On the Couch with Jules Allen

Jules-Allen-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Jules Allen?
That’s a good question. I might need to phone a friend to answer that one. To be honest, I’ve never been asked that question, or asked it of myself. There are times I feel like a myriad of people rolled in to one; a chameleon, I guess. Maybe we all feel like that.

My life has been incredibly colorful, something I’m extremely grateful for. I feel I have experienced a lot, both professionally and personally and I’m not sure there’s much I’d change.

I’ve been a chef, barman, waitress, social scientist, child protection worker, counsellor, youth support worker, brickies laborer, builders laborer, surf coach, white water rafting guide, professional actor, blog writer, writer, public speaker, international aide worker, Jillaroo and they’re just the ones I remember or admit to.

Most importantly though, I’m a mother. Over the years I’ve had children, adopted them, fostered them, taken them in, and reveled in the chaos. I won’t say it wasn’t without its challenges but they have been and, still are, my greatest teachers.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
For many years, in my late teens and early twenties I struggled with addiction. I wish I had have taken better care of myself when I was younger and valued life more. That took time for me.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by those who are courageous. People who work hard at achieving their goals and do it with humility. There are so many people whose stories have inspired me over the years. It’s personal stories of people who have overcome enormous obstacles that really stick with me and give me the boost I need.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
This may sound strange but a part of my commitment to both acting and writing is to gain a profile so that I can have a greater influence over change. I would start with the global criminalisation and abolition of women and children in the sex slave trade. To me, it is the most abhorrent of practices.

We are largely untouched by it here, but I have spent time on countries that are ravaged by such incomprehensible brutality. A small goal I know, but I don’t do things in half measures! I shall also continue to work on the reform needed in Australia’s Foster care and Adoption systems.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
I have the good fortune of being a Professional Lifeguard and Surf coach on a remote Fijian Island several times a year. As a consequence, this is a very special place for me. Much of my Mum’s side of the family are in Thailand and I have a deep sense of connection when I am there. Cambodia is also up there. The people in all these countries are just divine.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
To be honest, I’m not really a city girl so I normally throw them in the car and take them down the Great Ocean Road which is my old stomping ground. If in the city, it’s all about the food for me. The wonderful restaurants are the showcase of the cultural diversity in Melbourne.

What are you currently reading?
Those who know me well, know that I am obsessed with Neuroscience. I’m always reading books from the best Neuroscientists in the world. I’m currently reading The Cure by Jo Marchant. It’s fascinating. In addition to that, I’ve always got two or three plays or novels on the go at any one time. I try and mix it up between the contemporary works and the classics.

What are you currently listening to?
I love music. Of late, I’ve had a bit of a fling with some tunes from the 40’s. Then there’s Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and the list goes on. I also love stuff from the 80’s.

Happiness is?
Health for me and those I love.

What does the future hold for you?
I very much try to keep life in the day. I think God laughs his ass off when I make a plan so I tend to be pretty malleable. I’d like to spend more time with my, now, adult children. Write another play and a novel and star in a Netflix series. I might also study Neuroscience, learn the piano and travel some more. Save the world, that’s definitely up there.

To be honest, anything could happen. All or none of these might happen. As long as I stay well and healthy, they are all possible. I’ve led a somewhat accident-prone life so it’s a focus for me now. At this stage, I’d just like Betty to see the light of day on the stage. She’s had a few obstacles, the poor dahls, but she’ll get there. I hope you do too.

Jules has written, created and performs in the premiere season of Betty – a powerful and unfiltered exploration of the mother/daughter relationship – at Theatre Works from 16 – 26 February 2022. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Jules Allen (supplied)