On the Couch with Kate Hunter

Kate Hunter_Leo DaleWho is Kate Hunter?
I’m a solo theatre-maker and performer working in inter-disciplinary contexts. I’m curious about the brain, the body, diseases, storytelling, autobiography, sadness and the senses. My performance work experiments with territory that crosses truth and fiction. In particular I experiment with verbatim monologue in order to create versions of my selves in performance. Also it’s my birthday today. Just thought I’d chuck that in.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
I’d probably try and answer questionnaires in a more timely manner rather than leaving them to the last minute and then have to answer them very quickly in the car while I’m waiting for the theatre to be opened up and gasping for a cup of coffee.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by many artists and thinkers and ideas; at the moment neurologist Antonio Damasio is rocking my boat, but also Laurie Anderson, Jacques Tati, cognitive psychologist Susan Engel, and linguistics supremo George Lakoff. Metaphoric engagements with cognitive science can be potent dramaturgical tools, particularly for artists who make their own work.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Stop using plastic bags and sack Tony Abbott.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York. Because it’s New York.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The Victoria Market on a Friday morning: the biggest fresh food market in the southern hemisphere, built over a cemetery, incredible food, wonderful cheese, figs stuffed with marscapone, and lots of shouting people.

What are you currently reading?
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, weekly instalments of New Scientist magazine, and a book about the neuroscience of dog brains.

What are you currently listening to?
The soundtrack to my solo performance Memorandum. Over. And over. And over.

Happiness is?
I just can’t answer this one. It’s too hard! How can I answer this question in one sentence? Or even several?

What does the future hold for you?
I expect that I will keep working, contemplating abstract ideas and reading terrific books until I am a wrinkled up old prune with no teeth.

Kate Hunter is a performance-­maker and researcher who makes inter-­disciplinary work that is stimulated by investigations into cognitive neuroscience, the body, the senses, diseases and dying, autobiography, talking to herself, sadness, and the strange territory of memory.

Her solo works include Pearl Diver and Alchemy, she is Artistic Associate with physical theatre company Born in a Taxi and was guest choreographer for Dance Massive’s 180 Seconds of (Disco) Heaven or Hell, which featured her idiosyncratic ballet style. She has trained with director Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in Melbourne and New York.

Kate studied acting at the National Theatre Drama School and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Performance Studies) and a Graduate Diploma of Movement and Dance (Dance Teaching/Dance Therapy) from the University of Melbourne. She has lectured in performance at Victoria University, Deakin University and Ballarat University.

Kate was the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award and Vice Chancellors Postgraduate Research Award in 2009, enabling her to undertake a PhD in Performance Studies at Victoria University, where she explored the relationship between memory, neuroscience and performance-making.

Kate is currently performing in her latest solo work, Memorandum at Theatre Works until 1 June. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Kate Hunter by Leo Dale