On the Couch with Gillian Lemon

Gillian Lemon Arts Review On the CouchWho is Gillian Lemon?
Belfast-born theatre director, teacher and Acting Head of NIDA Open.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Hard question! I feel pretty fulfilled in my role as both as an arts educator and teacher. I enjoy the challenge that both of my roles at NIDA bring but I suppose if I won the lottery, I would want to spend time reviving the theatre company my wife and I established and ran in the UK.

Who inspires you and why?
Artists or people who utilise the advantages of their position to advance great causes.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think I would be naïve to think that I have power to make massive change, but if we all exercised a little more compassion in word and action for the people we interact with on a daily basis, the world could be a happier place.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love New York, but I also love holidaying in Europe where you can travel short distances and be in very different places.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Always the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. They are the epitome of Sydney and I have very clear memories of being in awe of them both when I first visited Australia in 2011.

What are you currently reading?
The Handmaids Tale
by Margaret Atwood. I’m a bit late to the party on this one. I watched the TV series, but wanted to read the book while directing the first year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) students in a production of Antigone at NIDA. I enjoy reading material that may spark ideas when I’m directing and it informed some of my thinking about patriarchy and behaviour women are often forced to deal with.

What are you currently listening to?
A Relax and Unwind playlist on Spotify.

Happiness is?
A lazy weekend with my wife, family and friends. There should be just the right mix of relaxation and activity and always great food.

What does the future hold for you?
I have no idea and that’s great! I try to avoid having very particular plans. Sometimes if you become so focused on achieving a very particular thing, you may miss out on some other amazing opportunities along the way. I never even considered visiting Australia 10 years ago and yet here I am!

Gillian is overseeing NIDA Open’s school holiday program across Australia, offering courses to explore creative potential and indulge the imagination. Courses run all through December and January. For more information, including dates and locations, visit: www.nida.edu.au for details.

Image: Gillian Lemon