On the Couch with Patrick Nolan

Patrick Nolan oncWho is Patrick Nolan?
A director working in theatre, opera and outdoor performance. I have recently been awarded an Australia Council Fellowship, which supports a research program on the creation and development of large scale outdoor performance, allowing me to spend time working in Europe with some of the world’s foremost creators in this field.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Spend less time online and more time reading fiction. This is not to discount the multitude of benefits the Internet provides, I just long for sort of space and time that a good book creates.

Who inspires you and why?
There are lots of people who inspire me. My 10 year old son, is perhaps the greatest source of inspiration at the moment. His unending curiosity, his utterly different perspective on the universe – and it is very much the universe at this point in time – are always challenging me to think differently about the way I approach things.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Get all the world leaders to live in a refugee camp for six months. This camp would be on an island in the middle of the Pacific, with very poor facilities.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I have never really taken a holiday in Seoul but I have spent a lot of time there in the past few years and would like the opportunity to explore all that it has to offer – from the ancient to the ultra modern. The last holiday I had was at Uluru, a life changing experience. Uluru has been a part of my idea of Australia since I was a child and it is difficult to express the impact of finally being in the presence of it and Kata Tjuta.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Bondi to Maroubra coastal walk for the many different environments and vistas it offers. There is also something quite remarkable about being able to abandon yourself to the ocean so close to one of the world’s busiest cities.

What are you currently reading?
A Death In The Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Book 1 of his six part masterpiece. I wish I had more time to abandon myself to the remarkably detailed world he conjures in his writing – see question 2.

What are you currently listening to?
Daorum – a band of Australian and Korean musicians including Simon Barker, Phil Slater, Carl Dewhurst and Matt McMahon. Drawing on traditional Korean musical forms and contemporary jazz, it is like nothing I’ve heard before. This too is inspiring.

Happiness is?
Given too much emphasis in our society.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a lot of challenging work; many good meals with family and friends; art that is surprising, inspiring, original; living in a country whose Government has a vision beyond the pollsters and big business.

Patrick Nolan has been creating theatre, opera and occasionally film, for over twenty years. His focus is on new Australian work, which has been performed in festivals, opera houses, theatres, showgrounds, city streets, car parks and upon the banks of a river. 

As a theatre maker he is driven by a process in which a performer explores the extreme of their capacity to find a way of expressing an idea, a feeling, a sound, that takes the audience to a place of enquiry and perhaps, understanding.

Companies he has directed for include: London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Sydney Festival, Melbourne Festival, Adelaide Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Opera Australia, New Zealand Opera and Queensland Music Festival.

Patrick is passionate about the relationship between the live performer and the technology that surrounds them. His productions are often remarked upon for the seamless way in which they combine video, live music and action to conjure visually rich, highly original theatrical worlds.

Patrick will be directing PUNCTURE at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres 21 – 25 January as part of the 2015 Sydney Festival. For more information, visit: www.sydneyfestival.org.au/puncture or www.riversideparramatta.com.au for details.

Image: Patrick Nolan