On the Couch with Ursula Searle

Ursula-Searle-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Ursula Searle?
I’m a third-culture kid who grew up in Malaysia/Brunei for most of my teenage years. I’m 27, queer, love spending time alone or going swimming with my friends. I am utterly obsessed with my plants, I have around 80 of them! I’m a little bit of a nutcase, constantly making strange noises and singing all different kinds of music.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If I wasn’t a performer, I would probably get into horticulture more or spend my time learning some new skills to keep myself occupied. That’s the great thing about my job as an artist, I am constantly learning and trying new things.

Who inspires you and why?
My Nan, Peggy. She has always been supportive and understanding of me and reminds me that you’re never too old to learn something new or to question the way things are. She was the first member of my family I officially came out to and had nothing to say except that she likes the word “gay” haha.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I don’t know that I would do anything differently than I already am to make a difference. I try my best to continue having conversations about things that need changing. I think as long as people are understanding of each other and are ready to be held accountable for making mistakes then we can make a real difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Kyoto, Japan. I had the best time while I was there: the people are so lovely, the food was spectacular and I would go back in a heartbeat (covid willing!)

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I usually just take friends to my favourite vegan restaurants or outdoor pools. I also always try and see some theatre with them as Melbourne has amazing theatre on all the time (outside of covid that is).

What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for the third time while I run a creative cluster with the Melbourne Actor’s Guild.

What are you currently listening to?
I actually am not actively listening to anything at the moment! When I am doing a show I tend to be on a one-track mindset and find it difficult to absorb new music. I am re-listening to a few albums that keep me grounded though; Room Eleven’s mmm…Gumbo album makes me feel like I am at home because I used to listen to it at boarding school with my best friend Esther.

Happiness is?
Having the freedom to be your absolute true self without fear.

What does the future hold for you?
I hope the future holds more artistic discovery and more of a sense of being grounded. The last few years have been a whirlwind, and so I am excited to put some roots down and feel in my body again.

Ursula stars as Medium Alison in Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Fun Home – currently playing in the Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne until 5 March 2022. For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.

Image: Ursula Searle (supplied)