Dulwich Hill local, Michelle St Anne, will celebrate the 15th birthday of her theatre company, The Living Room Theatre, on Sunday December 13th with a Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Gasoline Pony in Marrickville.

by Rebecca Simpson

“We’ll be playing games that make no sense and catching up with old collaborators and all the people who have supported me over the last 15 years,” Michelle said. A very special guest from the upcoming season will also be making an appearance on the day that may not even be human.

In 2000, Michelle, out of frustration of the prevailing scene, created her own theatre company. She had been “sick of playing an Indian and just being seen as Indian” in the industry so she met up with a friend from university, Monica Brian, and they decided to make their own work together. From there Michelle collaborated with other artists and they would rehearse in Michelle’s lounge room. Hence, ‘The Living Room Theatre’ was born. Some of the highlights of her career include opening her epic work ‘I Love Todd Sampson’ at Pier 2/3 and a sabbatical year in 2003 at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Having grown up and lived in Sydney’s inner west, the community has been of importance in Michelle’s artwork. “I see the inner west as a giant mesh-like fabric. That spreads over diverse communities – both ethnically, financially even ethically,” she said. “We are lucky that art is so much part of our culture and is deemed as a necessity rather than a privilege. And that the artists don’t have to fit into a mould, or discipline. I feel blessed that my council supports the breadth of my vision.”

Reflection has been the overarching focus for Michelle’s work. “Whether it is your own life or your own world or your place in the world, this is why I slow down time (which frustrates many) so we can see the details we often miss in life.”

2016 will be another big year for The Living Room Theatre as it’s Michelle’s retrospective year where she’ll re-visit old works and re-contexutalise moments to create a new work. She’ll be reimagining ‘I Love Todd Sampson’ by merging it with it’s the prequel ‘Billie’. Later in the year, she’ll be producing sound work with composers Alister Spence and Lawrence English, which will be performed in a large foyer and then back in Marrickville for a community event. The end of the year sees her back in the studio to begin writing a large-scale work about the complicit nature of paedophilia.

What’s Michelle’s secret to keeping her theatre group going after 15 years. “Stupidity, passion, drive, tenacity and an incessant need to communicate in a way I need to be heard. I couldn’t do what I do without the artists who have worked alongside me and supported my vision. Bless them”

Non-attendance will guarantee the Queen of Hearts will demand ‘off with your head’ (and we know Michelle always gets her way)

Sunday 13 December 2.00pm
Gasoline Pony | 115 Marrickville Rd