On the Couch with Rachael Maza

Rachael Maza 1Who is Rachael Maza?
I am a proud Yindinji, Mer and Dutch woman. I’m the Artistic Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre. I’m a mother to my 15 year old son. One of a very big family whom I dearly love.  I am an actor, singer, director… and I love making Theatre that makes a difference.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Making a new work requires having the courage to take risks and dive into the “unknown” – I aim to be less ‘safe’ and more adventurous! I reckon I’d have a lot less grey hairs!

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired most by my family. My father’s passion for his art and his community was a huge inspiration, my mother who taught me to “question everything”, my grandfather who despite being under “the Act” refused to work unless he was paid “the same as a white man”, my grandmothers who put up with my grandfathers.

I am also inspired by living legends like Uncle Jack Charles and Foley. Their strength of character, their stories and their wisdom are all attributes that I admire.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I have the great fortune of going to work every day and being able to do something that I love AND something that I think is making the world a better place. The work we’re creating is about addressing preconceived (and often ill informed) understandings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and celebrating our place as the foundation of this country’s identity in a way that is inclusive and enriching for all Australians.

So, in answer to the question, I will continue to make work and I will continue to tour it as a far and as wide as I can.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Palm Island. It is really “beautiful one day, gorgeous the next”. Its one of those places that you can’t imagine until you’re there and you’re sitting on the beach: pristine blue waters in front, deep green hills behind, friendly people walk by, time slows and the worries of the world seem less.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well, it depends on where they’ve come from, but for me the quintessential Melbourne experience is a trip to the theatre and then drinks in a nice bar down a little laneway.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just started Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization by Native American academic Robert Williams. Food for thought!

What are you currently listening to?
Loving local bands: Teskey Brothers and Scrimshaw four.

Happiness is?
Family, friends and a good music and dancing!

What does the future hold for you?
I tell ya – once I’ve mastered the Art of ‘diving into the unknown’ – one can only imagine the great adventures ahead!

Rachael Maza is one of Australia’s most recognisable faces of the Australian film, television and theatre industry with performance credits including the AFI award winning Radiance, Cosi and Lillian’s Story.

A WAAPA graduate, Rachael’s outstanding performances have been acknowledged with a Green Room Award and a Sydney Theatre Critics Circle award. Rachael has also worked as a narrator for ABC Radio National and as Indigenous Liaison Advisor on films such as the multi-award winning Rabbit Proof Fence.

Rachael’s first taste for direction was for directing Stolen (1992) for ILBIJERRI Theatre Company; however, it wasn’t until 2009 that she rejoined the company as Artistic Director. Since then she has directed Sisters Of Gelam (2009), Jack Charles V The Crown (2010), Foley (2011) and Beautiful One Day (2012).

Beautiful One Day will be presented at the North Melbourne Town Hall from 26 November – 1 December. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Rachael Maza