On the Couch with Lyall Brooks

lyall brooksWho is Lyall Brooks?
I’m an actor, singer, voiceover artist and presenter. That’s in reverse recent-job-history order, not competency level. (Oh, add “dancer” to the end. Of both lists. Waaaay down.)

What would you do differently to what you do now?
You know that “real job” smart actors should have to fall back on? I did that first. So now I know exactly where I want to be, and that’s here. I’ve been fortunate to have a immensely varied performing career, so I never get bored. I will never leave the performing arts industry, but I would like to try my hand at directing, writing and producing… probably just for a short while

Who inspires you and why?
This would only be cheesy if it weren’t 100% true: my partner, Adam. He is my muse, my biggest fan, my sounding board, my PA and general arse-kicker… my rock. He’s not in the industry, but he always knows exactly what to do and say to spark my creativity, think about something a different way, to keep me moving forward. It’s a real gift to have that energy and love in your life. (I’m working really hard on reciprocity…)

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m the first to admit not having the constitution to be even a grass-roots world-changer! For me it’s about – every day – making small decisions and taking actions that affect people positively (or not at all), and choosing or creating work that challenges people to do the same. And, for what it’s worth, supporting – and voting for! – those that have the power to make the big changes for the good of us all.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Waratah Bay, near Wilson’s Promontory on the Victorian south coast. It’s a rare, undeveloped, desolate spot with one road in, and no shops. I try to head there in winter or spring, rent a cabin for a week on the cliff overlooking the expansive beach, rug up and hand-feed the lorikeets – and watch the whales passing through Bass Strait.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I live near Warragul in West Gippsland, so there are plenty of beautiful local attractions for me to share with guests. A drive up through the hills to Noojee to see the trestle bridge, and then maybe further up through the forest to Walhalla, is my standard show-off trick.

What are you currently reading?
For work, Abandoned: The Sad Death of Dianne Brimble by Geesche Jacobsen. For pleasure, I have a shelf full of Iain Banks books that I have been slowly working my way back through again – both his epic sci-fi space operas and more earth-based general literature. His savage poetry, his limitless imagination, his ability to unflinchingly explore both the dark and light of life… his writing sowed, watered and nurtured a sense of profound wonder, of delicious pain and of hope in me. I cried inexorably upon news of his death this year.

What are you currently listening to?
For all my musical theatre allergies, when I find a piece that takes hold and reverberates like any good theatre should, I listen to it to death. Then revisit it later and do it all over again. It’s currently Next to Normal’s turn. Otherwise Triple J, because I’m shamelessly trying to reclaim my youth and I can’t get away with wearing my Daisy Dukes and slapbands any longer.

Happiness is?
An open fire, a few bottles of red and a lab-kelpie. Seriously, isn’t this what everyone would say? Why is this even a question

What does the future hold for you?
We’re producing our first play in October for our new company, Lab Kelpie (!), expanding our horse training and breeding enterprise, and getting ready to pitch that TV pilot that can’t keep getting pushed back any longer. I wish “sleep” was being up-prioritized in there, but I have nagging suspicion it’s not.

About Lyall Brooks:

Lyall’s recent dramatic theatre credits include Penelope for Red Stitch/Theatreworks, Melbourne Theatre Company’s The Heretic, House for Melbourne Fringe and Red Stitch’s The Pride, which earned him a nomination for a 2012 Green Room Award.

He also has a long list of musical theatre credits, including the recent Sunday in the Park with George for the Victorian Opera, Urban Display Suite for Ross Mollison International, Guys & Dolls for Donmar/Ambassador, Vaudeville X for High Performance Company, Sugar and Mame for The Production Company, The Kiss of Death for Melbourne Fringe, and several productions for Magnormos, including The Thing About Men for which he received another Green Room nomination.

He is known for his television sketch comedy work on Youre Skitting Me!, The Delightfully Shit World of Hayden and Lachlan and Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth. Other screen credits include Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, Rake, The Mint, Tripping Over, Neighbours and Blue Heelers, and feature films Any Questions for Ben? and the upcoming Dirt Cheap.

Lyall has trained at 16th Street Acting Studio in Melbourne and Renegade Theatre Group in Los Angeles, and will be appearing in Fat Pig for Lab Kelpie at Chapel Off Chapel in October. He is also an established voice over artist, working on international animations Get Ace, Sumo Mouse, Flea-Bitten! and SheZow.

Lyall will appearing in the World Premiere season of Savages by Patricia Cornelius at fortyfivedownstairs opening on Friday 16 August. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.

Image: Lyall Brooks