On the Couch with Esther van Doornum

Esther van Doornum AAR On the CouchWho is Esther van Doornum?
An actor and voice over artist. I’m also the co-Artistic director of Iron Lung Theatre and producing our first show ‘night, Mother by Marsha Norman at Chapel off Chapel.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I worked in a bookshop for ten years … I’d like to do that again. If this acting thing doesn’t work out by the time I’m 70, I plan to do a sea change and open a second hand book shop.

Who inspires you and why?
My dad. He grew up in Holland during WWII. He never went to school; his whole family were torn apart and he spent many years in a boy’s home. When he came to Australia he educated himself and work himself up from nothing. He has taught me a lot about hard work and persistence. And the actor Ann Dowd … I love people who just put their head down, never give up and find success through hard work.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York. For the art and the people watching.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Straight to my favourite restaurant – Neighbourhood Food and Wine in Fitzroy. A day trip to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs or, if they have kids, to the Wombat Bend playground.

What are you currently reading?
Ah reading! If only I had the time. Before my son was born I used to stay in bed for hours in the morning and read, read, read. When I’m time poor I like to read articles from The New Yorker or short stories – currently A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin – brilliant, razor sharp, painful stories – she’s the Chekhov of the 1950s.

What are you currently listening to?
As I type this answer, The Noise Made by People by Broadcast, is on in the background.

Happiness is?
The beach in summer, bush walking in winter and watching my son sleep.

What does the future hold for you?
‘night, Mother opens on 7 August and hopefully I remember all my lines! Iron Lung’s second show in 2020 – an exciting and huge production that I can’t say anything about at the moment – renovating my house and, hopefully, a holiday to Japan.

Esther features in ‘night, Mother by Marsha Norman at Chapel Off Chapel: 7 – 17 August 2019. For more information, visit: www.ironlungtheatre.com for details.

Image: Esther van Doornum (supplied)