When I first established Company of Rogues in 2015 it was a platform for myself as a director in Sydney after relocating from Melbourne and a hiatus of a number of years during a period of ill health. I hoped that I could build something that would be sustainable and lasting for myself and those involved. As an Artist with a Disability I knew there was no way I could do this without substantial support and help, and I searched for 2 years for a core collaborator. When Robbi James joined me as a partner in crime in 2017 these dreams started to become a reality.
Unfortunately the strains of running, what is currently an unfunded, profit-share collective still striving for full financial viability, has become too much for me while also trying to support myself financially and maintain my artistic practice.
Since Robbi joined Company of Rogues we have achieved career milestones which had previously seemed unattainable to me, such as touring our production of Morgan Stern both nationally and internationally and obtaining funding grants for a creative project. It is a remarkable thing to seed an idea and have others join you with as much passion and commitment you yourself have. I am incredibly grateful to Robbi, and now Erica Lovell and to the too many to name here performers and other creatives with whom I have made joyous, risky, challenging and inspiring theatre under the auspice of Company of Rogues.
Over the years I have continually wrestled with what is means to be an Artist with a Disability in an industry that demands far too much even of its “able bodied” and “able minded” workers and to sustain an artistic career that will accommodate and not undermine my health. For now, I’m taking things slowly, putting in place supports that will help sustain me long term. I’m enjoying settling into married life and taking time to focus on my health.
Over the coming years I plan to keep developing myself as a director, with a strong focus on Opera. In August I’ll be directing Last Night of the Proms for the Willoughby Symphony orchestra as part of Pacific Opera’s emerging artist program. I will continue my work as a Teaching Artist with high schools and the broader community, and I hope to start working with tertiary institutions and professional performers.
Artistic Director and Founder, Company of Rogues