My name is Koraly Dimitriadis and I am a Cypriot-Australian writer, poet and actor.
Tell us about your artistic origins
I was writing stories and poetry from a young age, and had an interest in acting, but being from a migrant working-class background, studying art at university was not an option. I instead graduated from Monash University in Accounting and Computing. I got married very young, but it was only years later that I started writing again, in secret. It was the beginnings of my debut fiction manuscript, Divided Island. I went to one of Christos Tsiolkas’s talks after reading Loaded and confessed to him that I was writing in secret. He asked me to send him a few pages. Then a few months later he asked for the whole book. He met me for a coffee and offered to mentor me. I couldn’t believe it. He suggested studying writing so I applied to RMIT and got in. Not long after I exploded out of my marriage, culture and religion in poetry. My life was never really the same again.
Tell us about your practice
Much of my writing has to do with cultural and religious repression. I like to experiment with the different ways poetry can be presented, and how film/theatre and the body can be a means of poetic expression. I make films of my poems and my two poetry books form the basis of my theatre show “I say the wrong things all the time” that premiered at La Mama Courthouse Theatre. I am also a columnist and my articles have been published across the Australian media with international publications in The Washington Post. I have been steadily working on Divided Island for many years and received the UNESCO City of Literature residency (Krakow), A Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, a Moreland writers residency, and a Chantilly artist residency, for the project. I am currently searching to find a home for it.
What have you gained from the Associate Artists program?
I was never really afforded an education in theatre, so the program has been a real learning experience, and Theatre Works really have opened their doors to us. I feel supported and encouraged by the program, and I have had the opportunity to attend intimate talks with very experienced theatre practitioners who have been very open with their knowledge.
What are you working on right now?
I have just started a new online festival called “No I am not washing your dirty plate arts festival” which aims to bring together artists and thinkers, with a focus on the Cypriot, Greek, Italian and other non-Anglo European female and non-binary diaspora, and their supporters and allies. I am very passionate about breaking down patriarchal walls in my culture and amplifying voices that are not being heard. I am also busy making films of my poems thanks to a Creative Victoria grant, and I’ve released two films, “Most of Melbourne is depressed” and “It’s more than a game now” (about the footy). I was also fortunate in receiving a Darebin Speakeasy grant to work with director Stephen Nicolazzo to create a new theatre piece with my poetry.
What have you been up to during lockdown?
Going for lots of walks, gardening, reading a lot more.
What are you aspiring towards?
Connecting with as many people as I can through my artwork, particularly those who have suffered any kind of repression.
Photo by Kaliopi Malamas