On the Couch with Noel Anderson

What is your talent?

Recently I opened a Linktree account and in my profile, I described myself as a Jack of all trades. But my first real “talent” was in acting. Nowadays I’d describe myself mostly as a writer/director.

How did you get into theatre and when did you start writing and directing plays?

I did drama classes on weekends as a teenager, and I remember seeing the “Flintstones Live.” I was hooked immediately by the show’s staging and effects. Much later on I applied for NIDA’s Playwright Studio in Sydney, submitting a short piece from a play I was writing about pop artist Andy Warhol. To my surprise, I got into the course. That was 1996 and my play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame has since been produced for the Sydney Mardi Gras, Midsumma Festival and the Jewish Museum of Australia, where it was performed alongside Warhol’s original portraits of “Famous Jews of the 20th Century.” The first play I ever directed was by American playwright David Mamet at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane, late 1980s. The play was Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The season was a sellout. I’ve directed nearly sixty productions since and worked with a variety of performers including pop stars, drag queens, comedians and strippers. Once I directed a live chicken in a show. Now that’s dedication!

What do you love about theatre?

It’s immediate and every audience is different. Moments on stage vary slightly as no two performances are exactly the same. I love that! With film, for example, the performance is recorded and the moments captured never change.

What’s been a highlight of your theatre experiences?

I’ve had a few. I did spend ten years writing a musical called Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets. I finally got it on stage in 2015. It’s set in Melbourne. Audrey Hepburn appears as a muse in the story during the lead character’s therapy sessions. I had a therapist at the time of writing it. You learn a lot about your creativity and about perseverance writing an original musical. When the dust settled and the show was over, I sat and cried from exhaustion. I’m bewildered by the lack of support for Australian stories in general. But richer and stronger for having created an Aussie musical.

Where can we see or read your work?

As I mentioned earlier, I created a Linktree account so my published plays, website, podcasts and music videos (like Travellers in Time from my musical) can be accessed via one link. You can even buy me a cup of coffee: https://linktr.ee/noelanderson

What does the future hold for your theatre work?

Two winters ago, I adapted The Turn of the Screw by Henry James into a stage play. I renamed it, Ghost Story. I wrote Ghost Story between 9pm and 6am. I felt possessed at the time and wrote like a devil overnight. I’m looking for a suitable space, old building or theatre to stage a production. It’s designed to be portable, written for two women. My objective with Ghost Story is to take the audience back to 1890s England and then scare the pants off them.

Available on Amazon

More Info: https://linktr.ee/noelanderson

Article first published 4th April 2022 in the State Library of Victoria’s newsletterhttps://www.slv.vic.gov.au/

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