In our final instalment of our 2014 Griffin Studio profiles, we meet director Luke Rogers and hear about his passion for new writing and the many theatrical hats he has worn thus far.
Where do you come from?
I live in Sydney, but grew up in the Illawarra. I was determined that my career was always going to be in music, but after I joined a local theatre company my artistic pursuits changed somewhat and I spent a few years there doing as much as theatre as I could. Following a year at the University of Wollongong, I was accepted into Theatre Nepean (a wonderful drama school part of UWS which sadly no longer exists, but produced some epic talent) and spent three years studying acting. Since then I’ve worked as an actor, director and independent theatre producer, spent time working in box offices and theatre administration, and lived in London for a couple of years. I was the manager of New Theatre in Newtown for 5 years and am currently the artistic director of Stories Like These. In 2012, I went back to study to do the directing course at NIDA and have since been directing around the independent theatre scene and teaching at drama schools.
What do you do and why?
I’m a bit of a theatrical ‘slashy’ as I’ve worn multiple work hats in the theatre, but first and foremost I am a director.
My passion lies in new works, both Australian and international texts, and I’m a director that celebrates new writing and loves working with playwrights. I look forward to spending the next year exploring many different forms of collaboration with artists to create new performance works. I want to build new stories for our stage. New plays are essential to our culture; they speak to the here-and-now of our society and go on to become historical artefacts of our time. I am drawn to work that explores the complexity of relationships within every act of love or hate, compassion or cruelty. I find there is beauty in heartache and joy to be found within the darkest of stories.
Waiting for Godot – New Theatre (2010) Photo: Bob Seary
I look to direct works that embrace life in all its turmoil, exploring the political through the personal in order to stimulate positive change, and inspire audiences to discover more about each other and the society in which we live.
My past work includes Fireface, The Pillowman, Play House, The Last Five Years, Waiting For Godot, Don Juan in Soho, The Carnivores, After The End, Art is a Weapon and Blasted. I’ve also worked for various drama schools around town, directing productions of Embers, Shoot / Get Treasure / Repeat, 4.48 Psychosis and Eyes To The Floor. I was also the assistant director on the Australian tour of Steel Magnolias and Griffin’s production of The Boys.
Fireface – Stories Like These (2013) Photo Phyllis Wong
What are you most looking forward to, and what are you hoping to achieve during your year as a Griffin Studio artist?
During my time with Griffin Studio, I look forward to working and collaborating with a range of artists from around the country on new projects, in particular with the other fabulous resident Studio Artists. I feel very grateful and humbled to be in their company and can’t wait to see what artistic mischief we get up to together. I’m looking forward to contributing to the assessment process for the Griffin Award and strengthening my own dramaturgical skills throughout the year so I can assist playwrights with the development of their own works. I’ll also be assisting Lee on Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography and can’t wait to get in the rehearsal room. Ultimately, I’m going to be using my year with Griffin Studio to create exciting new working relationships with artists, challenging my own artistic and directorial practices, take greater risks, discuss and debate ideas surrounding the work that we make, inspire our audiences even further and hopefully make a valuable contribution to the wonderful work Griffin that does.
Stories Like These and Griffin Independent present Music as part of the Griffin Independent season from 2-26 April,