On the Couch with Thomas Weatherall

Belvoir-Balnaves-Thomas-Weatherall-photo-by-Kate-WilliamsWho is Thomas Weatherall?
I’m a 23-year-old actor and writer based in Sydney. I’m pretty much composed of 80% coffee at this point (at least), my personality is determined by my Spotify playlists, and I get too nervous to read in public.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I was a dancer growing up, and for a long time that was the be-all-and-end-all for me, so I guess if I hadn’t fallen into acting, maybe that? I still have such a love for it, and a desire to do something with it at some point in my career, but I’m not sure if my knees would hold up… I’ve also been thinking about house painting a lot recently. Maybe I’d be doing a house painting apprenticeship?

Who inspires you and why?
The list is too long, because there’s personal and professional ones, but the most honest answer is my mum. I’d be indescribably lost without her love and support, she truly is the strongest person I know. Everything I do – both artistically, and in my personal life – is to make her proud, and to thank her for everything she’s given me. Also, my childhood dance teacher Dianne Talbot. Outside of my mother, she has had the most profound impact on my life, and is always a constant source of inspiration.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I don’t know if this format is quite right for me to really go down the rabbit hole of my own personal and political ideologies, but the simple answer is be kinder, and listen more. I’ve been encouraged (forced) to be kinder to myself recently, and it’s quite profound to see the difference that can have on your relationship not only with yourself, but with the rest of the world. It’s probably naive to think, but I think if everyone made a concerted effort to be kinder to themselves, and in turn others, and then made genuine efforts to really listen, the world could be a much nicer place to live in.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love Tasmania, but it’s beginning to become more of a second home now than a holiday destination! Any chance I get I head down there, and frankly have to constantly talk myself out of making the move there! I love the pace and environment; it’s got a great sense of culture and art in particular areas too, whilst also feeling like one big small town. Each time I’ve gone I’ve used it as a bit of a writing retreat also, and I feel like it’s done wonders for my work. The lifestyle of swimming in the ocean, nature surrounding you, cooking good food and writing all day is pretty unbeatable. They also produce great cheese!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’m a big foodie so honestly I’m probably just taking them to any and every cafe/restaurant I can manage to cram into their time in Sydney! Outside of that I always try to make sure I can get them to whatever theatre is going on at the time, and I’ve got a few quieter swimming spots and lookouts that I’ll keep secret for now.

What are you currently reading?
I have a tendency to have several books going at a time. I’ve always loved reading but am a bit of a slow reader, so having a few on rotation oddly makes it easier. I’m currently reading Day by Michael Cunningham, and A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I like to read material that can sort of inform the work I’m making without being directly connected, and I think I found both of these novels at the perfect time. I’ve also been trying to read some more non-fiction lately, so I’m about to crack Angry at Breakfast by Erik Jensen.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve just finished a pretty demanding job, so I’m listening to a lot of soul and mellow music right now to ease back into everyday life! Some Irma Thomas, Bill Withers, Ray Charles and George Jackson. Also, it’s nearly time for the footy season to kick off again so I listen to about 10 hours worth of NRL podcasts each week.

Happiness is?
Contentment, I guess? Honestly this is something I ask myself a lot, and struggle quite a bit with, wondering if here is some definitive thing or sensation that will equal real ‘happiness’. For right now it’s having breaky and pub lunches with my friends, writing and reading as much as possible, and spending time with my mum. I think it’s whatever simple things can bring you joy.

What does the future hold for you?
I wish I knew! I feel like I’m in a really fortunate position right now getting to do the work I love, and things that fulfil me, but part of this line of work is being adaptable and ready for anything, so I guess that’s how I’m attempting to live. There’s some exciting things ahead, and I think I’m trying to find the space and time to enjoy that, but also focus a bit more on the little things in my life. Hopefully a lot more writing, some more acting, a lot of home cooked meals, and a bit more time with my loved ones.

Thomas is the playwright of Blue – a Belvoir St Theatre production presented by State Theatre Company South Australia in association with Adelaide Festival at the Scott Theatre – The University of Adelaide until 16 March 2024. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefestival.com.au or www.statetheatrecompany.com.au for details.

Image: Thomas Weatherall – photo by Kate Williams