On the Couch with Fleur Kilpatrick

Fleur Kilpatrick oncWho is Fleur Kilpatrick?
A playwright, theatre director, arts commentator, lover of knitwear, walker of beagles and an enthusiastic gesticulator.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
I like to imagine that I would be an architect, not because I’d be good at it (I hear it involves Maths) but because of a beautiful conversation I once had with my architect father. We were talking about the impermanence of my art form; how very mortal it is and how it only exists in collaboration with an audience. We began comparing it to architecture: it must be very different to create something that may outlast you and yet, it is still a collaboration with both its inhabitance and the changing landscape around it.

Things got deep and beautiful and, whilst I’ve never shown any talent for buildings, I loved that thought so much that it has become my alternate reality dream job: creating gorgeous spaces that may continue to evolve and inspire those who enter them for decades.

Who inspires you and why?
My dear friends, Sarah Walker. She is a photographer and also the director of my upcoming play, Yours the Face. As a writer, it is so easy to get trapped in words and I love that every day with her I am reminded of the power of the visual. She is also constantly curious about every aspect of the world and art, a pillar of sanity and a bringer of warmth, smiles and laughter. That is plenty inspiring.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I just try to listen and value the words and stories of everyone I meet, particularly young people. I work a lot with high school and university students and I try my hardest to let them know that they are fascinating, intelligent, creative beings, worthy of being heard.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Could someone send me to England, please? I have a niece there who lights up their little grey town and a nephew on the way whom I am so, so ready to love.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Mine would be a tour entirely made up of live theatre and breakfast food.

What are you currently reading?
Oh gosh. White Hunters by Brian Herne. It is the strangest thing I’ve ever read! It is about white hunters in East Africa throughout the early twentieth century. I thought it would deconstruct the myth of the white explorer or in some way analyse their role in colonial Africa but it is just a celebration of killing big things and how great it is being the most privileged people on the planet. It was published in 1999 and it reads like it was written in the 1950s. I read every page with total horrified fascination and making a lot of sounds like “urgh”, “huh” and “whaaaaat”. My research leads me to some bizarre books.

What are you currently listening to?
Podcasts, Elbow, beautiful bizarre folk music, Porgy and Bess, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Taylor Swift, NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts.

Happiness is?
A warm beagle.

What does the future hold for you?
I really hope it holds some sleep. If not sleep, I’ll settle for art that makes me catch my breath, conversations that drop my jaw and a few good snogs.

Fleur Kilpatrick is a prolific Melbourne-based playwright, director, dramaturg and arts commentator. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts’ post- graduate directing course (2009) and in 2013 completed her Masters in Performance Writing at the college under the guidance of Raimondo Cortese.

In 2014 she completed her dramaturgy internship through Playwriting Australia at MTC under the guidance of Chris Mead where she also interned for the Cybec reading series. Fleur is the artistic director of Quiet Little Fox, Senior Reader for MKA, a script assessor for Playwriting Australia and regular collaborator with five.point.one and Attic Erratic Inc.

Attic Erratic staged Fleur’s most recent play, The City They Burned as part of Melbourne Fringe 2014 where she won Best Emerging Writing award for the script. The same year her short playlet, I want you but I don’t need you was staged as part of Red Stitch’s Playlist and she was a contributing writer to 5 Pound Theatre’s Murder Ballads.

In 2013 Fleur’s play Insomnia Cat Came To Stay toured five cities and was staged at Brisbane Festival and she was short-listed for the Edward Albee scholarship for Yours The Face. She is a former winner of the SATC Young Playwrights Award.

Fleur currently blogs about theatre and the relationship between artists, audiences and critics at School for Birds and is a contributor to Dancehouse Diaries, Aussietheatre.com, Archer Magazine and The Music. She hosts the Audio Stage podcast with Jana Perkovic and regularly hosts live forums on theatre, dance and criticism in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Fleur’s latest work, Yours The Face will be presented at Theatre Works: 31 July – 9 August 2015 as part of FLIGHT – a festival of five new Australian plays. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Fleur Kilpatrick