On the Couch with Emily J. Stewart

Emily J Stewart Arts Review On the CouchWho is Emily J. Stewart?
Born in Queensland, the only one in my family, the rest from Tamworth NSW. From the age of 5 to 20 there was not a day that I wasn’t on a horse. The Gold Coast Hinterland was my back yard and in the 80s completely undeveloped so there were paddocks as far as the eye could see. Could not have asked for a better childhood. Moved to Sydney 19 years ago to study acting.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
It would have to be something to do with environmental conservation / education. The devastation and impact we are imposing on our planet, rebuilding, developing, rezoning local areas, and pushing wildlife out of their natural habitat – is at a rapid rate especially here in Sydney. Even local Reserves in my area of Bondi are being ‘cleaned up’ by council, spending millions of unnecessary dollars and destroying natural surroundings. And this is only in one tiny area on this city let alone the globe.

Who inspires you and why?
My Dad. He moved to Sydney in the 50’s from Manila, small town outside of Tamworth, to study Jazz at the Conservatorium of Music. Lived in a friend of his father’s garage in Burwood, purchased his first Saxophone, one of many, at 17, which we still have today, and at the end of his life was able to play over 12 instruments, write sheet music for each instrument by ear. He was truly a deeply talented man who simply loved the Art of Music. He used to tell me “Keep your imagination alive and you’ll live forever”. I still live by that.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Similar to Q2 – Animal and environmental conservation.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Oh gosh… If I have to chose one, which is so hard.. So far it would be NYC. I’ve travelled a lot over the years but NYC never ceases to amaze me. Vibrancy, Art, Culture, Fashion, the smells that delight you as you walk past shop fronts. The noise. The lights of Broadway. The calm in Central Park as you ride up towards Harlem. Each pocket has its own very distinct personality and you can lose yourself in it.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I am a great tour guide when friends visit. I pack the car with good music and snacks and hit the road. Our national parks are incredible on the south coast of Sydney. One is Wattamolla in the Royal National Park. You can swim in the ocean or in the lagoon only a short walk from each other. It is like being on a remote island somewhere.

What are you currently reading?
I have 2 on the go at the moment. I spent 3 weeks in Cambodia for Christmas / NY this year and spent time at a soup kitchen for homeless children on the outskirts of Siem Reap. So inspiration from that is, First They Killed My Father. Which I am finishing before seeing the film. And one of my favourite writers, Dan Millman’s new one The Hidden School – The Return of the Peaceful Warrior.

What are you currently listening to?
I am quite old school when it comes to music, something I got from my Dad. In my car I have Tina Turner right now. And my favorite of all time PRINCE. He just comes wherever I go really.

Happiness is?
Being peaceful at heart. If your heart is at peace everything falls into place or just moves around you.

What does the future hold for you?
My play right now. So the next couple of weeks is going to be hectic yet delightful. After the play I would like to continue to work and collaborate with wonderful people in our industry, like I have done on this show. Stretching myself and building our industry. I will be searching for the next project to develop and stage. And I’m moving house so rebuilding herb gardens, flower beds and enjoying Spring.

Emily can be seen in Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, currently playing at the TAP Gallery until 25 November 2017. For more information, visit: www.eclipseproductions.com.au for details.

Image: Emily J. Stewart (supplied)