On the Couch with Dirk Hoult

Dirk Hoult Arts Review On the CouchWho is Dirk Hoult?
After graduating from acting school in 2001 and journeying over to work in the UK for a spell, I finally moved to Melbourne at the end of 2011 to install myself into the world of Australian music theatre, and cabaret. Let’s just say… I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.

For the most part, I spent the last five years at The Butterfly Club where I installed many of the wall designs you see there, and also worked behind the bar. During this time I maintained a residency at the venue where I produced and performed in numerous vaudevillian inspired variety shows that we then took to various nightspots across the city.

I had directed a handful of short works by now but it wasn’t until my good friends Rachel Dunham and Shanon Whitelock came to me with their 10min cabaret Oprahfication that the directing bug, really bit down hard. We turned that 10-minute show into a 90-minute one-woman musical about Oprah… and eventually got it to New York in 2014.

By the time I got back to Melbourne I’d decided it was time to go back to school. I’m currently half way through my Masters of Directing for Performance at the VCA and The Man of Mode, is my first non-musical play. I have the most generous and talented cast and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve achieved in the past few weeks. I’m very excited!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
You know, I rarely think about this because, to be honest I don’t think there is anything else I could do. I’ve tried day jobs – they take me to a dark place. I was born for the light fantastic, to tells stories, and to take people on adventures. But If I had to choose… I’m great with kids…

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by artists like Yana Alana, Tommy Bradson, Meow Meow, and Mama Alto; artists who bare their soul on stage (and a little bit more). They do it in kick-ass costumes and sing their guts out. They’re political. They’re brave. They take us on a journey with words that mean something to them. And to top it all off… they’re beautiful people, graceful, articulate, and kind. That’s what I want to be when I grow up – just like them.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Be kind. “Love with every stranger, the stranger the better.” – HOZIER

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The last time I went to Paris, I was single. Which wasn’t so bad, except I had to push through all those disgustingly-in-love people making-out on the Eiffel Tower just so that I could get a better view. Next time I go to Paris… I’m not going alone. I really want to see more of Europe. Berlin is my next holiday destination.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Generally the first place I take my outta town friends to when they visit Melbourne is Pony Fish Island, for catch up beers and a great view. Or if it’s late, Vodka Borsch & Tears in Prahran, the atmosphere there is great! You can’t go past photos at Luna Park or a trip to visit the penguins at the peer either.

What are you currently reading?
A Director Prepares by Anne Bogart. This book makes me feel like I’m normal… HA! It’s a personal journey of Anne’s theatrical history and her directorial process. I’m so inspired – sometimes it’s important that we know we’re not alone in our artistic fears and frustrations. Anne’s been able to share her perspective, and I have a feeling this book is going to become a bit of a bible for me.

What are you currently listening to?
Two albums on repeat at the moment: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and Hozier. Can’t get them out of my head!

Happiness is?
Happiness for me is wine with friends, singing around a piano. And cake. Lots of cake.

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows what the future holds. I’m living for today and having a great time doing it. Making theatre. I want to direct new Australian musicals, and I’m taking steps to make that dream come true. What do I see in my future? A lot of hard work, and a lot of opening nights!

Dirk is currently directing The Man of Mode, which plays Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel: 18 – 28 May 2016. For more information, visit: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au for details.

Image: Dirk Hoult