Bold Boundaries – In conversation with The Pillowman’s Daniel Stoddart

Daniel Stoddart
Daniel Stoddart

This year has seen a surge of innovative theatre on the Newcastle arts circuit, and for Daniel Stoddart, this has led to a coveted role in Stooged Theatre’s controversial production of The Pillowman.

As an established Novocastrian performer, and director of the Hunter Region Drama School, Daniel knows about both the struggles and rewards of succeeding in the world of theatre.

Daniel agrees that Newcastle theatre scene is expanding, and believes that local theatre companies such as Stooged play a major role in this transformation.

As he told AussieTheatre: “I think the local scene is expanding rapidly through a strong surge in education opportunities for young thespians and would-be actors. There is also the new wave of artists trying new work and testing bold boundaries. All of this is drawing a fresh new audience to the theatre and creating a brand new interest in the allure of live theatre.”

[pull_left]I think the local scene is expanding rapidly through a strong surge in education opportunities for young thespians[/pull_left]

As a father himself, Daniel is passionate about developing professional learning opportunities for children. In his role as director of the Hunter Region Drama School he ensures that activities and workshops are taught in the most positive and imaginative way possible. He is also the creator of “The Drama of Bullying” program; an incredibly innovative drama concept that he has introduced into local primary schools. The program explores bullying and the ways that children can combat the issue. The positive impacts of this program have been felt by both students and teachers alike and according to Daniel: “Students were talking about it at school, bullies were playing the bullied, and the victims were playing the bullies, in simple character play, all in a risk free environment.”

Another fantastic thing about “The Drama of Bullying” program is that it includes children who may not usually have a chance to participate in drama classes; it gives them an opportunity to discover the world of performance and theatre in a positive environment. Programs such as Daniel’s are enabling a new generation of performers to take charge of Australian stages, and supporting and inspiring them along the way.

Directed by Mat Lee, The Pillowman tells the disturbing story of Katurian; a fiction writer who is interrogated for his short stories and their similarities to shocking child murders that are happening in his town. Daniel’s role as Katurian’s brother Michal, a brain-damaged and disturbed man, is a challenging role, but when asked how he manages fatherhood and his numerous projects and roles, Daniel simply attributes it to great time management and the help of his wife, Hayley.

“I’m lucky to have a very supportive wife who helps me learn my lines while she is cooking dinner. Ha!”

See for information on Stooged’s current and upcoming productions in Newcastle.

See for more information on Daniel’s classes for young people and “The Drama of Bullying” program.

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