On the Couch with Tess Branchflower

Tess-Branchflower-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Tess Branchflower?
I’m an actor, writer and director from Melbourne, Naarm. After studying a Bachelor of Musical Theatre, she is drawn to the creation and development of new theatrical work. She aims to create layered, self reflective work that presses the audience to think and be intellectually absorbed. Her work tends to present one way and then develop into something unexpected.

Tess also works as a fitness instructor and loves this balance between industries. She highly values the hard work that goes into planning and running fitness classes and closely correlates it to performing – both disciplines require building a connection to a group of individuals, being clear, holding their attention and sticking to a script (plan).

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Work on projects as a team and not micromanage so much. Invite feedback from peers and mentors at an earlier stage in the creation process.

Who inspires you and why?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I love the cleverness in her writing style, particularly in the tragicomedy genre which is the genre I tend to fall into. Making dark comedy – moments of laughter and sadness all in one line. I admire and am inspired by the way she built her career – writing a play, going through the Fringe circuit, backing herself as a writer as much as a performer (having studied a BA of acting).

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would really love to connect with small communities around the world creating theatre programs and run workshops that involve the younger generations in particular or those that feel a little lost. I would love to encourage confidence from the core and help people build character development and storytelling from an individual place. It would bring me a lot of fulfilment to see others proud to share what they have created and discover new passions and interests.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Turkey was a gem. The people were friendly, vibrant and incredibly generous. I adored the busy avenues of Istanbul as much as the calmness of the coast. The food is incredible and there is an incredible bohemian culture threaded throughout. I can’t wait to go back.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
ACMI – I love their pop up exhibitions. Also, to my favourite cafes and bakeries for a good brew and pastry.

What are you currently reading?
Happiest Man On Earth by Eddie Jaku. A true story about Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku and how he found happiness after one of the darkest eras in history.

What are you currently listening to?
A mix of late 2000s female artists like Missy Higgins and Laura Marling… and also Miley Cyrus’s new album, Endless Summer Vacation.

Happiness is?
People. Finding your people that support you and that bring you light. Being content with doing exactly what you’re doing. It’s all okay. You don’t need to do more or less. Just live each day owning whatever choices you make. There is no right or wrong. There’s no need to stress about what has happened or what is yet to… it’s only a waste of energy you could be putting into the present.

What does the future hold for you?
More writing. More collaborating so I can learn more about producing work and how to find my way in the industry

Tess presents Mind The Gap (Year) – currently playing at Campari House, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, until 9 April 2023. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Tess Branchflower (supplied)