On the Couch with Justin Martin

Justin Martin Arts Review On the CouchWho is Justin Martin?
A UK based Australian Theatre and TV director. Also the director of Low Level Panic at the Old Fitz in July and August.

What would you do differently to what you do now? 
Probably find more balance in my life. I wish I had more time to read and travel and cook and daydream and hang out with my family and… In terms of jobs: so long as I was working in the intersection between ideas and people, I think I’d find contentment.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by some of the amazing people I work with everyday. Some are my friends. Some are my mentors and some are people I will only see for a given project in time. Tom Hodgson, our choreographer on Low Level Panic and Clare Healy our composer are both long term collaborators and I am constantly inspired by their ideas and passion. I love how they can take questions and turn them into answers beyond my imagination.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make theatre which gets off the arts pages. My biggest problem with a lot of art is that it often limits itself to the arts pages. I believe, perhaps too altruistically, that art needs to intersect with what’s going on in the world. It needs to not argue its relevance, but make itself relevant.

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
Ireland. I fell in love with Ireland and my partner all in the same trip. I love Irish people’s sense of family and craic. I love the drama of the landscape and their stories which often get repeated and expanded upon with every pint.

When your friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
My father took me to the new park at Barangaroo which seems fantastic. Though being Australia, maybe I’d take them up the coast to the beach at Hawk’s Nest. Or on a ferry ride. Ferry rides always make me remember how lucky we are to have such a beautiful city to call home.

What are you currently reading? 
I’m currently rereading Naomi Wolfe’s The Beauty Myth. It’s amazing how even something written in the late 80’s can still feel so relevant today. Only since the rise of the metrosexual have men been even close to glimpsing a tiny portion in their own lives of the complexities of what Wolfe writes about.

What are you currently listening to? 
It’s terrible, but I’m researching a history of sexist songs for our play. There’s some shockers in there and some real surprises. Who knew what My Sharona is really about!

Happiness is? 
Achieving a collective goal in something that doesn’t happen overnight. As a consumer culture it’s very easy to get instant fixes but the satisfaction of really working with others to create something unique and bigger than all of us is what makes me truly happy. It’s also hanging out with my two year old niece.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m off to do a workshop of a new play in New York and then one in London at the National and then I’m working on a second season of our Netflix Original Season called The Crown. Shameless plug: Our first season is out this November. Hopefully at some point I’ll get to come back and direct something in Australia again.

Justin is directing Clare McIntyre’s Low Level Panic at the Old Fitz Theatre (12 July – 12 August 2016). For more information, visit: www.oldfitztheatre.com for details.

Image: Justin Martin