On the Couch with Richard Carroll

Richard Carroll Arts Review On the CouchWho is Richard Carroll?
A producer, director, writer, and board member of Hayes Theatre Co – often all at the same time. Currently the director of the upcoming Australian production of Side Show at the Hayes, which tells the true story of celebrated ‘Siamese twins’ Daisy and Violet Hilton. The sisters grew up being exhibited in freak shows in early twentieth-century America, but their natural talent and charm was discovered and they became the highest-paid performers in 1930s vaudeville.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d pretty much do everything the same but be making better money. That way I could pay for us to have a nicer backstage toilet at the Hayes.

Who inspires you and why?
My creative inspirations are people like Kurt Vonnegut and Brian Wilson – people who have such a distinctive artistic ‘voice’, and whose work is never uninteresting. On a day-to-day level, it’s my colleague at Luckiest Productions and the Hayes, Lisa Campbell. We’ve been producing together for 7 years and she has such a natural skill for it and such excellent taste – she makes everything we do world-class. And I also have to mention my partner, who has had an insanely hectic life and upbringing, but has emerged as the most generous and sunny human being.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d get everyone to make a 10-minute phone-call once a week to a stranger in another town, state or country to have a chat about their lives.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My ideal holiday would be a trip back to the UK to see my family (I moved to Sydney from London 8 years ago), a spell in the Mediterranean enjoying the beaches and swimming in the sea, then popping into New York on the way home to see friends and some shows.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Apart from the Hayes of course, they also have to see a show at the Sydney Opera House. It’s sometimes easy for Sydney-siders to forget that right here in town we have literally one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Then they’d have to come with me to Messina for some incredible gelato too.

What are you currently reading?
A biography of Hal Prince. He’s the most high-profile and successful producer-turned-director, so I’m trying to absorb some wisdom. He ended up directing the original productions of Cabaret, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera – among many more – so that would be a lot to live up to.

What are you currently listening to?
The cast recordings of several musicals I’m considering for 2017/18, so I can’t possibly reveal their identities. Aside from that, I constantly come back to Brian Wilson’s 2004 masterpiece Smile. Oh, and Kerrie Anne Greenland’s EP Pictures – Kerrie is one of my two leading ladies in Side Show, along with Laura Bunting. I can’t believe I’ve got two such stunning performers in this show – who wouldn’t want to see Eponine and Elphaba belting showtunes while joined at the hip!

Happiness is?
An experience and not a state of being.

What does the future hold for you?
Side Show debuts at the Hayes on 23rd September and runs until 16th October. Until then, that’s my life. Afterwards, I’m planning another very exciting production to direct in early 2017 (watch this space), and working on a couple of writing projects. The future is rosy, but sadly currently embargoed. However, I promise in a short time to come back and dish about it all to the good readers of Australian Arts Review.

The Australian premiere season of Side Show runs at the Hayes Theatre: 23 September – 16 October 2016. For more information, visit: www.hayestheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Richard Carroll

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