Hey, my name is Amy May Nunn, and I’m a Melbourne based poet, playwright, director and sometimes performer, originally from the UK. I’m also the artistic director of my company Dirty Pennies Theatre Project.
Tell us about your artistic origins
Growing up severely dyslexic meant that I couldn’t really access the written word until I was significantly older than most, so I had to cultivate a privately inventive relationship with language out of necessity. I had one of those amazing teachers who went out of their way for me, introduced me to different forms of poetry and helped me find freedom in language. I had my adolescence as a writer with some of Melbourne’s incredible literary journals and that lit a big fire under my arse. I wanted the language to do more than exist on the page, so it felt very natural to perform my work and theatre followed as a natural pathway. Training as an actor also really expanded my creative scope and understanding of writing for performance.
Tell us about your practice
I’ve been writing plays for about four years whilst also directing, performing and maintaining my spoken word practice. I co-founded my theatre company in 2016, with the primary ambition of fostering new queer and female identifying voices. I’m passionate about finding and telling stories that represent women in unexpected and complex ways, that frighten me or dwell in the grey areas of daily life. Thematically I’m pretty eclectic, but I like finding the epic or existential in the mundane and I’m not afraid of sentiment, which I think female creatives in particular are encouraged to avoid. I want to always have an emotional relationship to my imagination, so I try to create worlds that I’m obsessively in love with, and then hope that spills over.
What have you gained from the Associate Artists program?
I’ve learnt an incredible amount this year through continuous exposure to massively cool, talented and interesting people, both guest artists and other associates. It’s been thrilling getting to know their different philosophies and approaches to craft. Being in a dynamic creative environment is inevitably expansive, but we’ve also had this rigorous practical training in how to support ourselves and bring our work into the world effectively. Invaluable.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing and directing a new outdoor work that my company is developing for the 2021 Gasworks park event commission. It’s set in a world where humans have fled to another planet leaving Earth to be re-claimed by nature. The few remaining people gather every eight years for this uncanny ritual of sending signals into space, in the hopes that the rest of humanity will hear them and return. We’re collaborating with two incredible designers, a sculpture artist and sound designer, to create a work that melds ecofeminist themes, storytelling, installation and song. It’s the first borderline sci-fi work I’ve written so it’s a brilliant imaginative challenge.
What have you been up to during lockdown?
Cooking! Badly. Whilst listening to Esther Perel’s podcast and being gently lulled by her voice.
What are you aspiring towards?
Short term, I feel ready to be put through my paces, so I’m seeking experiences that will turn the heat up on my craft. Part of that is deepening my creative relationships and being in situations that intimidate me, in a healthy way. Long-term, I’m looking forward to spending more time back in the UK and making some theatre there.
For more about Amy and Dirty Pennies Theatre Project, check out their website here: www.dirtypenniestheatreproject.com
📷 by Jack Dixon-Gunn