GETTING TO KNOW SALLY MARETT

Sally Marett has over 20 years experience in the performing arts industry as an actor, singer and songwriter. Her skills set ranges includes vocal techniques, movement and text studies for theatre. She was a regular full time cast member for two years on the Australian television drama Home and Away. In 2018 she launched her pop project Marét to rave reviews and prominent achievements such as commercial radio play and videoclip plays on RAGE (ABCTV). She has just released her new single Envy, the first song off her upcoming EP EP02.

THE STREET TALKED TO SALLY ABOUT ITS EARLY PHASE PROGRAM TAKING IDEA TO CONCEPT ALL WITHIN THE COMPANY CONTEXT OF THE STREET.

TELL US ABOUT THE IDEAS YOU ARE PURSUING WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE STREET?

What does it mean to be a pop artist in today’s times? What is the journey between the artist and the alter-ego/performer? How do we surrender in our lives to our true calling and fight the demons that can so easily derail us? I want to investigate these themes and more through the story of Marét, my pop artist alter-ego. I’m interested in transforming the experience of a ‘behind the scene’s’ delve into an artist’s process, from what is often a screen experience (usually offered as a music documentary) into a real life theatre experience that captures the magic of musical performance alongside story-telling, personal anecdotes, behind the scene’s footage, the exploration of a song idea into the finished performance, the emotional journey of the artist and all the elements that comprise the creation and release of art. Essentially this would be an exposé of what it’s really like as a pop act in contemporary Australian times, dealing with a changing industry, the internet and streaming, age, popularity, vulnerability and surrender. On a wider scale, I want to connect with the audience through greater themes of courage, faith, fear and joy.

WHY NOW?

I’m at a point in my career and my life where I’m wanting to bring all my skills together to create a piece that really explores the big themes of humanity. I feel I now have something to say, I have a story, and I want to connect with people through the sharing of it. I hope this piece ultimately starts conversations and moves people to positive action in their own lives.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THEMES, CONCERNS AND EXPERIENCES YOU ARE DRAWING ON TO DEVELOP YOUR CONCEPT?

I’m definitely drawing on my experience of being in the arts for over 30 years and the roller coaster ride it has been. Many highs and many lows! It can be a very challenging industry and it can be an immensely rewarding industry. Exploring this vocation and the way that creativity is so essential to my life and all our lives, will I’m hoping open up some really interesting ideas for us to explore. I think that creativity is in the hearts of all of us. How does it change and morph in our lives as the many other components of life all struggle for attention?

WHAT PROCESSES ARE YOU USING AND WHO ARE YOUR COLLABORATORS?

I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with novelist and playwright Nigel Featherstone on this project. In a sense this piece is revealing itself as we go along in how it wants to be created. I know we’ll definitely be doing collaborative songwriting, improvisation, discussion, basically deep diving into all the themes and all the ways we can possibly tell this story.

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE DISCOVERIES FROM CONVERSATIONS WITH PEERS ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS, FROM AUDIENCES TO COMMUNITY TO PROGRAMMING, THAT ARE INFORMING YOUR THINKING?

One of the most wonderful parts of the Early Phase program are the workshops with the other participants. It’s such a rare and unique opportunity to be with other artists, also in the midst of creating, and igniting conversations about what we’re all doing, what we’re discovering and how we’re doing it. I have already been incredibly inspired in these sessions and feel like it has opened up my creative process. It feels as though this year has really changed people’s feelings about art and creation and I think people are wanting to connect with truth and authenticity more and more. That’s going to be my guiding light for the process. And walking through fear. Great things happen when we are courageous in the face of fear! 

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GET OUT OF THE EARLY PHASE PROCESS?

I’m hoping to get a really solid idea of my show and the next steps I need to take to bring it to the stage. There’s always an aspect of self discovery in the process of making art, so I’m always looking forward to what I’m going to uncover about myself and my process, and I’m so excited to be collaborating with Nigel. I’m hoping that working together brings about stories and ideas I have never even considered that most definitely need to be told!

WHAT KIND OF THEATRE DO YOU WANT TO MAKE WITH THE STREET IN A POST-COVID WORLD?

I want to make honest, challenging, joyful, emotive theatre. Work that stays with the audience long after it’s finished. If anything, the landscape post COVID feels ready for deep truth and inspiration, as we’ve been reminded that there’s no time to waste in our commitment to what our lives can truly be. I want meaning and reflection in art. I want to be challenged and excited and amazed. I’m hoping I can create that for others too.

WHAT HAVE BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING DURING COVID-19?

Definitely the biggest challenge has been the lack of live performance opportunities. I’m a musician and an actor and I create work by doing it live in front of audiences, so the removal of those opportunities has been hard. However, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to bring things into the live space, (songwriting, new work creation, rehearsal, recording and releasing music, practice, so much!) so there’s still been lots to do. I feel really grateful to have had some great opportunities this year to continue my arts practice, especially this Early Phase project.

WHAT DO YOU SEE ARE THE POSSIBILITIES OF LIVE-DIGITAL SETTINGS FOR THEATRE WORKS?

To me, art has always pushed boundaries. The live-digital space has been used for a long time, but now it’s coming into the mainstream and I’m excited by what the future holds for it. I think the possibilities are endless. I’m also really happy that we’ve discovered that the live space will always hold so much value over the digital space in really experiencing art viscerally. The connection we receive as a live audience is divine in many ways and I hope, post COVID that this is embraced even more so.

WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU CREATIVELY AT THE MOMENT?

I’m going back and re-listening to classic albums at the moment (everyone from Peter Gabriel to Michael Jackson to the Eurythmics and so many more) to hear great art at it’s finest. The brave and bold artistic statements that incredible artists make constantly inspire me and I’m really actively seeking great art to bolster my inspiration. I’m also reading a lot of novels and the stories are inspiring me.

WHAT ARE YOU READING/WATCHING CURRENTLY? I’m currently reading The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland and I’m absolutely devouring it! I just read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and loved it as well. I think I’m a bit late to the party for both of them but isn’t that the wonderful thing about art, it can be discovered at any time and still hold it’s worth and gift. I’ve just started watching The Quee