On the Couch with Nick Simpson-Deeks

Arts Review On the Couch Nick Simpson DeeksWho is Nick Simpson-Deeks?
I’m an actor, singer, teacher, vegetable gardener, graphic designer, photography enthusiast and wannabe stylist.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
You mean if I had my time again? I probably wouldn’t say “Hey, that sounds like a good idea” when the bank offered me my first credit card.

Who inspires you and why?
My friends and colleagues. I know that might sound a bit twee or vague or something, but what I mean is: The vast majority of my friends are actors and performers, and lately the thing I’ve most enjoyed about being an actor is watching my peers work – be it from the audience, or from a few feet away if I’m lucky enough to be onstage with them. I find it incredibly rewarding, motivating and inspirational seeing my mates grow and develop as artists. In those moments I feel really proud to be in the company of people who are so driven and passionate and resilient; who persevere in such a difficult industry.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope that I’m doing it. Being an actor is what I’m best at, so I suppose if there was something I thought I could do better – something that would have a positive impact on the world – I’d switch paths. It’s easy, I think, for artists to lose sight of the value of their contribution to a society. But art and artists are vital. I think that’s why, at times, so many actors (myself included) are in doubt about whether the craft they dedicate their lives to has any real value or meaning, but my thinking is that if just one of the stories you help to tell changes someone’s mind, or opens up important debate, or inspires someone to reconsider a particular point of view, you’re doing good work in the world.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Probably Chicago. I trained with Steppenwolf Theatre Company for a Summer, and I love the people there, and the architecture, and the theatre culture. Also deep dish pizza – one slice is a whole meal.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Is The Everleigh an attraction? Or Gertrude Street? I’d take them to Gertrude Street. (Mainly so we could go to The Everleigh and drink Short-ribs.)

What are you currently reading?
Elegy! Over and over again. Memorising an hour’s worth of monologue doesn’t allow time for much else, unfortunately.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve recently re-discovered the Create Genius Playlist function on iTunes so I’m generally just picking a track I like and letting the music robots surprise me. At this particular moment there’s a lot of Al Green and James Brown happening.

Happiness is?
Frying up homegrown tomatoes with eggs and toast and freshly brewed coffee on a Sunday in my garden. Also kittens.

What does the future hold for you?
I started a theatre company with a friend of mine last year to tour between Melbourne and Auckland (we both have NZ heritage). So I’d like to do more producing and start developing more of my own work; I’d like to collaborate with other like-minded companies; and I want to move into directing. Other than that, I’m not sure… but I’m hoping there will also be kittens in my future at some point.

Nick will be starring in the Australian Premiere of Elegy at Gasworks Arts Park: 19 January – 6 February, as part of the 2016 Midsumma Festival. For more information, visit: www.gasworks.org.au or www.midsumma.org.au for details.

Image: Nick Simpson-Deeks