On the Couch with Emma Gibson

Emma Gibson oncWho is Emma Gibson?
I’m a perpetual work in progress. I’m a playwright. I also write other things and I perform. I’m a cynic, an idealist, collaborative and a loner, an overachiever and a failure, a candle with no ends, and an imaginer of worlds. I obsess about ideas and I’m addicted to deadlines. I own a magical dramaturgical cat who believes she can identify flabby structure by attacking the post-its I lay on the floor. I’m a storyteller who uses brutality and beauty simultaneously – and apparently, I’m a killer of lady characters in all my previously produced scripts.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Figure out I wanted to become a playwright earlier in life so I could do more of what I do now. Also, I would not fear failure: make more mistakes, take more risks, seek more adventures and experiments – and learn.

Who inspires you and why?
That’s hard to narrow down. I’ve been fortunate to have some amazing mentors in my life, mostly strong, smart, and successful women who have had faith in me and challenge me to do them proud, particularly in my creative life. Thank you for your generosity and guidance, for arguing with me, and for being part devil-on-my shoulder and part fairy godmothers, and for inspiring me every day.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Prioritise education. Prioritise arts funding. Prioritise cross-cultural exchange and interaction – and through these keys, unlock opportunity and promote equality as well as enhancing quality of life. Also, enforce surrendering of mobile phones before patrons can enter the theatre.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Great Ocean Road – for its vistas of rolling hills and sea, the stories of shipwrecks and the treacherous beauty of the coast, and childhood memories of family holidays. It’s evocative and inspirational and feels like a homecoming every time I visit.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?  
I live in Canberra, so the answer has to be the Skywhale.

What are you currently reading?
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

What are you currently listening to?
A lot of classical piano music and 50s love ballads. Also Nick Cave.

Happiness is?
A bicycle ride with beautiful scenery, a fresh notebook, a new idea dancing in my imagination and a good coffee.

What does the future hold for you?
I hope adventures. Incorporating bicycles, beauty, notebooks, non-leaky pens, new worlds and discoveries.

Emma Gibson is a Canberra-based playwright whose writing credits include The Pyjama Girl (2013) produced by Hothouse Theatre in Albury-Wodonga; Love Cupboard (2010) and Widowbird (2012) at the Street Theatre, Canberra. Her plays have been performed across Australia, Sweden and the USA.

Emma was one of five women invited to participate in the International Women Playwrights Conference in Stockholm in 2012. In January this year, Emma’s play A Treeful of Tragical Tales was presented at La Mama ETC in New York.

Her latest play, Johnny Castellano in Mine is being presented at The Street Theatre in association with Canberra Youth Theatre till 12 April 2014. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au for details.

Image: Emma Gibson