On the Couch with Tom Healey

AAR-OTC-Tom-Healy-photo-by-Pia-JohnsonWho is Tom Healey?
Husband of James, father of Basti the dog, lover of red wine, classical music and good cheese. A recent non-smoker, a passionate artist, a devoted teacher. Director, actor, dramaturg. Trying desperately to love fitness, kale, low fat yoghurt and early mornings – these are ongoing projects…

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If I had my time again, I think I would pay a lot more attention to my body. I’m a little bit sad that I’m not a silver fox with a killer yoga bod, kitten hips and a super supple spine. There’s a fantasy version of me that was a famous and extremely cool contemporary dancer in Europe who now runs an exclusive yoga studio in Barcelona. I would have enjoyed that I think…

Who inspires you and why?
I have had the luck and great joy of working in an industry full of fierce and motivated people. Sometimes we delude ourselves a little I guess, but one of the great things about working as an artist is that you can’t sustain a life in art without believing in the possibility of revolution and change. It’s a profoundly optimistic environment and even if that optimism is sometimes a little misplaced or naive, it’s always invigorating, and I am constantly inspired by it.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Switch off the internet for a few hours every day. I LOVE the internet – I am addicted to my phone and I respect the great things that the www has gifted us, but I get sad watching everyone plugged in to their phones. I miss the conversations I used to have in person and I am really worried about all of our concentration spans – mine has more than halved I reckon.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Berlin – my beautiful city of Berlin. Its premier export is art. There are more artists per square metre there than any other city I have visited. It’s not impossibly expensive, it’s funky and the city has just announced that it is buying back a whole lot of investment properties so that they can provide more low-cost public housing. And the trains run (nearly) all night.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
They all love the laneway bars. All those little places with a few tables, impossibly hip staff and fabulous décor… A lot have vanished, but I have faith they will return. Also, my local supermarket, The Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Road – who doesn’t love Italian toothpaste?

What are you currently reading?
It’s a book I picked up in an airport when I left the one I was reading at home by mistake. It’s called Come to this Court and Cry by Latvian/American Linda Kinstler. It’s a kind of family history where the writer starts to uncover her grandparents’ history as Nazi sympathisers/criminals in Riga during WW2. It’s riveting and I find the question of guilt and how to process the inheritance of it absolutely fascinating – and very personal. It’s something I think about as a white Australian a great deal.

What are you currently listening to?
I have a little faves list I made on Spotify which has songs that are – for various reasons – super important to me. They come from different times and spaces of my life, but when I listen through the list, so many beautiful memories come flooding through me. It’s pretty random – Joni Mitchell, Beyoncé, Lou Reed, Willie Nelson, Todrick Hall. Annie Lennox – but very emotional to me and very personal. My favourite type of experience.

Happiness is?
Friends, love, companionship. Connection. Change.

What does the future hold for you?
There’s a beautiful quote at the end of Tony Kushner’s epic play Angels in America where the main character wishes the audience “More Life”. That’s what I want for myself and those I love… More Life… I’m heading towards the upper end of middle life. I’m hoping that what is coming will continue to revive and surprise me. That’s all I really need (and some fabulous fancy freelance gigs in various world cities if the universe is listening…)

Tom is the director of Mark Crawford’s heartfelt comedy, Bed & Breakfast – which will be presented by Fairly Lucid Productions at Chapel Off Chapel from 7 – 18 September 2022. For more information, visit: www.fairlylucidproductions.com for details.

Image: Tom Healey by Pia Johnson