On the Couch with Shannon Murphy

Shannon MurphyWho is Shannon Murphy?
I am a theatre and film maker. I like to direct imitations of human behavior. My favourite topics stories are about entrapment, the cult of celebrity, ambitions of children and teenagers, the feminine psyche and gender dysmorphia. I like to explore moments that straddle the sublime and sadistic, with a particular focus on surrealism, absurdity and dream states. For this reason I am inspired by work that rebels against naturalism and takes risks that go against the conventional modes of storytelling.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d be a psychologist.

Who inspires you and why?
In the theatre world Thomas Ostermeier, Katie Mitchell and Romeo Castellucci. In the film world Michael Haneke, Steve McQueen, Julian Schnabel and Jane Campion. Their work is unique and potent.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Adopt children who have no family.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Most recently, low season at Positano on the Almalfi Coast. Very few tourists are there and every gutter is filled with confetti from weddings that have happened in the high season. You feel like you’ve arrived after a massive party and I’ve always been interested in the party aftermath, what happens when the celebration is over.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
White Rabbit Art Gallery or the MCA. I think our galleries are a genuine insight into our society.

What are you currently reading?
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

What are you currently listening to?
Tchaikovsky for work, Sia for pleasure.

Happiness is?
Being with my loved ones.

What does the future hold for you?
Quality theatre, TV and Feature Films

Shannon Murphy is an award winning director and deviser who has worked professionally and internationally in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Europe. At a young age Shannon has already established herself as one of Australia’s leading directors with an impressive resume of diverse productions including Beached, Porn. Cake, This Year’s Ashes, Heartbreak Hotel, Crestfall (Griffin Theatre Company), and My Name Is Rachel Corrie (Australian premiere – B Sharp & Seymour Centre remount) – winning the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Independent Production and a nomination for Best Director.

Other productions have included: Bliss and Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (B Sharp), Tusk Tusk and Rabbit (Sydney Theatre Company), Circle Mirror Transformation (Ensemble Theatre), and The One-Eyed Man is King (Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin), Gethsemane (Belvoir) and Taming of the Shrew (Bell Shakespeare).

Shannon has held the position of Director in Residence at Griffin Theatre Company and Emerging Artist at Virginia Stage Company. Recipient of the 2010 Mike Walsh Fellowship, she is considered most influential NIDA graduate of the decade by Sydney Magazine, her work reflecting someone who is willing to lay down the blue print of new territories rather than simply follow what is already established.

Shannon is currently directing the premiere of Vanessa Bates’ Every Second for Darlinghurst Theatre Company for a limited season from 27 June at the Eternity Playhouse. For more information, visit: www.darlinghursttheatre.com for details.

Image: Shannon Murphy