On the Couch with Liam Dodds

Liam Dodds Arts Review On the CouchWho is Liam Dodds?
Hi my name is Liam, I’m 20 years old and I am from the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Before moving to Ballarat in 2014, I lived at home with my parents and older brother on a small block of land in Langwarrin. My passion for the arts first began when I was taken to see the Lion King in 2005, where I told my parents that I wanted to be Simba. Although my dream never came true (sigh), I began performing arts classes and haven’t looked back since. I am currently portraying the role of Uncle Fester in The Addams Family with Federation University, Arts Academy. In my spare time I work with craft beer and enjoy every part of my job, from bartending to educating people on the wonders of microbreweries. My favorite meal of the day is brunch and my main obsession in life is to one day own a pug.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I wasn’t pursuing musical theatre, I would like to be doing one of two things. The first would have something to do with criminology or the judicial system. I have always had an interest in this area of work, and in my spare time, enjoy watching criminal minds and reading true crime stories online. If I weren’t out fighting crime, I would be on the other side of the stage or screen. I think being a performer in Australia means being completely diverse, so having the ability to step into the role of a stage manager or producer would be an asset to my craft. Besides, without people like them there is no work for performers, right?

Who inspires you and why?
In terms of the industry, one of my big inspirations is Tony Award winning Billy Porter. Before seeing Kinky Boots in New York, I had only really heard his name once or twice, but didn’t realise the extent of his talent. I had the opportunity to meet him after the show and he was the most humble and loving person I had ever met on the professional scene. We chatted for about ten minutes about the industry and his life, and you could honestly see the passion of performing in his eyes without actually having to say anything. I then began listening to his recordings and researching his works online. I aspire to him because he takes anything generic and adds his “pizazz” to it, as he would say. This skill is what allows him to be remembered by millions for every role he portrays in his career.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I had the ability to change society in any way, it would be to eliminate the constant judgment of what we perceive as ‘normal’. Something that I have learnt from The Addams Family is that no matter where you come from, or what lifestyle you live; everyone is unique and normal in his or her own way, regardless of what anyone else thinks. The issue that I have with today’s society is that we are too quick to judge something that for a second may seem ‘different’. Without giving too much away, The Addams Family has some very valuable messages to take home about this issue, and I think if we are able to change our audience’s perspective, then we have done the show justice, and made a small difference in the world.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
Tough question! I’ve been very lucky in my life so far, that I have had the opportunity to travel quiet a bit. In 2011 I toured Europe with an educational production of Ned Kelly – The Rock Opera, and in that time met my host family in Milan. I hold a soft spot for this place, as I know that if I ever return, I will be welcome with open arms by every single person that I met when I was there. Not to mention how beautiful everything is in Milan… and expensive.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
When friends of mine visit in Ballarat, the first place we usually end up is a bar. I know what you’re thinking, surely you wouldn’t get much further than that, but the beauty of this town is that there are so many great venues in Ballarat to enjoy good beer. Whilst in town we generally head out to Lake Wendouree, which was used for the 1956 Summer Olympics. When home in Melbourne (which is rare), I like taking friends down to the Peninsula Hot Springs or to the football with family, unless they are Collingwood supporters – of course.

What are you currently reading?
When I need a break from reading over my lines for The Addams Family, I do enjoy the occasional book. Currently, I’m reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I saw the film with my girlfriend who had just finished reading the novel, and she convinced me that it was worth reading for all of the extra details generally left out in film adaptions. It is certainly a tearjerker if you are into that kind of thing!

What are you currently listening to?
Right now, I’m listening to the Heathers cast recording. I saw the show recently and absolutely loved it. Having not listened to it before, I was super excited to find some new songs to add to my repertoire.

Happiness is?
Happiness is performing to a sold out season of The Addams Family! But seriously, I think happiness is letting go of negative thoughts, accepting what is, and embracing the world with open arms. At this the risk of this sounding like a cliché, I do believe that to be happy, you must accept yourself and know the things that bring you joy. If you can do that, you will find happiness in even the smallest things.

What does the future hold for you?
I have a busy six months ahead with the final year of my degree coming to a close. June brings The Addams Family at Theatre Works in St Kilda. We are then proud to present Into The woods in October, with showcase in Melbourne and Sydney soon after. Although the distant future is unclear, I am focused on doing everything that I can to give myself the upper hand, as I step into the industry at the end of the year.

Liam will be appearing in Federation University’s Arts Academy’s production of The Addams Family at Theatre Works until 25 June 2016. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au or www.federation.edu.au for details.

Image: Liam Dodds