On the Couch with Shelly Higgs

Shelly Higgs AAR On the CouchWho is Shelly Higgs?
A lover of stories, art, climbing mountains and drinking good coffee. I am a restless creator driven to understand what makes us all tick. I am fascinated by humans, by the intricacies of nature and wrestle constantly with my contribution to the world. Being a theatre director and a photographer is a way for me to explore our humanness, to attempt to bridge division and to create art in a meaningful way.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I love what I do right now. I work intensely for certain periods of time and then when it’s over I have time to enjoy the role of mother, of daughter, of artist. Ideally, perhaps, this would be more balanced and consistent. Always having a gig. Always having time to create and to spend time with my family.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by so many people, mostly because I want to possess their self-assuredness, their confidence… Brene Brown. Russel Brand. People who are authentic. People who can name their boundaries unapologetically. People who are courageous enough to grow.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I struggle with this question because it’s one I ask myself everyday. What am I doing? Is it enough? It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to be more. To do more. To do better. Lately I’m starting to consider that perhaps it’s not only the big things that make a difference, but the little ones too; being kind, noticing beauty, really listening, being present.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere I have the privilege of visiting is my favourite place, whilst I’m there. I love going somewhere I haven’t been before. Experiencing things for the first time. I love natural places that show both our insignificance and our scope. The foothills in Nepal, the Great Ocean Road… But then, I also love places such as the bustling hub of culture that is Paris or London.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
A number of walking tracks along the Centenary Trail. We have such amazing walks and hills all over Canberra; I’d probably start with Urambi Hills or Mt Arawang.

What are you currently reading?
When I’m rehearsing a show, every minute of every day is spent living and breathing it. The only thing I am reading is our script over and over… I recently finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m fascinated by people’s abilities to overcome challenges; especially ones they set themselves.

What are you currently listening to?
Most of my current listening repertoire is a number of meditations by The Mindful Movement. Meditating helps me focus, keeps me grounded and helps balance out the enormous stress and lack of sleep that comes as part of the final push to get a show ready for stage.

Happiness is?
Happiness is holding my children, standing on the top of a mountain and the taste of good coffee. Happiness is being completely present..

What does the future hold for you?
Future me aspires to continue adventuring, exploring new, out of the way places, directing more shows, reading more books, taking more photos, writing, seeing more art… Basically experiencing as much as I can before, woah, we blink and suddenly we’re all another decade older.

Shelly is a professional theatre director, producer, occasional playwright and multi award-winning photographer. Shelly currently is The Street Theatre’s Executive Assistant of Arts Programs including coordination of the First Seen: new works-in-progress program.

Shelly will direct Connor McPherson’s St Nicholas in a live-streamed performance from Canberra’s The Street Theatre: 5 – 7 June 2020. For more information, visit: www.thestreet.org.au or www.saintnicholas.com.au for details.

Image: Shelly Higgs (supplied)