On the Couch with Keith Gow

Keith-Gow-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Keith Gow?
I am a playwright, producer, theatre critic and sometimes director. I’ve been working in independent theatre for many years now and I have been writing reviews for as long as I can remember. My own theatre review blog, Theatre First, has been running for twelve years and I specialise in long-form reviews and trying to support emerging artists with thoughtful, constructive criticism.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
My new play, Turn Turn Turn, is a lot about choosing the right path and the many futures that lay ahead of us. If I wasn’t a playwright, I might have written books – which I read a lot more of when I wasn’t going to the theatre every week. But I also know that predicting the future is an almost impossible task, so predicting the alternative present is an equal mystery.

Who inspires you and why?
Many indie theatre artists on the Melbourne scene inspire me with their creativity and passion and their wild ways of making theatre and the stories they tell. I love Liv Satchell’s writing and am in awe of Emily Tomlin’s acting. I can’t get enough of the works of Bloomshed and Pony Cam right now, which is great because they are both doing multiple shows in 2023.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
My play is about being conscious of how all our choices affect the world and people around us. Making life easier for other people isn’t hard, if we are mindful of how we treat others. If we are supportive of other people in good and bad times. If we don’t always choose the easy path. If we can help lift other people up while achieving our own goals. All of that can make a difference in the world, without the pressure of big plans or the goal of having a revolution.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A lot of places I have travelled to have involved theatre, for obvious reasons. It’s why I’ve been to New York multiple times. It’s why I spent two weeks in London when I travelled there in 2019 – to see West End shows, of course. But also to see off-West End plays and indie theatre-makers doing shows in theatres hidden in the suburbs of Greater London. I love New York, but London won my heart very quickly.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
What’s on at Malthouse? What’s on at Red Stitch or La Mama? I feel like friends can find the local attractions pretty easy and while I could run them out to Hanging Rock for a picnic or plan a day at a winery or the Penguin parade, I could also take them to a unique theatre experience that guide books won’t recommend.

What are you currently reading?
Bi: The Hidden Culture, History and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw.

What are you currently listening to?
I started listening to a new podcast recently called Talking Scared which is a discussion of horror fiction. I got into it because they recently interviewed Stephen King after their two-part deep dive into my favourite King novel, IT. I don’t read a lot of horror fiction but the host is very knowledgeable and the discussions are excellent.

Happiness is?
Sitting on the couch with my partner, watching Grand Designs and planning our next holiday.

What does the future hold for you?
As Turn, Turn, Turn suggests and Back to the Future Part III makes explicit – the future is what you make it. I am planning a big holiday for next year and I’m starting to write some notes for the next play I want to develop. Of course, that means I’ve really got a number of projects vying for my attention – which is the one I want to do next and who can I collaborate with to make it the best it can be? I’m excited for what comes next, but I’m never certain about what it will actually turn out to be. And that’s okay.


Keith is the Writer & Producer of Turn, Turn, Turn – which will make its debut at Theatre Works: Explosives Factory from 13 – 23 September 2023. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Keith Gow (supplied)