On the Couch with Ella Caldwell

Ella Caldwell Arts Review On the CouchWho is Ella Caldwell?
I grew up on the south-east coast of NSW in a little country town called Candelo, near Merimbula. That place has a lot to do with who I am. And I’m an actor, a founding Ensemble member of Red Stitch, and currently the Artistic Director for the company.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Not a lot – I feel pretty lucky to be where I am. Though I would probably choose not to loose my temper on a few of the occasions I’ve lost it in the past…

Who inspires you and why?
Playwrights. Their ability to spark entire worlds, to give voice to the needs and questions of our society and to take us to places we otherwise might not consider, is very inspiring. My younger sister Rita has been inspiring me since I can remember – she definitely has the lion’s share of grace in our family. And my beautiful, determined mum, Karen.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
What would I do? If I could, I’d like to hand out endless doses of tolerance and open-mindedness. In the meantime I try to cultivate these qualities in myself. And I work in the Arts. Wow, how earnest of me. But true.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Somewhere I haven’t been yet – within Australia or overseas. Because there are so many more places to go!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
It’s usually straight into nature – the back beaches of the Mornington Peninsula, where I live, and bush walks. Often the NGV, and a variety of Melbourne’s restaurants – I love Cicciolina, Radio Mexico, Shanghai St Dumplings… And admittedly they always get a personal tour of Red Stitch – because I practically live there and I love the place.

What are you currently reading?
Sex at Dawn: The prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha. The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Both are relevant to the play I’m rehearsing at Red Stitch, The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner, and particularly to the journey of my character, Becky. I am also in the middle of reading a bunch of new work by Australian playwrights that have been submitted to our INK writing program at Red Stitch.

What are you currently listening to?
The Jayhawks.

Happiness is?
Solitary ocean swims, especially at dawn or dusk, are high on the happy list for me. Being apprentice for my kids, Molly and Alton, when they make up their own cake recipes. Dinner with girlfriends. Theatre.

What does the future hold for you?
A lot more work and a lot more learning. I hope!

Ella will be appearing in the Australian Premiere of Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike at Red Stitch Actors Theatre from 5 February 2016. For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Ella Caldwell (supplied)