On the Couch with Gareth Ellis

Gareth Ellis oncWho is Gareth Ellis?
I am a collection of atoms working together to form a sentient being residing on planet Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy. Often referred to as G, Gaz or the unfortunate nickname G-Banger, I perform the actions of Writer, Director, Actor, Musician and Co-Artistic Director of Feat Theatre.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
I would probably avoid artistic pursuits, and try to become a chartered accountant.

Who inspires you and why?
My partner Amanda would have to be the strongest inspirational force in my life. She encourages me to explore my weird ideas with confidence and face challenges that, without her support, would otherwise be out of my reach. I am also inspired by anyone who embraces original thought, or likes to talk nonsense.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am currently attempting to do it with Feat Theatre. We offer an affordable and versatile space where hundreds of artists have already made work. A free and intelligent exchange of ideas is ultimately what will change the world. We provide some space for this to happen. We aim to stay open however we can, so this continues. I would also hope that my work challenges my audience to think a little more broadly.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
In my travels I have been to some amazing places and seen some pretty groovy things, but they have never interested me as much as the conversations with people that happen along the way. They inspire and evolve to form new ideas and perspectives that lead me to my favourite destination of all… the worlds of my plays. I love spending time in realities different to the norm. Places where life is funnier than normal, and anything is possible.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I think the Yarra River is probably the place to be in Melbourne on a nice day. The free BBQs near Swan Street bridge are the perfect spot for a beer, a bite, and a catch up. The city and the sporting arenas look excellent from there, and the Botanical Gardens across the road are a great place for kids to play and explore.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I don’t have much time to read plays or books, so it’s mostly war and science related news articles. In addition I have a one-year-old daughter, so I am getting in a lot of Hairy Maclary and The Cat In The Hat.

What are you currently listening to?
I always listen to lot of traditional blues and rock. But I’m currently pretty impressed by the Arctic Monkeys early stuff. They are great lyrical story tellers and have a funky sound to boot.

Happiness is?
There are as many answers to that question, as there are numbers in pi. But here are a few… Something to aim for. The joy of endeavor. Realising a dream. A great day of writing. One golden line. Laughter from the audience. A cold beer on a hot day. A fleeting thing. A case of perception.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m not really a gambling man… but if I knew the answer to that question I would certainly try to bet on it and make a little money. Ruling out the possibility of taking a ride in a time machine, I’d have to say… I have no idea. Maybe a musical comedy?

Gareth Ellis is Co-Artistic Director of Feat In Space Theatre Company. As writer Gareth won the Wal Cherry Award and Malcolm Robertson Prize for his first full length play A View of Concrete, which premiered as a reading at the Vic Arts Centre in 2004, and was later produced by Malthouse Theatre in 2006. It is still a regular on Australian stages, most recently performed at Sydney’s King Street Theatre.

Other works include Time With Mrs. Thompson at LA MAMA, The Champion Male with On A Mat Appear, I Am A Pessimist with Real Fiction, the shorts plays The Box, The Casting and Jack Rabbit for Short & Sweet, and The WeWak Mosquito for Infectious. His most notable collaboration is the one woman show The Sound Of Waves developed with Jodie Harris for The University of Melbourne and Cochlear Australia, performed at VCA in 2008, and staged at fortyfivedownstairs in September 2014.

Gareth is a 2002 VCA Drama Graduate and has worked performing and developing work with MTC, Ilbijerri, Melbourne Workers Theatre and Arena Theatre Company, among others. His most notable role was in Hannie Rayson’s Inheritance for MTC/STC, and later for ABC Radio National. Along with regular voiceover work, Gareth has been in numerous short films, pilots and television programs.

For Feat Theatre, Gareth co-directed and performed in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow by John Patrick Shanley, and directed his own plays The Piano Thief and A Protest. He has also written many of the plays in Feat Theatre’s public playreading series.

Currently in production, Gareth’s latest play Receivers, will receive its premiere at the Feat Theatre from 20 November. For more information, visit: www.featinspace.com for details.

Image: Gareth Ellis