On the Couch with Katie Lockett

Arts Review On the Couch Katie LockettWho is Katie Lockett?
A 30-year-old, socially conscious, vivacious pink haired theatre maker with an accent from the middle of England, and the director of SPARC Theatre; a company for adults who live in supported accommodation with acquired brain injury and psychiatric disability.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would own a milk bar. With beaded curtains on the door and a bell that rings when the customers come in. We’d rent out DVDs, and sell white bread. I’d wear an apron and spend my days making triangular sandwiches and dollar lolly bags.

Who inspires you and why?
The people I work with. People that have the ability to remain optimistic against adversity, people that take joy from nonsense. In our SPARC ensemble there is a guy that takes great joy from laughing at a toy pig that farts. That inspires me!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think that one thing every person could do is to practice kindness. I reckon that to make a difference in the world, it’s a good idea to begin with our community. To support those around us that are vulnerable, and appreciate and celebrate the difference in people. If we were all a bit kinder by nature I think we’d notice a real change in our day to day existence.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Parkes, New South Wales. They hold an annual Elvis Festival in January. It’s a wonderful celebration of the Elvis Presley community, the whole town is taken over by tribute artists and street performers. I was lucky enough to take SPARC Theatre there last year after a huge fundraising campaign. It was a beautiful, and a once in a lifetime experience for most of the group. Now it holds huge sentimental value for me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I’m a St Kilda girl, so I’d take them out for an afternoon at the St Kilda Bowls Club followed by a pizza at Topolinos. Then to the end of the pier to say hey to the Penguins.

What are you currently reading?
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets out loud to my partner.

What are you currently listening to?
Loads of Elvis, and even more Elvis covers ahead of SPARC’s show Are You Lonesome Tonight, at the Greyhound Hotel.

Happiness is?
Having good company (when you want some). Everyone thrives from human interaction, nobody likes being lonely.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully lots of happiness! The immediate future is performing with SPARC, and they’re great company so that’s a very happy place for me.

Katie Lockett is a theatre practitioner and performer with experience in the UK and Australia. Katie began working for The New Vic Theatre (UK) with their community outreach department Borderlines. During this time, Katie ran workshops, and devised pieces to be performed in schools and at conferences around subject matters including bullying, and binge drinking.

Alongside this Katie worked in collaboration with many marginalised groups within the community, including teenage parents and victims of domestic violence. It was here that Katie discovered an aptitude for working with performers with an intellectual disability, facilitating workshops and developing performances with the Theatre’s Strathcross Company – made up of 30 performers with disabilities.

After a spell in India, working with young children to encourage social interaction and English language skills, Katie moved to Melbourne. Here she began working with Fog Theatre, a theatre company of performers with intellectual disabilities. She became a permanent fixture within the team, and has been working with the company for almost four years.

Katie was part of the creative team on Fog’s production Cumulus Nimbus, as part of the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Since 2012 Katie has been the Lead Artist for Arts Access Victoria’s Get Out program, has worked on Port Phillip Community Groups Centre Stage program, as well as taking on the role as drama coordinator and leading workshops for St Kilda Uniting Care Drop.

Katie is the Artistic Director of SPARC Theatre, a community of performers who live with serious mental illness and/or acquired brain impairment, whose production of Are You Lonesome Tonight will be performed at the Greyhound Hotel: 20 – 22 November 2015. For more information, visit: www.portphillip.vic.gov.au for details.

Image: Katie Lockett

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