On the Couch with Tom Oliver

Wynnum-Fringe-Festival-Tom-Oliver-On-the-CouchWho is Tom Oliver?
Depends who you ask. I’m the Founder/ Director of the Wynnum Fringe Festival at the moment. Pre-covid, I toured around Australia and overseas with various theatre shows and music groups. My biggest roles in theatre have been the lead role in Velvet, opposite the legendary Marcia Hines, and the lead role in Rolling Thunder Vietnam.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
More naps! Is this a mindset question? I’m going to take it that way! I’d like to find a good work / life balance soon. I have committed wholeheartedly to Wynnum Fringe Festival for the last 12 months. 7 days a week, early mornings to late nights. I love it and it’s starting to get some awesome momentum – which is excellent. But I need to get it to a point where there can be a full-time team looking after it, so I don’t need to work every day. I know it’s possible. This will let me keep performing and making things on stage or screen. I love that too and miss it dearly!

Who inspires you and why?
So many people! Anyone who has a vision and then achieves it. Or even attempts to achieve it and messes it up but gives it a good go. That takes guts. I think right now, anyone who works in the health system inspires me the most. Day in, day out, they are dealing with a new virus which is causing pain to a lot of people physically and mentally. The fact that we have people who are dedicated to helping others recover from illness, is truly special. Thank you very much to all frontline workers for doing what you do!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I could, I would make the Arts accessible to everyone on the planet. Don’t ask me how.. because if I knew, we’d be doing it. The Arts shouldn’t cost money to be experienced. It does right now, because the people working in the industry need to get paid, but the benefit of watching something creative or participating in something creative is life changing. Unfortunately, right now (for the most part) live theatre can only be experienced by people who can afford to see it. Hopefully Wynnum Fringe can make a small step towards this dream with our free programming on the streets of Wynnum on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November. This is only possible with amazing Government support. What if this was possible all the ti

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I haven’t been on many holidays! I have worked in some pretty luxurious places though. In 2019 I was touring around Florida, Mexico, The Bahamas and Caribbean on a cruise ship called The Norwegian Breakaway, performing in a show. I’d say my favorite Island to relax on was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Pussers Rum, glorious weather, crystal clear water, a good group of mates from all over the world. That was living Barry!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I wish some of my friends could come to town right now! I’d take them out to the beautiful Bayside to check out the glorious Moreton Bay. We can pop into Cedar & Pine Bar on Bay Terrace in Wynnum for a drink, then onto Matilda Gelato and then maybe we can head down to the Ferry in Cleveland and head over to Minjerribah Straddie for an afternoon at the beach.

What are you currently reading?
I’d like to read more to be honest. The last book I read was Stephen Fry’s retelling of Greek Mythology, Mythos. It’s awesome.

What are you currently listening to?
John Mayer trio playing Good Love Is On The Way – Live with Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino at the House of Blues in Chicago on Spotify. I loooved this in 2010. It’s nice to listen back through again.

Happiness is?
A nice cuppa tea, some good music and good company.

What does the future hold for you?
Rock The Bay is coming up on Saturday 9 October with some stella artists on the bill (Ian Moss, Kate Miller-Heidke, Glenn Shorrock, Sarah McLeod, Luke Kennedy, Women In Docs… to name a few) which I’m producing, hosting and performing at. Then Wynnum Fringe Festival takes centre stage from the 16 – 21 November which I’ll be enjoying.

Next year, I’m supposed to do a stint in Germany with a theatre show, I have plans to develop some new works in Aus, get back to touring with my mates and living my best life! I need to find the fun again. After 18 months of various lockdowns and lost gigs, the future needs to be all about FUN!

Image: Tom Oliver (supplied)