On the Couch with Simon Stephens

Simon Stephens Arts Review On the CouchWho is Simon Stephens?
Simon Stephens is a playwright. And a podcaster. And a teacher of playwriting. A professor no less. At an actual University. IN Manchester. Which is a very cool city. He is father. He swims a lot. He rides his bike round London when he knows he doesn’t need a drink of booze at the end of the day.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would be better at close hand magic card tricks. My main regret is that I can’t do card tricks. Or dancing, I’d dance more. I stop myself from dancing because I’m tall and feel self conscious and I hate that about myself. Other than that I’m fairly sanguine about my lot.

Who inspires you and why?
The people I meet, work with, see, watch, examine, read about and imagine. Actors. Theatres. Directors. And music. I always try to write plays that affect audiences in the specific way different pieces of music affect me.

What what you do to make a difference in the world? 
Teach all women until the age of 18 everywhere in the world. Educating women is the best way to boost economies and control population growth and stop wars. We could do a five year experiment where every government and organisation and company was run by women. It would have to be limited in time because I suspect it is power that corrupts not gender. But the power structures have been so skewed they need to be actively skewed back. And ban plastic…

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Melbourne! I have never taken my family anywhere that has made all of us so happy. Mainly because of the Fitzroy Pool and Stagger Lee’s Burger Bar. My 15 year old has talked about Stagger Lee’s Burger Bar for two years pretty much every day. I can’t believe I will get to take him back. And the food. And the cocktails.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them too, and why?
Sir John Soane’s House in London is the most remarkable and beautiful and strange museum. The private house of an eccentric collector. I love it rather. I like walking over London. The walk through Temple and to Temple Church and to the River.

What are you currently reading?
Carol Morley’s remarkable autobiography, Seven Miles Out.

What are you currently listening to?
The Stallion’s cover version of Pink Floyd’s album The Wall. A psychedelic death metal gothic thing called The Dark Side of the Wall.

Happiness is?
My cockapoo dog, GilbertandGeorge. And taking my family to Melbourne And when Man United play beautifully.

What does the future hold for you?
I have a year of writing ahead. Writing new plays for theatres in Hamburg and Manchester and New York City. Starting in Melbourne. I can’t wait.

Simon’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time plays at Arts Centre Melbourne: 11 January – 25 February, as part of Melbourne Theatre Company‘s 2018 Season.

To complement the Australian premiere season of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Arts Centre Melbourne presents an Associated Program –  to enrich audiences’ experience of this groundbreaking production, including Page to Stage with Simon Stephens on Sunday 14 January – where he speaks about his work as a playwright and the process of adapting Mark Haddon’s beloved novel for the stage.


Image: Simon Stephens (supplied)