On the Couch with Esther Marie Hayes

Esther Marie Hayes AAR On the CouchWho is Esther Marie Hayes?
I’m a costume designer living in Melbourne, Australia. I’m also a part of The Sisters Hayes – a sibling artist group. We work collaboratively in the visual arts and theatre.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I seem to be fascinated by crime investigation and forensics, so in another life I would probably want to work in that field!

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by people who work with intricate, labour intensive crafts and materials in interesting ways. Speaking of forensics, one of my favourites is Francis Glessner Lee – a woman born in Chicago in the late 1800’s, who essentially established what we now know as crime scene investigation through the creation of a series of intricate miniature handmade dollhouses/dioramas depicting true crime scenes. These were (and still are) used to help train homicide investigators. She had an incredible eye for detail and craftsmanship, using fine sewing needles to knit clothing items to 1:12 scale.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make the arts in general more accessible and affordable, and taking more priority in early education.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I have family in the States which is always a great reason for a visit and a road trip. I’ve been cross country a few times and love exploring small towns, diners, op shops, folk museums and all the weird roadside stops while the changing scenery rolls by.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Usually I take people to check out the galleries around town – and try to catch a theatre show in the evening. And of course lots of coffee stops and eating along the way!

What are you currently reading?
The Dry by Jane Harper.

What are you currently listening to?
Audiobooks and podcasts are always on while I work – at the moment I’ve been binge listening to The Untold: Untold Dramas of 21st Century Britain – a BBC podcast of isolated real life stories told in 20 minute bites.

Happiness is?
A buffet!

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows exactly – part of what I love about my job is every next project is something new and different to delve into and explore. A few months ago, I was designing set and costumes (as part of The Sisters Hayes) for Michele Lee’s latest play, Going Down – a fast-paced comedy set in contemporary Melbourne. And recently, I have put the finishing touches on my costume designs for Victorian Opera’s William Tell – an epic classic set in a modern dystopian world, directed by Rodula Gaitanou.

Victorian Opera’s production of Rossini’s William Tell is currently playing at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre until 19 July 2018. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Esther Marie Hayes (supplied)

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