On the Couch with Eleanor Barkla

MTC-I-Wanna-Be-Yours-Eleanor-Barkla-photo-by-Tiffany-GarvieWho is Eleanor Barkla?
Right now, I’m an actor living and working in Melbourne, with a deep love for my family, friends, and Meredith Dairy Marinated Goats Cheese.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
In daily life? Stop judging myself so harshly and comparing my experience to the (often completely hypothetical) experiences of others. (I think social media may have something to answer for here)

In terms of career? I’m very lucky to say that, currently, I’m working my dream job with Melbourne Theatre Company so I’ll stick with this for now.

Who inspires you and why?
The people in life who DO. The instigators, the gatherers, the captains of the group message. I admire anyone who can lift people up and take them under their wing, with a bit of optimism and a more-the-merrier mentality.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Find a way to show young people that their beauty is innate, and that they don’t need to change any part of themselves for someone else. Not one bit.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It may be because I’m writing this whilst hungry, but I’m going to say Rome. The pizza, the gelato, the bombolone! Need I say more?

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
There’s a place in Carlton called Milk The Cow, where you can buy “flights” of four different wines, which are perfectly paired with four cheeses. I mean, come on! The next morning we’d head to Lobbs on Sydney Road for brunch, or go for a wander along Merri Creek up to CERES for a coffee and some fresh air. Finally, we’d go for a drive up the Calder to my hometown of Castlemaine. It has everything you need for a delicious weekend away.

What are you currently reading?
I Wanna Be Yours by Zia Ahmed. Does that count? In all honesty, I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to. But by my bed are Alan Rickman’s Diaries, Flowers for Algernon and the Fleabag Script, all crying out to be read (and dusted).

I will also say, I think the pressure of reading high-brow, critically acclaimed books can put people (me, I mean me) off reading in general. Enough! Pick up that young adult romance novel! Let them read books! Or eat cake. Or both.

What are you currently listening to?
My go-to podcast is, and will always be, Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Filled to the brim with belly laughs, as well as genuine insights into people’s lives, through food.

Music-wise, we’ve got everything from David Keenan, to Ny Oh, to Sammy Rae & The Friends. No gatekeeping here. You want recommendations? Here’s 542 playlists I’ve prepared earlier.

Happiness is?
Rocking up to my parents’ house on a chilly night, especially when I haven’t seen them for a while. The fire’s on, dinner is cooking, my niece is dozing in my sister’s arms – all is well.

What does the future hold for you?
Big question! For the next little while I’ll be performing in I Wanna Be Yours, before hiking the Jatbula Trail in Central Australia with two of my closest friends. Beyond that? Who knows! I don’t mind though – sometimes you have to let the door fly open to see what’s on the other side.

Eleanor stars as Ella in Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of I Wanna Be Yours by Zia Ahmed – currently playing at the Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until 27 May 2023. For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.

Image: Eleanor Barkla – photo by Tiffany Garvie