On the Couch with Grace Chapple

Belvoir Grace Chapple photo by Brett BoardmanWho is Grace Chapple?
I’m a playwright and screenwriter working in Sydney on Gadigal land. I’m early in my career, having just written my debut play – a fact I’ll always bring up because it makes people even more impressed when they like it. I’m a hoarder of unread books, a passionate baker, and a poor loser at chess.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d get the f*** off my phone for a couple hours at a time. Honestly, what have they done to us??

Who inspires you and why?
God, everyone in my life, I’m surrounded by extraordinary, driven people. I would have to single out my siblings though. My little sister recently started med school in her late 20s – she always knew she had to be a doctor and has worked so hard to make her dream a reality. My two other siblings are incredible musicians, both bravely committed to their artistic careers when they could have easily found more comfortable, stable employment.

I feel so lucky to have grown up with these people, whose self-will and determination have helped me push myself to chase a career that I love, even when it’s hard. And we’re all so grateful to have a future doctor in the family, for us artists to bludger off when we’re old.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Right now? Ceasefire in Gaza.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Rome. It’s perfect unison of art, beauty, history, and good food. And they filmed the Lizzie McGuire movie there!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
It depends where they’ve come from. If my friends are visiting from Melbourne, or the UK, I take them to the beach – preferably Clovelly or Bronte. But I grew up in Perth, and my Perth friends will tell you quite openly that Sydney beaches are open toilets by comparison. So, Perth people get the theatre, preferably Belvoir St. I’d tell you how Sydney people describe Perth theatre, but I’d like to be let back in to WA someday.

What are you currently reading?
Red Side Story by Jasper Fforde. It’s the sequel to this incredible book Shades of Grey (not fifty) about a world in which humans can only perceive certain parts of the colour spectrum, and are sorted into a kind of caste system accordingly. Fforde’s capacity for colour-based puns is Pulitzer-worthy.

What are you currently listening to?
Cowboy Carter by Beyoncé. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be giving a country album a lil spin every day, I would have probably torn my ears off in preparation, but here we are. She’s made fools of us all!

Happiness is?
A cold beer in the sun with my friends. One of my favourite quotes to live by is from Simone de Beauvoir – “If the satisfaction of an old man drinking a glass of wine counts for nothing then production and wealth are only hollow myths; they have meaning only if they are capable of being retrieved in individual and living joy.”

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a lot more time to write, and a lot more writing. Lots more theatre, some TV. And maybe some work overseas if I’m lucky. I love my life in Australia but there are so many artists and companies I’d love to learn working in Europe.

Grace’s debut play, Never Closer, is currently playing at the Belvoir St Theatre until 16 June 2024. For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.

Image: Grace Chapple in rehearsal at Belvoir – photo by Brett Boardman