On the Couch with Emma Austin

Emma Austin AAR On the CouchWho is Emma Austin?
I am an actor, writer, director and teacher from Melbourne. I went to Fed Uni Arts Academy, then onto complete my Masters of Teaching and into a primary school setting to teach music and drama. As well as working for Zoos Victoria and writing some children’s shows with Anthony Craig, I have freelanced as an actor and stage manager. I’ve been working with the Melbourne Shakespeare Company for a few years now as both a stage manager and actor across multiple shows. I’m a bit of a homebody who loves creating theatre and inspiring children through the arts.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
To be honest, I’d be better scheduling my own life. I have a tendency to say ‘yes, and’, which has led to some fabulous opportunities and friendships in my life, but it also leads to a mountain of double-bookings.

Who inspires you and why?
The Artistic Director of Melbourne Shakespeare Jennifer Sarah Dean is one of the main inspirations in my life. I often tell her she’s ‘who I want to be when I grow up’, which makes her squirm, but it’s true! Jen is such a kind and generous person while being so incredibly intelligent and spearheading a company that so many of us are lucky to call our home. The way that she is able to problem solve and keep a cool head in stressful situations has taught me a lot about life, as well as working with her as a creative and her people skills.

I have also always looked up to Stephen Sondheim, who sadly passed away recently. His work as a composer, lyricist and teacher has inspired me for most of my life and I love his views on the world and how eloquently he is able to express exactly how life feels. I feel that he was able to speak the eternal truths like no other and I love his outlook on life. His passion for teaching through theatre is one that I share, and as he so beautifully said, “Teaching is a sacred profession. And art is a form of teaching.”

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would love to give equal opportunities to all children around the world for a quality education.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
England, when I was there I never wanted to come back! To be surrounded by all that history and have it all at your fingertips is so incredible to me. I also loved Paris, it felt like being in a rom-com the entire time.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love to go to a winery or a fun exhibition. I went to The Lume recently and I’ll be taking everyone I know!

What are you currently reading?
Pride and Prejudice. And oldie but a goodie.

What are you currently listening to?
Oooh a bit of a mix! The Travelling Wilburys, Taylor Swift, The Bright Star Soundtrack, Olivia Rodrigo and a random assortment of my favourite oldies pop.

Happiness is?
Love. Whether it’s loving what you do, who you’re with or yourself (preferably a combination of all three)

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? Hopefully a box of chocolates at some point in the near future. I’m not really a big planner, but I’m excited to be taking steps forward in both my creative and professional careers.

Emma is the Writer and Director of Telling Tales – which will be presented by Melbourne Shakespeare Company at the St Kilda Botanical Gardens: 11 – 19 December 2021. For more information, visit: www.melbourneshakespeare.com for details.

Image: Emma Austin (supplied)