On the Couch with Joseph Simons

Joseph Simons oncWho is Joseph Simons?
Joseph is a dancer, choreographer and director. He’s generally a pretty bright and cheery fellow. He’s originally from Dubbo, NSW and is now based in Melbourne, VIC.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I lived a different life, I’d work in a florist. My friend owns an amazing florist in Dubbo called The Meadow. I help out there whenever I’m in town. I love it. Handling flowers all day would be a pleasure. My dad is an arborist. Maybe that’s where I get my love of plants.

Who inspires you and why?
There’s a LONG list! I’m inspired by artists who have identified their talents, and have shared them in their own unique way. I aim to be an artist like that. I particularly love Pina Bauch, Lloyd Newson, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Bennett, Michael McIntyre. Oh I could go for days…

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
What WOULD I do? I suppose if circumstances were different, I’d like to pull together all the appropriate people and re-jig the economic structure of the world to eliminate the extreme imbalance of wealth. What DO I do to make a difference in the world? Well, I do what I can to make/be involved in relatable, positive, beautiful theatre.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It’s got to be New York. I have travelled so much, and I love every country and city I’ve been in for different reasons, but there’s something about the air in New York that gets into my soul. It inspires me. I like to stand still in Times Square and let the people move around me. There’s something very special about the corner of 42nd St and Broadway. As a theatre-maker, it’s a collision of the history that seeps out of every old theatre and the promise of what exciting history could be made there.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I always take visitors on a trip to ACMI. I always find it a perfect fit for anyone who visits Melbourne. They can hang out in the interactive area, marvel at Cate Blanchett’s Oscar or read about the history of television. And I love it in there too, which is the main reason I want to take someone there!

What are you currently reading?
The Intent To Live by Larry Moss. As an emerging director, I find his writings on theatre and approaching text as an actor fascinating.

What are you currently listening to?
Well, since I’m rehearsing at the moment before going on tour, I’m listening to the First Things First soundtrack. It’s got some awesome music. Everything from Frank Ifield to Randy Travis, Phillip Glass, Roy Orbison and Salt ‘n’ Pepper.

Happiness is?
Not ‘missing’ anything. Because I travel so much, I’ve taught myself to love wherever I am, and not to spend my time missing home, or wishing I was somewhere else. There’s always beauty and fun to be found in everything.

What does the future hold for you?
My dream job would be a director of a Broadway musical, while touring my own solo works. And maybe make a film. And maybe choreograph on a ballet company… For now, the future is a three month National tour of First Things First, and then a series of projects in the pipeline that I’m not allowed to talk about yet!

Born in Dubbo, Joseph Simons began his training with Dubbo Ballet Studio and The Australian Ballet School interstate program, before graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2008.

Joseph was recognised as Dance Australia Magazine’s 2007 “Dancer to Watch’ and in 2009, won the West Australian Dance award for Outstanding Emerging Artist. He was awarded the prestigious2013 Tanja Liedtke Fellowship, allowing him to travel to Germany to further his choreographic development.

As a dancer, Joseph has toured Australia, UK, Asia and USA with Chunky Move (Connected, I Like This) and Lucy Guerin Inc.(Untrained, Structure and Sadness), as well as the Force Majeure ‘Culminate’ series (Be Prepared, I Will Have Beautiful People at My Funeral Too and Everything Appears Normal). Joseph was a guest artist with West Australian Ballet, performing the title role in Ivan Cavallari’s new production of Pinocchio.

Joseph has danced several soloist roles with West Australian Ballet, Victorian Opera and with improvisation performance group Anything Is Valid Dance Theatre (AIVDT). Recently, Joseph has performed in the ensemble for Harvest Rain’s productions of Cats and Monty Python’s SPAMALOT.

His latest work, First Things First opens at the Frankston Arts Centre on Saturday 7 March and then tours nationally. For more information and performance dates, visit: www.josephsimons.com.au for details.

Image: Joseph Simons