5 Questions with Anthea Williams


Anthea Williams is the director of Omar Musa‘s upcoming return season of Since Ali Died. She gave us the skinny on the rehearsal process, and what to expect from this powerhouse of a show.

This is Since Ali Died’s second outing. What was your favourite part of the original rehearsal process, and will anything be different this time round?

I loved getting to know and working with Omar. He’s a fabulous artist and a delightful human being. He was new to theatre before the working on this show, but certainly not new to performing and writing, so it was a really interesting collaboration and an exciting chance to get to work with new performance styles on my end.

This show sits between theatre, music, poetry and storytelling. Have there been any challenges in bringing the piece to life?

Structuring the show was an interesting challenge.  There was a lot to fit in, but life is often not as straightforward as one hour in the theatre can demand.

What’s it been like working with Omar?

Creating Since Ali Died was a really unique process that I thoroughly enjoyed. Omar is a brilliant performer, but he’s also used to large stages and concerts.  It’s been exciting to bring out a very intimate and honest performance from him.

This story is incredibly personal. What do you think makes this solo show unmissable for a Sydney Festival audience?

To quote one of his songs, he’s “giving you everything”. Since Ali Died is a work that’s hard to define and impossible to put in a box. It’s part-concert, part-performance, part-poetry and part-storytelling, simply told.  It’s a unique chance to get to know one of our greatest up-and-coming writers, and a deeply moving work.

What’s up next for you after Sydney Festival?

At Sydney Festival in 2017, my show Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin was on in the Spiegeltent. That show has been touring both nationally and internationally pretty much ever since. This January it will be on at the Bread and Circus Festival in Christchurch, before other dates in New Zealand, Australia and the UK throughout the year. Then I’m directing Winyanboga Yurringa for Belvoir’s 2019 season in association with Moogahlin Performing Arts.