On the Couch with Naomi Edwards

Naomi oncWho is Naomi Edwards?
A theatre and opera director. A lover of music and science and coffee.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would worry less, play more. Be in the moment and in the next.

Who inspires you and why?
Children inspire me with their wonder at the world, their fresh insights and ancient wisdom. Political protesters inspire me with their effort and passion for change. Refugees with their courage and humility. My collaborators with their energy, smarts and rigor.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope for an Australia that is more empathetic, more imaginative and capable of greater critical thinking. Theatre can develop and exercise these capacities simultaneously, and I try to do it on and through the kind of shows I work on.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I dream of going to is Day of The Dead in Mexico. I would love to be at that party.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
When I am in Melbourne, I take them to the galleries, to lunch, to the hills and to the beach. To some sneaky CBD roof tops I know and to the best breakfast places in town.

What are you currently reading?
Vagina by Naomi Wolf, Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time, a biography of May Gibbs, and Aristotle’s Poetics, all for my current projects.

What are you currently listening to?
I recently worked on Rigoletto then a Bollywood show for kids. Those tunes get in your head and won’t leave, so right now, Cosi Fan Tutti. Mozart is good for getting rid of ear worms.

Happiness is?
Being reborn by the moment. We strive for it in rehearsal and in performance, but to get it in life is pure joy. Connecting with someone who loves the potential in you and nurtures it.

What does the future hold for you?
I have such a diverse range of projects in the coming year. I am enjoying sinking into each of them, learning everything I can from them and seeing what seeds they will spawn.

Naomi Edwards is a theatre and opera director and arts educator. Her directing practice spans opera, theatre, theatre for young audiences and community practices. After training at Rusden and VCA, Naomi has directed for many of Australia’s leading theatre companies, working in both the mainstage and education contexts inside many of these companies.

Passionate about bringing the performing arts to a wider audience, in 2009-10 Naomi was Education Manager for Sydney Theatre Company and has consulted widely on engagement and education in a performing arts company context. She is currently co-authoring a Platform Paper about this area. Naomi was Creative Director on the ARC funded research project on vocal empowerment, which explored using actor voice training with young people with cochlear implants.

In 2012 Naomi was awarded Gloria Dawn/Gloria Payten Fellowship and the Mike Walsh Fellowship which allowed her to visit arts organisations in England, Scotland, Japan and USA to research their education and engagement programs. In 2013, Naomi was the first of Patch Theatre’s Artistic Director Residency Program.

She is currently creating three new works – The Waiting Room with writer Kylie Trounson about the history of IVF, an opera for 3 – 8 year olds with composer David Hobson and designer Adam Gardnir, in partnership with Victorian Opera, Art Play and Royal Children’s Hospital, and The Sound of Waves with cochlear implantee Jodie Harris.

The Sound of Waves plays at fortyfivedownstairs from 3 to 12 October 2014. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com or www.soundofwaves.com.au for details.

Image: Naomi Edwards