Adam Mitchell is a talented Perth theatre director who has directed many great plays both for the large theatre companies and for some of the independent theatre groups in Perth and Western Australia.
His style is modern, edgy and creative and he has a knack of getting the most out of his actors and the script.
Some of his shows that we remember and loved include “Boy Gets Girl” “When The Rain Stops Falling” “The Laramie Project” “The Shape of Things” “Pool- no water” “The Motherf*cker With The Hat” and “Flood” amongst others.
Apart from his creative vision, Adam is intelligent, articulate and a fantastic asset for the arts in Perth.
We are honoured to have interviewed him as the next creative person for our “Questions Over
Coffee Wine” segment. Enjoy!
Hi Adam, thank you for being involved and for being our creative person of the season.
1) Firstly Adam, can you please tell our readers what you do?
Hi, thank you for having me.
Well, I am a theatre director and I make mostly contemporary works in the genres of theatre, music theatre and opera. Whether I’m working on music or whether I’m working on theatre, the main thing I value about live performance is the theatricality of it, the theatre that I want to make is theatre of invention. I’m so bored with seeing a work done how it was done originally at the turn of the century; companies doing a classic work and not finding a way to interpret it. Theatre to me is about relevance, it’s about how the work translates for a city like ours who is quite sophisticated and very forward thinking. That’s what I hope my work does to an audience, makes them think, makes them wonder and makes them ask how this play is talking to them at this present moment. Art is not something that belongs out of context of the every day, the art that we make is somehow contextualised into who we are in the present.
2) Adam you seem to choose your scripts very well, we’ve noticed that you find interesting and different plays to direct. How do you go about sourcing them?
Well, I sleep with a lot of playwrights! I try to see as much theatre as I can, both here, overseas and in the eastern states. I read a lot of plays. I have a lot of touchstones that I go to- new writing theatres in London that I am always getting new works from, new writing theatres in America that I know and have seen work there before that I’ve loved so I follow up with them each season. Or you just see a play that you really like so you try to find out what the playwright is working on next. I try to build those relationships as much as I can and I try to align myself with people who are writing the sort of work that I want to direct.
3) Can you please tell us a bit about your background and how you got into directing?
When I was at school music was my main driving force and I trained as a singer. Then when leaving school, I decided maybe I should act, so I went to Curtin University; Hayman Theatre where I did the Bachelor of Arts and I also did the Certificate of Music Theatre at WAAPA. I’ve never trained as a director but at Hayman I started making my own work and there were a few projects that I got up and running that went really well and it kind of just snowballed from there to the point where I am now working exclusively as a director rather than a performer.
4) Can you pinpoint a show that was instrumental to your success?
“The Brick and the Rose” was really a launching pad for me. It was a show that I directed at university which then got another life later and we went on to perform it in the eastern states. From there I started directing for the Studio Project and the Hot Bed Ensemble with Black Swan and that was really my introduction to directing. I was incredibly lucky to be able to build a repertoire of work over the next 3 or 4 years. It really was the best of contemporary theatre making and it really defined my work as a director and highlighted the work that I wanted to make. It was provocative and had an edge to it and was something that now that I am more advanced in my career, I look back on as a part of my story that was wonderful and really helped define me as an artist but I don’t necessarily feel I need to work on trend anymore. From there I began making larger works and I have aligned myself mostly with Black Swan. If I had to pick a production I’ve directed so far which has been a highlight it would be “When the rain stops falling” which I directed for Black Swan in the State Theatre. I really believed in that show and we were able to really explore the characters and dialogue and creativity. The script was fantastic and we even had the playwright come out to see the show so that was exciting.
5) Can you nominate a career highlight so far?
Yes, one of my highlights was doing my cabaret show, my solo show which I wrote and performed and I took it to Edinburgh. And I learnt so much from that. It was completely self-contained, it was just me and through working on stage and with theatre makers and putting myself in that vulnerable position I really learnt so much about the whole process. It was invaluable.
Thank you so much Adam. We are a huge fan of your work and we look forward to seeing your plays on stage in the future.
Part Two of this interview will be posted soon. In part two we talk about Adam’s future prospects and his thoughts on theatre in Perth.
Have you seen any of Adam’s shows? Do you have a favourite?