The Griffs are jumping with joy because we’ve got a brand new Executive Director helming our little theatre company up on Nimrod Street. Joining Griffin is the wonderful Julieanne Campbell, who brings with her a wealth of experience and buckets of enthusiasm heading into what will be an excellent new era for Australia’s premier new work theatre company. Get to know Julieanne a little more by reading five quick questions we asked her ahead of her official first day!
Welcome to Griffin, Julieanne! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for Australian theatre.
I grew up on the outskirts of Canberra with my three siblings and we mostly made our own fun. My love of theatre started early. I remember seeing Death Defying Theatre in high school and excitedly writing about it in my diary that night. I studied theatre at uni (along with journalism) and after a stint living in Indonesia, my orientation to culturally diverse practice and Australian companies working in that space intensified. I love our quirkiness, our vernacular, our grit and when you see that on stage, it’s magic.
In your opinion, why is seeing Australian stories on stage so important?
To understand ourselves we need to know ourselves. Australia is so diverse and multifaceted. There are old stories and there are new stories. It is so important that we share those stories and hear them collectively. Just last week, a Griffin Board member was commenting on the currency of Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie and what’s been in the news the past few weeks in relation to Brittany Higgins. The best thing art can do is to hold a mirror and it’s up to us to hold that gaze.
What are some of your favourite Griffin productions from over the years?
There’s been so many over the years, but some really stand out… Angela’s Kitchen, Holding the Man, Silent Disco. There’s something special about the intimacy of the Griffin stage that makes you feel like you enter these stories and live and breathe them. But Green Park also achieves that sitting in a park. It’s really about the power of story and what resonates.
What’s something that someone might not know about you?
I can catch snakes.
What are you most excited for as you start your new role as Griffin’s Executive Director?
I’m excited to be returning to the arts, and I’m particularly excited to be working with Declan, the wider community of artists connected to Griffin and the very talented team and Board that make it happen. There’s so much in this year’s program to look forward to, and I’ve had a glimpse of what’s in the pipeline and there’s even more good stuff to come. But mostly, I’m excited to be back in the theatre, connecting with audiences and supporters and seeing on stage some of the best writing this country produces.