On the Couch with Peter Matheson

Peter-Matheson-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Peter Matheson?
I make my living as a long distance freelance dramaturg. I now live on the north coast of NSW, where I moved to from the city where I worked in a state theatre company. I started off as a playwright, writing 14 produced plays before I slipped behind the scenes. I came up here pushing twenty years ago and this is the first of (I hope) many.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Very little; I live where I want to live, am contented with my lot and really enjoy the work I do. I am discovering in this virus crisis that I can still write despite a 30 odd year gap from that coal face. I enjoy being a dramaturg, helping writers write what they want. I have good friends, a better extended family in a peaceful sylvan landscape. What more can I ask?

Who inspires you and why?
Wesley Enoch, his heart is as big as all outdoors… Nadine, too. Louise Gough, when I grow up I want to be as good a dramaturg as she is. Janis Balodis, a good friend who I wish I was as clever as.
Great writing top ten – Carleton, Butler, Betzien, Bell, Janaczewska, Balodis, Purcell, Lewis, Ryan, James. (De Groen, early Sewell, Romeril’s heart, Mann, Holloway and Kruckemeyer, Maynard… OMG, I could go on forever.)

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am not sure I have this power/talent. I am a listener to those who make a difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
We always go to Kebun Indah Bungalows in Ubud, Bali; we have done for the last couple of decades. Same place, same room. But branch off to see different places each time; islands, cultures, friends. Love the people, the communities, the warmth.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Our dining room table. To talk. We send them to the beaches, the surfing, the fishing, the food…

What are you currently reading?
Yuval Noah Harari; Salt by Bruce Pascoe; Yellow Notebook by Helen Garner; Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman; and Not Wrong, Just Different: Observations on the rise of the contemporary Australian theatre by Katharine Brisbane.

What are you currently listening to?
Jimmy Duck Holmes, The Chicks, Peter Frampton, Cohen and Dylan (that’s two, not a duo), Jontavious Willis, Thorbjorn Risager and his mob, Sean Rowe, Hozier, Mavis Staples, Watermelon Slim, and Morrison, Chapman and Childs… (again not a trio)!

Happiness is?
Where I am now – exploring my work and working with playwrights who let me mess with their stories.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully more of the same…

Peter has been commissioned to create a new 10 minute story for Come to Where I Am – Australia, an exciting new writing and performance initiative from Paines Plough and Critical Stages Touring. For more information, visit: www.criticalstages.com.au for details.

Image: Peter Matheson (supplied)