On the Couch with Vidya Makan

Vidya-Makan-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Vidya Makan?
A 26 year old actor, singer and composer/lyricist; incredibly passionate about championing under represented stories and voices in the world of Musical Theatre. Earlier this year, I was performing in the original Australian cast of Six: The Musical (Louise Withers) as Catherine Parr, and also received a Green Room nomination for Best Performance In A Leading Role for my performance last year as Dot/Marie in Sunday In The Park With George (Watch This). As a composer, I am currently working in collaboration with Hayes Theatre Co on a new song cycle called Straya: The Lucky Country and have been commissioned by the likes of National Gallery Victoria and Chips & Gravy Films Ltd for my original work.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’ve spoken a little in the past about how I didn’t sign up to be an activist, I signed up to be an artist. However, as a person of colour in the entertainment industry, at times, being an activist is unavoidable. If I could do something differently from what I do now, I would love to exist in a world where diverse artists are invited into spaces that have previously excluded them, without having to ‘fight’ or ‘preach’ for people to understand they are worthy of being in those spaces.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by the 100 incredible 18 – 25 years old BIPoC artists who feature in I Need You To See Me. Their talent, passion and drive is just groundbreaking. I am also inspired by friends and colleagues in the Musical Theatre industry right now who are standing up and calling for more representation on our Australian stages. The future of our industry is looking bright!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Continue to use my craft of songwriting and performance to champion under represented, mis represented or completely un represented voices and stories! I wish I had the talent to cure cancer, or send rockets into space. Unfortunately my talents are much more humble. But I always say, I’m trying to change the world one song at a time!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York City. Every time I visit the city I am blown away with a new piece of theatre that is fresh, revolutionary and groundbreaking. I look forward to a time when our industry here in Australia can also be a world leader in theatre. We have the talent. We have the creatives. We have the audiences. I don’t see any reason why we can’t be!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they are coming to Melbourne, nothing can beat an independent theatre show featuring local artists, preceded by delicious meal at the Moroccan Soup Bar!

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Am I Black Enough For You by Anita Heiss. It’s brilliant! I have just finished reading Slave Play by Jeremy O’Harris. An incredible, thought provoking new play from last year’s Broadway season.

What are you currently listening to?
Admittedly, for the past few weeks, all I have been listening to are the many many MANY edits and drafts of I Need You To See Me with my incredible team. We have been working tirelessly to make sure every orchestration and vocal line is perfectly timed and levelled. And believe it or not, we are still not sick of listening to it!

Happiness is?
Seeing these incredible 100 BIPoC artists perform with agency and valued for their humanity. Happiness is also seeing an entire industry stand together for a better and brighter future.

What does the future hold for you?
More work to ensure that Australia becomes a world leader when it comes to creating exciting, colourful and world class Musical Theatre!

Vidya is an actor, singer and composer/lyricist – who is joined by 100 incredible BIPoC artists who feature in I Need You To See Me. For more information about Vidya Makan, visit: www.vidyamakan.com for details.

Image: Vidya Makan (supplied)