On the Couch with Derek Stratton

Pilobolus Shadowland Derek Stratton Arts Review On the CouchWho is Derek Stratton?
I am the Dance Captain and Co-collaborator/creator of Shadowland. I consider myself an artist and activist, first and foremost. Categorically, I am a professional actor, dancer, choreographer and puppeteer.

What would you do differently to what you do now? 
When I am not touring with Shadowland, I am working on a career in film/tv acting in New York (NY), as well as creating and developing my own work. I am currently writing/creating a stage play, as well as a writing a multiple tv pilots.

Who inspires you and why? 
My Mom inspires me. She recently lost her battle with cancer in May. I couldn’t have asked for a better example of a mother and human being. She taught me how to love and how to forgive. No matter how rough things got, she was alway able to find a sliver of joy or some positive perspective and that love is really all we need.

What would you do to make a difference in the world.
I perform and create art. Keeping the arts relevant by asking the questions that challenge the status quo and make people think, will allow and encourage progress. We need to empower the people with ideas and the ability to question things like bigotry, sexism and socioeconomic inequality. If we don’t think, if we don’t ask questions, we don’t progress as a human race.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
My favorite holiday destination is to visit my family in upstate NY. I have traveled all over this world and just like Dorothy said, ‘There’s no place like home”. I have a large extended family and reconnecting with them feels much like recharging my internal battery.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to see? 
Well, living in NYC friends usually have typical touristy things they want to do. But, I try to take them to a piece of theatre that is particularly poignant and socially relevant to get their juices flowing.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently rereading my favorite book – The World According to Garp.

What are you currently listening to?
I have not found a new album to obsess over since Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes last year, but there is always some Ray Lamontagne and Jason Mraz on my playlists.

Happiness is?
Happiness is love. To truly love and be loved by another human being is when stress, worries and all of those things that keep us from happiness float away and we are left with joy and fulfillment.

What does the future hold for you? 
No-one knows what the future truly holds but I imagine that I will end up in Politics some day.

Following performances in Perth and Melbourne, Shadowland continues its Australian tour, playing: Frankston Arts Centre (16 August), Queensland Performing Arts Centre (23 – 28 August), Canberra Theatre Centre (30 August), State Theatre, Sydney (2 – 4 September), and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide (7 – 10 September).

For more information, visit: www.shadowlandlive.com for details.

Image: Derek Stratton