On the Couch with Dean Bryant

Dean Bryant AAR On the CouchWho is Dean Bryant?
I’m a director and writer based in Melbourne, who works on plays, musicals and cabaret. I grew up on a farm, reading about theatre and getting my family and friends to make these worlds with me. I do the same thing now, but in the city, with paid friends doing it.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’m already living my ideal life, making theatre in Melbourne and Sydney. I’d like to get more voices out there, tell different stories, invite different audiences in. Keep giving people new worlds to enter.

Who inspires you and why?
I just read the Mike Nichols’ biography by Mark Harris. That was an extraordinary creative life, moving from sketch comedy to theatre direction to movie-making and back and forth. Everything he did was in service of putting the “real” in front of us. Even if it’s fake, we have to feel “oh that’s how life is”. I just read Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy which was addictive because you just went story into story into story.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m under no illusions that theatre can change the world, but it can create a thrilling space for a group of humans to share for a time, and that’s a form of attention that can stay with you forever. The most useful contribution I can make in that world is to bring that attention to new actors, writers and creatives.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Byron Bay, because my family live there and it’s the perfect combination of water, nature and culture.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take them on a walk along the Yarra and then into the Botanic Gardens, which is something I did every day during lockdown and pretty much still do.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished the Outline trilogy. I want to read Cusk’s memoirs about motherhood and divorce next.

What are you currently listening to?
The WandaVision faux tv themes by Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The couple wrote the Frozen score, and were tasked with writing theme tunes that were true to sitcoms from each decade from the 50s. They’re utterly delightful as homage and as songs in their own right.

Happiness is?
Coming back from a walk by the Yarra with my partner Mathew to our beloved apartment in Collins Street.

What does the future hold for you?
The Opening Gala for the Brunswick Ballroom next week (an incredible venue and a lineup to match), then the award-winning musical Fun Home at Sydney Theatre Company and a revival of the Sondheim classic Merrily We Roll Along at the Hayes Theatre.

Dean is the Director of the Brunswick Ballroom Opening Gala – which takes place on 4 & 5 March 2021. The Brunswick Ballroom is Melbourne’s most dynamic and exciting new performance venue. For more information, visit: www.brunswickballroom.com.au for details.

Image: Dean Bryant (supplied)