GETTING TO KNOW: GIN SAVAGE

Gin is a Canberra-based director and dramaturg with a passion for new Australian work. As director and dramaturg, her credits include Sprout by Jessica Bellamy (Pedro Collective and Tamarama Rock Surfers, published by Playlab Press, Winner of the Rodney Seaborn Award), Wrecking by Dan Giovannoni (Tamarama Rock Surfers) and Pool (no water) by Mark Ravenhill (NIDA). As part of Rock Surfers’ Bondi Feast in 2014, Gin collaborated with writers David Finnigan and Jessica Bellamy on Jack Kerouac’s Rules For Spontaneous Prose; an interactive performance art piece including original animation by Nicholas Woods (Bondi Pavilion Gallery). Gin holds a Graduate Diploma of Dramatic Art in Directing (NIDA) and a BA majoring in Theatre (ANU).
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The Street talked with Gin before the First Seen showing of Hired Mother by Cathy Petocz.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A DIRECTOR?

I was reading plays that really excited me and I realised there was so much potential to help people connect to each other through theatre. I wanted to have a go at exploring different ways to tell stories that would make audiences feel very deeply and passionately.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT AS A DIRECTOR?

I spend a lot of time with the writer, making sure I understand their intention as well as I can. It’s my job to make sure the work we do during a creative development serves the writer’s vision by enhancing, distilling or clarifying ideas that are already alive in the work.

HOW DID YOUR CREATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH WRITER CATHY PETOCZ DEVELOP?

We met in a shop I was working in. It took us about two minutes to decide we wanted to work together. As soon as Cathy described the premise of Hired Mother I was like: ‘YES’! Cathy and I are both passionate feminists and enjoy a bit of magic, so that helps.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT?

We will be focusing on making sure Hired Mother’s characters are whole and consistent and that their journeys unfold with just the right amount of mystery. There is also a particular character whose journey is yet to be resolved and so we want to explore a few different options for her.

WHAT THREE QUESTIONS ARE YOU LOOKING TO ANSWER IN THE WORKSHOP?

Why are you here?

Why do you need her?

What will The Moon do?

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE STREET.

My relationship with The Street Theatre started when I was studying at ANU in 2008. I played Gerture in The Eisteddfod by Lally Katz, directed by Bridget Balodis. Later that year I performed as Board Game Girl in Oceans all Boiled into Sky by David Finnigan. Both shows played such an important role in helping me to develop a passion for new Australian plays. Having lived in Sydney for the past six years, I moved back to Canberra just last year and am so excited to be back at The Street Theatre, working with Cathy and having the opportunity to learn more about dramaturgical process from Peter Matheson.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FIRST SEEN PROGRAM BENEFITS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ORIGINAL WORK FOR THE THEATRE.

There are so many benefits to working with actors when developing a script. Having the words brought to life through the voices and imaginations of actors helps to identify the different directions a script can take as well as any gaps in the characterisation or plot that need to be resolved. It’s like an awesome artist’s studio where everyone is focused on one piece of work and on bringing their own unique set of skills and understanding of the world to the process. I can’t wait to see what comes up after the first read of this play!

The showing and Q and A will be a great way to get a feel for what kind of reactions this work will inspire in people.

WHAT ARE YOUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR DIRECTION OF A NEW WORK?

My approach to directing a new play is the same as my approach to directing any play.

  • Be respectful of the writers intention and approach (do my research)
  • Be creative and bold
  • Be collaborative and open

WHAT KIND OF THEATRE DO YOU WANT TO MAKE?

I want to make theatre that is rich with beautiful imagery and encourages people to look after each other and the world around them.

WHAT IS INSPIRING YOU IN THE PERFORMING ARTS?

I teach drama to children aged 3-7 years and I find their approach to creative expression and story-telling endlessly inspiring.

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