Melanie Wild- artist profile
After finishing up with her latest production, He’s Seeing Other People Now, Melanie Wild caught up with YAQ to discuss the success of the show, the future of live theatre and the impact of being mentored.
As a director Melanie was part of the emerging artists’ ensemble at Queensland Theatre Company in 2010 and has worked as an assistant director with QTC, La Boite, State Theatre Company of South Australia and Sydney Theatre Company. With her own company Black Light Production she has produced and directed Crave by Sarah Kane and Trolley Boys by Alex Cullen.
Melanie: It’s been great that people have responded positively to it. I was worried about people understanding it, since there are so many layers to the play, and we were deliberately trying to keep the audience on the back foot a little. So it’s fantastic that people have really understood the deeper issues behind the play and a lot of people have let us know how much they were thinking about it after they saw it. A lot of people also said they wanted to come back again which it so good to hear.
TM: Was there a moment growing up where, you knew you wanted to be an artist?
MW: I joined my local theatre group when I was 8 and ever since then I wanted to work in the theatre. Originally I wanted to be an actor, but once I went to uni I realized I liked to have more control and be involved in every aspect of theatre: performance, rehearsal, technical and that led me to directing. When I think back to school I was always there painting the set and learning how to operate the lights. I just loved being surrounded by it all.
TM: What impact did Saffron Benner have on you as a mentor?
MW: Saffron really showed me every aspect of working with writers, not just understanding plays- but how to communicate with people. She is also incredibly supportive and honest and has helped me make decisions about my career and helped me get grants to fund my work. If it wasn’t for Saffron helping me to get funding to work with her at Playlab I wouldn’t have many of the skills I need to work developing new plays.
TM: You’ve worked on some pretty impressive ventures the last few years, what’s your next big move?
MW: I’m really not sure. I have no immediate projects since this one (HSOPN) has taken centre stage for almost two years. I would like to do some writing myself (although I’m not sure how that will go) and just find the next great new play to develop. I think the biggest thing I’ve realized, having worked for a few places over the last few years, is to be driven by projects that inspire you – not by working for certain companies. It’s not so fun working on shows that don’t interest you even if you are getting paid (the money isn’t good enough to be unhappy).
TM: As a director of live theatre, where do you sit in the debate surrounding audience interaction and engagement via social media in performances?
MW: I think anything that increases theatre’s profile is good as long as it doesn’t interfere with the performance. You always have to change to suit the audience of the day and at the moment social media is too incredibly big to ignore.
TM: What skill would you most like to have, if it could just come naturally, and without any effort? (ie cooking skills, incredible athletic ability, rally driving etc)
MW: The ability to write incredibly well so I could sell lots of novels or something.
Thank you again Melanie for your time and insight.