On the Couch with Sanja Simic

Sanja-Simic-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Sanja Simic?
I am a creative producer and theatre director, living and working on Jagera and Turrbal country in Meanjin, Queensland. I’m currently the Creative Producer at La Boite Theatre Company. I am also a Cancerian (with a Capricorn moon and an Aries ascendant), unabashed foodie, house-plant assassin, and the fat, queer, deeply-grateful daughter of Eastern European immigrants.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
…other than working in the arts? Nothing. Theatre-making fuels, challenges, and inspires me beyond measure. There is nothing else I can see myself doing at this point in time. More generally, I’d eat more vegetables, spend more time in the sunshine, see more live music, and learn how to keep plants alive.

Who inspires you and why?
The women in my life – from my mother to my best friends to my girlfriend, their brains and hearts  and generosity are immense. I am grateful to have each of them in my orbit. I’m also regularly humbled by the artists I’m privileged to know, work with, and call my friends, as a direct result of my job – La Boite has brought some of the most talented, resilient, interesting, political, and passionate people into my life over the past four years.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m doing it. I firmly believe in our capacity, as artists and arts workers, to make a difference in the  world. Theatre, as an artform, is inherently political. The best work I have seen, both local and international, has set my heart and/or mind alight – it has moved or entertained me, while asking me to consider my place in the world, and my individual capacity to start difficult conversations, make noise, and offer/make space for those who don’t have easy access to the proverbial mic.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Jungfraujoch in Switzerland is simply one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen, I would love to go back and spend more time there at some point in my life. The higher the altitude, the happier I am – it’s in my DNA. This is why the Blue Mountains in NSW call to me regularly, and anywhere in the world where my family or community are based. Basically, if I’m atop a mountain, surrounded by good food, strong liquor, and the people I love, I am in my happy place.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
It depends on the person and their capacity to tolerate the Queensland sun, but I would likely take them out for breakfast in West End, then suggest a walk by the river and a lazy afternoon in New Farm Park. If it’s too hot, I’d probably suggest a trip to GOMA, followed by drinks and something delicious at Wandering Cooks.

What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading Jess Hill’s harrowing See What You Made Me Do for a project, which continues to move and challenge me – I can’t recommend it enough. I recently finished Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs – an intimate and often ruthless exploration of the (female) body, which I really loved. And I’m currently leafing through Dead Centre’s Lippy and marveling at the company’s skill in making conceptually rigorous and formally complex work.

What are you currently listening to?
In the time that I’ve written this, I’ve listened to Balairi’s Migraine Mentality, H.E.R’s latest, Hold On, and Still Woozy’s Lately EP. The playlist changes day to day, from the office to the rehearsal room to my living room. Lately, I’ve found myself playing albums by Julia Jacklin, FELIVAND, North Downs, Miiesha, and Patti Smith pretty regularly. Aside from music, my mates’ David Burton & Claire Christian have a very funny podcast, My Mate Reckons, which I listen to weekly. And Nice White Parents, produced by Serial & TNYT, is a fascinating listen.

Happiness is?
The first coffee of the day, a crisp southerly intercepting a heatwave, the energy of a full-house on an opening night where everything lands just right, the smell of a home cooked meal, and a lazy Sunday spent in bed.

What does the future hold for you?
I am just about to head into three weeks of HWY at La Boite, an eclectic program of new works in development, accompanied by workshops and conversations, featuring a tremendous line-up of local artists. I’m also thrilled to be directing La Boite’s first show of 2021, to be announced imminently, which will see me back in the rehearsal room with two exceptional local actors, working on a cracking new Australian text. Aside from that, I’m not sure, but I’m heading into the future with as much hope, resilience, and drive as I can muster.

Sanja is La Boite Theatre’s Creative Producer – who is responsible for the programming and delivery of the HWY Live program – which runs 5 – 21 November 2020. For more information and full program, visit: www.laboite.com.au for details.

Image: Sanja Simic (supplied)