On the Couch with Isabella Gilbert

Isabella-Gilbert-photo-by-Darren-GillWho is Isabella Gilbert?
I am a Naarm-based actor, dancer and multidisciplinary performance artist who works across theatre, dance, film, sound and spoken word. I graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) in 2020. My practice explores the relationship between the body and the voice and intersections between classical theatre and contemporary dance. I am currently presenting my solo work FLUSH at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre as part of Melbourne Fringe 2023.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
In Year 10 I decided I wanted to be a trauma surgeon. The joke is, I was completely serious. So serious that in Year 11, I did maths methods, chemistry and biology. By the end of the year I’d emerged from that particular existential crisis with the realisation that I didn’t want to be a trauma surgeon at all, I just wanted to be on Grey’s Anatomy.

Who inspires you and why?
Meredith Grey, apparently. (see above)

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make art! Art is an activist medium.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A holiday, what’s that? No, I’ve been camping at Wilson’s Prom (Wamoon) every summer since I can remember, so Tidal River holds a very special place in my heart. Roast lamb on the weber with a couscous salad, sunrise surfs and Mr Oberon summits followed by hot chips from the shop. One outrageous year Dad made a chocolate tart and drove there with it balancing in an esky. Our camping is next level, I’ll miss it when we’re all grown up.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
An independent theatre show! And then out to Gimlet for wine and cheese, or Leonardo’s for pizza.

What are you currently reading?
Raised by Wolves by Jess Ho. It’s brilliant.

What are you currently listening to?
The Big Picture podcast is my current car soundtrack, and Dua Lipa at the gym obviously. Dolly Alderton also deserves a mention: anything she does, I’m listening!

Happiness is?
Coming out of the dressing room after absolutely nailing a show (obviously), to my family and friends and a glass of red wine in the foyer, then maybe kick-ons to an Italian restaurant. Done. Or a dinner party with wine and friends in the summer. One of my favourite things in the world is setting a table. I got that from my Grandma.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m just getting started! I have plans to tour FLUSH and there are many more shows in the works. Right now I’m excited to be here, making and sharing theatre. Thank you more please!

Isabella will be presenting her solo work FLUSH at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, as part of 2023 Melbourne Fringe, from 10 October. For more information, visit: www.melbournefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Isabella Gilbert – photo by Darren Gill