On the Couch with Simon Abrahams

Simon Abrahams AAR On the CouchWho is Simon Abrahams?
I am the Creative Director and CEO at Melbourne Fringe – Melbourne’s festival of independent art. I’m also the an arts advocate, performer and cultural consultant working as a facilitator, guest speaker, peer assessor and all-round arts go-to guy. I currently sit on the Theatre Panel for the Helpmann Awards and the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Council for Volunteering, and I’m an Australian ISPA Fellow (2017-19). And I’m a fan of 90s pop music, though I haven’t found an official way to build that into my bio (yet).

What would you do differently to what you do now? 
Well the thing I should do differently is to take more time to smell the roses, but that will have to wait until when Fringe 18 is over.

Who inspires you and why?
Artistically, I’ve always had a total art crush on Gideon Obarzanek who is now Chair of Melbourne Fringe, which is pretty amazing. I love his determination. Polyglot Theatre’s Artistic Director Sue Giles is probably the best human on the planet and her commitment to celebrating the creativity of children is extraordinary. And my Mum and Dad, who are just the best.

What would you do to make a difference in the world? 
I like to think I do a bit to make a difference in the world already through helping artists to make art, because I believe that art makes our world more empathetic, more exciting and helps us understand our own complexities better. There’s so much work to be done, especially around advocacy to Government to focus on the things that really matter – the arts of course, but also refugee rights, homelessness, gender equality, domestic violence, queer rights, structural inequality…

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I try to get myself to New York as often as I can. It’s vibrant and exciting, it’s full of amazing art and terrible art, excellent bagels and rude humans. I can’t imagine a time when I will want to stop returning.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? 
Melbourne isn’t about attractions. Melbourne IS the attraction. I’d take them for a coffee, a surprising artistic experience, dumplings and then a night on the town bar-hopping, and it’ll be a trip to remember.

What are you currently reading?
The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah KrasnosteinAnd The Age everyday, in print, delivered. Old school!

What are you currently listening to? 
Missy Higgins’ Solastalgia, Kylie Minogue’s Golden, Florence and the Machine’s High as Hope and Tina Arena’s Quand Tout Recommence. I’m a loyal listener.

Happiness is?
3Fs: Friends, family, food.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ll keep drowning in art for the foreseeable future. I’ll keep fighting for public and philanthropic investment in the arts for all of its social good, and I’ll be drinking prosecco with excellent people. Life is better with bubbles!

Simon is Creative Director and CEO at Melbourne Fringe – which has now launched and runs 13 – 30 September 2018. For more information, visit: www.melbournefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Simon Abrahams (supplied)