On the Couch with Gavin Williams

Gavin Williams oncWho is Gavin Williams?
I am a jack of all trades: Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Composer, Pianist, Teacher, Astrophysicist, and master of none. I was born in Melbourne and after moving to country Victoria for several years to teach maths and physics, I moved to Sydney in 2006 to begin a life in the creative arts. Now back in Melbourne, I have done nearly 100 plays and films and the Artistic Director of Steam Productions. Gavin Williams is also an African American Beyonce fan, A Welsh physiotherapist and an American lawyer (and many other ‘me’s I found on facebook and decided to befriend after maybe one too many glasses of merlot).

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would be organized, make to-do lists and maintain timetables. That way I could get to the gym more often, actually run down Beaconsfield Pde daily rather than just want to, not forget my mother’s birthday, and maybe sleep more. And probably stop getting caught up in my own head so often!

Who inspires you and why?
People for whom human survival is a day to day prospect, be they refugees, homeless, those with mental health issues, living in war-torn countries. These people have phenomenal stories to tell, stories that can teach us more about life than we can read in any book, or learn from any TV program.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Teach people to love mathematics! (Did you know the origin of the symbols for the numbers came from counting the number of angles in the symbols? Google: “Origin of Numbers”) In all seriousness, if people had a greater understanding of mathematics they would gain a much greater understanding of the world’s most major problems and issues (Overpopulation, global warming, famine). Possibly enough to collectively solve them.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The moon … one day! I have no greater dream than to be in space and be able to look down on the earth that is my home and truly appreciate its splendour. Only then, I’ve been told, will I truly understand the sheer ridiculousness of so many things that are happening on our planet, and the destructive power of human ego and self-worth.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The Melbourne Immigration Museum. We have learnt, and can learn so much from the people who have traveled from afar to grace us with their citizenship. The more varied the places they come from, the more we stand to gain. And many of us need reminding of this. (before going to Veggie Bar to eat).

What are you currently reading?
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. How can you go past a 10 year old criminal mastermind at war with a magical population of fairies and creatures with far superior technology, forced underground and into hiding by human overpopulation and pollution? (No shame! Get on it if you don’t know … and those that do, know what I’m talking about!)

What are you currently listening to?
The sound of 2am rain on my tin roof! As well as a lot of Tim Minchin!! Billy Joel’s Fantasies & Delusions is on my car CD (alternating with Monty Python Live at Drury Lane and Enzso, Split Enz with NZ Symphony Orchestra) and Dax Johnson is on my phone. Henryk Górecki’s Symphony Nº3 (The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) is playing right now on my CD player.

Happiness is?
Right now, that rain on my roof! And being able to love people without the expectation of anything in return. Growing up the eldest son of an AFL umpire and gaining a love for the game through going to see whichever teams he was umpiring each week.

What does the future hold for you?
In the immediate future my life revolves around the wonderful play Orphans by Dennis Kelly which opens August 8 at the Mechanics Institute. When that is complete my next writing project is begging to be started, along with filming of Sonnigsburg – a new TV series I have been extremely lucky to have been cast in. In the long run I’m hoping I have a happy and fulfilling life in the creative arts, bringing film and theatre to Melbourne which will hopefully give us an opportunity to reflect on our lives as we live them today, and in doing so, help people find ways to develop empathy and understanding for all people’s journeys.

Gavin Williams graduated from Sydney Theatre School in 2006 and worked as a professional actor in Sydney for five years before moving back to his home town of Melbourne in 2011. He is an accomplished acting teacher, returning to Sydney Theatre School to teach in 2010, the same year he started Steam Productions. He has performed or been involved in more than 70 film or theatre productions either as writer, director, actor, producer or designer.

Most recently he wrote and directed his first full length play, Guardian Angel – which was major success at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Among his theatre credits are The Negotiating Table (Bulldog Theatre), Macbeth (Sydney Independent Theatre Company), Julius Caesar (New Theatre), Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (Heidelberg Theatre Company) and Voices: The Carrical Project (Candlelight Productions). He has just begun shooting a new television series Sonnigsberg for Wrongtown Films, which will screen in early 2015.

Gavin is currently appearing in Steam Productions’ Orphans at The Mechanics Institute 8 – 23 August 2014. For more information, visit: www.steamproductions.com.au for details.

Image: Gavin Williams