance for the Big West Festival and Black Face White Mask, which performed in a sell-out season at The Malthouse in 2012.

He has toured nationally with his own award-winning Theatre-in-Education Company Dog Theatre (1996-99,Buckley’s Chance Drama Victoria – ‘Best School’s Show’ 1998) through Nexus Arts and pioneered hip-hop theatre in UK – Union City (1995) for the Yorkshire Dance Centre, and in Australia, Casino City (1996) for Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Dave is currently a regular lecturer in arts education at the University of Melbourne. His research has been widely published in refereed books and journals and he was a keynote speaker at the 2010 International Drama and Theatre in Education Congress in Brazil. He was awarded a PhD in Drama Education at the University of Melbourne (2009).

Western Edge Youth Arts production of Iago plays at The Malthouse Theatre: 7 – 9 May 2015. For more information, visit: www.westernedge.org.au for details.

Image: Dave Kelman – photo by Nicola Dracoulis