On the Couch with Melita Rowston

Melita Rowston_oncWho is Melita Rowston?
Melita Rowston has degrees in painting, writing and directing for theatre. She writes prose, poetry, plays, directs other people‘s plays and performs shows about her obsession with Shit Tourism. She also interviews artists for YOKE magazine. She illustrates her partner’s hiakus and wants to paint big pictures again.

She loves to travel and write about travel. She’s passionate about Australian culture, intrigued by the creative process and delights in interviewing interesting people. Her favourite colour is red. She lives in ‘The Paris End’ of Newtown, Sydney where she rides her bike through the backstreets.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
I would’ve found a way to keep painting pictures.

Who inspires you and why?
Elizabeth Gilbert is a source of inspiration for me right now. Not only has she written a stunning new book featuring a rich female heroine, ‘The Signature of all Things,’ but she talks openly about her experience of success and failure, about the creative process, about all the false starts and dead ends her art and life have taken, and she talks about persistence. About ignoring your critics (your inner critic being the harshest). She cultivates such a wonderful community around her. Plus she has a great sense of humour.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe in education. I believe it empowers everyone and is the one thing that can’t be taken away from you. I also feel that education builds a creative, empathetic and forward-thinking society. I believe education is a game changer. If I had the means I would fund scholarships and programs and do everything I could to open up learning opportunities for young people from all backgrounds.

My day job is in education marketing, which has given me the opportunity to connect with many young Indigenous people and inspire them to think about university as an option as well as write for organisations who are connecting disengaged youth to learning through alternative learning spaces. I have also just signed up as a volunteer at The Sydney Story Factory and can’t wait to engage with young people through creative writing.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
At the moment, I am longing to go back to Lisbon and spend my days sniffing around the alleys and cobblestoned streets of the Alfama. By night, I have a dream to visit every single Fado club and hear those amazing singers sing the story of their culture – words I do not understand, but by pure emotion alone, I can translate.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Magic Kingdom – The Forgotten Theme Park in Lansvale NSW. It’s one of those overgrown 70’s kitsch theme parks that has been closed down for years and has been left to run wild. I have a thing for Shit Tourism. I am also a member of the ‘Bring Back Old Sydney Town’ group and am closely following all developments on that front. I also love ferries.

What are you currently reading?
Paris by Justin Green, Writing by Marguerite Duras, Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton, The Boat by Nam Le, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, Z – A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I tend to read across things – all at once.

What are you currently listening to?
James Vincent McMorrow – I have a thing for wailing Irish folk singers.

Happiness is?
Appreciating the beauty and joy in the now.

What does the future hold for you?
Travel, writing, drawing, listening to my heart and following it.

A graduate of VCA (BFA- Painting), NIDA (Directing) and UTS (MA – Creative Writing), Melita Rowston is a writer, director and performer. She is one of Sydney’s exciting new wave of theatre makers, acclaimed for her directing and drawing accolades for her writing.

Melita’s directing highlights include: MilkMilkLemonade by Joshua Conkel, (New Theatre), Sugarbomb, (TRS) at The Old Fitz, Top Shorts – ‘Rocket Baby’ by Caleb Lewis, (Naked Theatre Company/TRS), Solitude in Blue, (Griffin Stablemates), Spunks by Rebel Wilson, (Push Up Theatre), cover, girl, (B Sharp & Adelaide Cabaret Festival), Swing Girl (Griffin Stablemates).

Melita was Assistant Director to the Opera Project, Assistant Director to Barrie Kosky for There is No Need to Wake Up as part of the Olympic Arts Festival at the Sydney Opera House in 2000, and a resident playwright at Griffin Theatre Company in 2005/06.

Her plays include Between the Streetlight and The Moon (in development) Canyonlands (Low Windows High Doorways, subtlenuance), The Crash (MayDay Festival & Sonic Tales), Crushed, (New Theatre), The Diver (S&S prize winner), SPEW, (Darlinghurst Theatre), Sugarbomb, (TRS) , Solitude in Blue, (Griffin), Swing Girl, (Griffin).

Melita was a performer in Hey! Yeah! It’s Molly’s Travelling Worm Show! for Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre),and Six Degrees of Ned Kelly for the Time Machine Festival.

Melita is currently directing the Christopher Durang’s Why torture is wrong, and the people who love them for Sydney’s New Theatre until 28 June. For more information, visit: www.newtheatre.org.au for details.

Image: Melita Rowston

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