On the Couch with Lauren McKenna

Lauren McKenna AAR On the CouchWho is Lauren McKenna?
I am a director and performer of theatre, acting coach and studio owner of Coach Me, Lauren!; newlywed wife to Production Manager/BFG/All-round Legend – Carl McKinnon; cat mother to sassy British Shorthair – Dorothy; lover of food, fashion, fresh flowers, fun prints; and soon to be at the helm directing EbbFlow Theatre Co’s fresh new production of Hugo Chiarella & Robert Tripolino’s hilarious musical, DreamSong to be presented at The Alex Theatre in St Kilda in November.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
These are all on the to-do list: Volunteer more, breathe more, be more present. Eat less meat, use less plastic, learn to sew. Complete to-do lists.  Be nicer to myself.

Who inspires you and why?
My husband for his passion, drive and ambition. My amazing colleagues and students for their talent and energy and for inspiring me to create and facilitate more arts opportunities for them. Every creative person who has the guts to follows their dreams inspires me because it may not be easy but it is worth it. Also, a special mention to ‘marriage goals’ couple and darling friends, Bronte Florian and Blake Appelqvist – these guys just get it and the way they think, create and live is truly an inspiration. Thank you!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d like to think I’m already on the path towards doing it. One of my life mottos or mantras is “kindness is free”. I think being kind is underrated. Kindness can be hard to come by, especially in our industry. Anyone who knows me (or even those who don’t) can always reach out and be met with kindness and respect.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It’s too hard to choose just one! I love adventures! I’m being greedy and giving you three: New York for the creative chaos, Florence in Italy for the soulful artistry and Hoi An in Vietnam for the stillness.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
You really can’t go past the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and a delicious brunch post stroll.

What are you currently reading?
I get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books in the world so I feel guilty when I re-read something. In saying that, at the moment I am reading The Handmaid’s Tale again because Margaret Atwood is brilliant and it is as timely as ever. I’m also reading sections of  The Holy Bible – research for DreamSong.

What are you currently listening to?
I love a good true crime podcast. Get your ears around Black Hands and Murder in the Land of Oz. I’m also currently crushing hard on the original cast recording of Evie May by Hugo Chiarella and Naomi Livingstone – new Australian music theatre at its absolute best – so fresh, exciting and inspiring! From This Day is my current favourite track. (Check it out on Spotify.)

Happiness is?
A rainy Melbourne afternoon with the loves of my life: Husband, family (including chosen family), wine, cheese. Shoutout to Toorak Cellars for being my top cosy wine bar pick!

What does the future hold for you?
Enjoying married life and finally after months of touring with the play Puffs, putting some roots down in our Melbourne home again. Next year, I am thrilled to be making my Hayes Theatre Co. directing debut with Maverick Newman’s award winning show Cheeky and I have some other exciting new creative projects on the horizon, to be launched in 2020. Keep your eyes peeled! Most immediately though, I am so excited to launch into rehearsals for DreamSong with my incredible team and the most wickedly talented and side-splittingly hilarious cast. Honestly, this group of actors will knock your socks off!  See you at ‘Church’ in November.

Lauren is the Director of the new Australian musical, DreamSong at The Alex Theatre, St Kilda from 21 November 2019. For more information, visit: www.ebbflowtheatre.com for details.

Image: Lauren McKenna (supplied)