How did you arrive at HotHouse Theatre? How are you enjoying living and working in the Murray region?
I've worked in the theatre sector for about 30 years, and spent some time in my early career touring to, or working with, regional companies. After 5.5 years as Director of Theatre for the Australia Council, I was really keen to get back to practice. Hothouse is such a special company, and one of the very few surviving producing regional theatre companies. Living here is like stepping back in time in the best possible way! I love the air, light, and the wildlife. The birds are amazing. I'm now a volunteer rescue and immediate care volunteer for the local Murray River WIRES branch, which is incredible rewarding. And did I mention the food and wine? What an incredible region. I love living here.
What have been some of your career highlights?
Working with Belvoir for almost a decade is a big highlight. I also really loved my role at Australia Council, because I got to see the breadth of art-making in this country. I travelled extensively in that job, and had the opportunity to address some industry issues through funding and special initiatives. It was a great privilage to serve the sector in this way. As a young actor I got to tour a lot, and for one gig spent six months touring the regional and remote north west of NSW. I got to perform in tiny theatres, shearing sheds, schools and community halls, and I met some remarkable people. It was also my first real experience of working with Indigenous kids, something I'm really grateful for.
What are your top 3 tips for someone thinking of a career in the arts?
Stick with it. Talent is everywhere, but the will/capacity to work hard – especially through adversity - is not so common. If you work hard and hang in there, you can have a career.
Find a mentor or mentors. And not just arts people. Find people you can trust to give you honest feedback, and support when the chips are down.
Don't be afraid of taking a detour. A career plan is great, but sometimes working on a project or job outside your comfort zone brings unexpected rewards. You discover new skills, new people, and sometimes it can take you into an exciting new artistic area or field.
What are you working on anything at the moment?...any dream projects in the pipeline?
I'm working with Ros Oades on a project called At The Hip, which will be performed by our Studio emerging artists in November. It's a huge community project that examines border culture, and the secret lives of Albury and Wodonga! I've admired Ros' work for years, so am very chuffed to be working with her, and also very excited about auditioning new Studio members later in the month. Check out our website soon for audition details!
Lyn Wallis | Artistic Director
Lyn Wallis (Centre) with the HotHouse team Image credit: Ben Simpson, OGA