Over the next few months, Rebecca ‘Bex’ Grennan will be probing the deepest recesses of the minds of our finest and funniest theatre makers from across the country.
We kick off the series by chatting to Brisbane’s Tim O’Connor, Artistic Director of the Harvest Rain Theatre Company.
O’Connor has been the head of Harvest Rain Theatre Company for many years now and has created some of the most loved local theatre productions of recent years including Hairspray and The Wizard of Oz.
Known for his development of new talent through Harvest Rain’s Internship program, he is as passionate, lovely and down-to-earth as they come. From a young age, O’Connor was involved in theatre and loved everything to do with the stage and of course… acting.
When I asked about his foray into the world of directing he explained it was something he ‘fell into’ when no one else was employing him to be a paid actor.
His first paid gig as a director was in fact with the Harvest Rain Theatre Company. When no one else was putting his or her hand up to take the reigns on the community play, he stepped up. He tells me how he has made some interesting discoveries along the way…
Discovery 1: You need balls to take the lead as a director.
“I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing for about five or six years”, he said.
It seems if you’re interested in putting on the director hat you need a certain ‘bossy’ trait in your personality.
Discovery 2: If you enjoy being bossy- you’d probably find it easy to step into the director’s role.
That said, he also mentioned the importance of knowing how to get the best out of his actors as a factor, which has contributed, to his success.
“Sometimes working with actors, they have their own needs and I need to manage that. I also need to be a representative of the audience, and do the right thing for the show, which sometimes means actors are cut out of scenes, left of stage or similar…”
Discovery 3: Come from an audience frame of mind when creating the theatre piece.
Another interesting point in our chat was when I uncovered the planning portion of what being a director involves.
“Sometimes a whole season takes 6 months to plan and by the time it’s launched and rehearsals start I’m often reminding myself… ‘that’s right, for me this has been six months preparation but for the majority of people involved this is just the beginning’.”
“Usually I need to take a quick rest and get ready for round two.”
Tim O’Connor is the artistic director of Harvest Rain Theatre Company and they have just launched their Australian Master class Series beginning January 2013.
Details about the exciting workshop series, which will feature guest appearances from the biggest names in the Australian theatre industry including John Frost, Kelly Abbey, Lisa McCune and Nancye Hayes can be found here: