On the Couch with Russell Smith

Russell Smith AAR On the CouchWho is Russell Smith?
Russ as I prefer to be called, Russell is what my mother says when I’ve done something wrong, in fact, Mum would say “Russell Wade Smith!” Or “Child number three, come here!” I am a proud Ngarrindjeri man, a father of three who grew up as a terrible reader in outback Western Australia. Now I’m acting in my third production for Bell Shakespeare in The Miser.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Sleep between the hours that normal people do. Since doing back to back shows with Bell Shakespeare my sleeping pattern is way, way out of whack. When I’m on tour I tend to fall into theatre hours staying up through the night… and sleeping all morning. Much like a vampire.

Who inspires you and why?
Many, many people. The people who fought for equality of our mob like Charlie Perkins. The people who came before me in the industry that I work like Leah Purcell. My partner Ana Maria Belo. All of these people had to go against the norm. They are people who have had to embrace their uniqueness to achieve greatness.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am also a trained teacher, I had the gift of having a truly great year 5 teacher who inspired me to be more of what I could, Miss Stevens taught the whole individual not just the subject. When I’m not on stage I continue teaching when I can. In my small way I hope I’m doing making a difference with my students.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t care where I’m going, just give me a road trip and good music. I’m happy then.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
When friends come to town I take them to lunch… there is nothing worse than someone dictating where and what you should see and do. I hope they go and explore a destination on their own terms. Just because I like the Art Galleries and theatre and and walking around the harbour doesn’t mean they will.

What are you currently reading?
Eureka by Peter Fitzsimons. I like history… This book is long, when your on tour you need a big yarn to take up the time.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to the Terry and Devon podcast. By Jamie and Ben Oxenbould – it’s funny!

Happiness is?
Happiness is movie night. Every second Saturday my kids, Ana Maria and myself watch all of the old classics.

What does the future hold for you?
The immediate future is continuing working with this amazing cast on The Miser in Canberra then heading down to Melbourne to open it there. After that, I will be joining Bell Shakespeare again for Macbeth in Sydney.

Russell is starring in Bell Shakespeare’s production of The Miser – currently playing at the Canberra Theatre Centre until 20 April, before heading to Arts Centre Melbourne from 25 April 2019. For more information, visit: www.bellshakespeare.com.au for details.

Image: Russell Smith (supplied)