On the Couch with Steven Mitchell Wright

Steven Mitchell Wright AAR On the CouchWho is Steven Mitchell Wright?
Going for the tough questions right off the bat! He is a theatre director and designer. He is the Artistic Director of The Danger Ensemble. He has been creating contemporary and experimental work for 15 years. He believes theatre and art should always be evolving and questioning its role, function and form. He has worked across Europe, the UK, the US and Hong Kong. He (and his company) have recently relocated from Brisbane to Melbourne. He is presenting The Hamlet Apocalypse at Theatre Works in November.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
In a different life I might have been a lawyer or a fashion designer. In this life I am very happy with the work I do and the amazing artists I work with. In the ideal version of this life, I find a way to have a funded full-time ensemble; we train, we collaborate, we tour more, we create more and we have our own venue.

Who inspires you and why?
I find a lot of inspiration in music. Canadian Post-Prog Rock band A Silver Mt Zion has been one of the most consistent inspirations for me personally and artistically – their music captures a sense of messy hope, a willingness to fight, and a shared discovery of beauty.

Theatre artists that inspire me include Troubleyn, Forced Entertainment, Barrie Kosky, Tadashi Suzuki, La Fura Del Baus – and a lot of Australian independent companies and artists (some no longer operational to the best of my knowledge) including The Good Room, Belloo Creative, The Rabble, Little Ones, Sisters Grimm, Fraught Outfit, Hayloft Project and Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
My first thought was to grab some matches and burn it all down. My second thought was to wax lyrical about the power of art and the impact it has on people’s lives – which I genuinely believe.. but at this moment and in our world I think the best thing I can do is shut up and listen to the experience of people who are not like me and believe them.. and then tell other people who are refusing to listen to shut up too.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Barcelona. I love the culture, the architecture, the way the city sits right next to the beach. I’ve been there four times now and every time it feels like home.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would start with my favourite cafes Lucy Lockett in Brunswick and True North in Coburg – I might tell them to go and see the penguins (but I probably wouldn’t go because the beach makes me feel dirty), the NGV, the Botanical Gardens. I don’t really know – I just moved here and I’m a terrible tourist.

What are you currently reading?
Why Are We ‘Artists’? 100 World Art Manifestos. Selected by Jessica Lack.

What are you currently listening to?
Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Inside by Sophie.

Happiness is?
An abstract idea which evades if you pursue it.

What does the future hold for you?
Maybe some matches? Probably not penguins. Definitely rehearsals for our upcoming season.

Steven has directed and designed The Hamlet Apocalypse – which will be presented at Theatre Works for a limited season from 7 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Steven Mitchell Wright (supplied)