Backstage

Artist Profile – Liam Maguire (Associate Artists)

Introduce yourself!

Hey! I’m Liam Maguire and I’m a playwright, director, performer and all round theatre fan.

Tell us about your artistic origins

I grew up with three older siblings who perpetually excluded me from their lounge-room theatre because I could never stick to a script. I think that resentment really drove me to want to make it as a professional and I found myself acting in a few kids TV shows in high school. This lead me to studying Acting full time at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts after graduating high school. This really formed the basis of my theatre education and lead me to working as a performer in the industry before my passion for playwriting took over and I applied for VCA’s Masters of Writing for Performance program. Fortunately I’m proud to announce my attempt to prove my creative worth to my older siblings no longer drives me and in fact my brother’s composed the music for all my plays.

Tell us about your practice

I write plays and direct them. I write plays that grapple with the questions I have as a young person inheriting this planet. I think it’s really important to keep people entertained while you challenge their perspectives and as a result my writing tends to utilise humour and I normally describe my plays as black-comedies or satires. I’m really inspired by performers so I consider my plays to be very actor-centric with a lot of bold characters that I think they can sink their teeth into. Then as a director, I work with the whole team to bring together something I hope is refreshing, engaging, and original whilst hopefully asking some big questions.

What have you gained from the Associate Artists program?

I’ve had a blast doing this program. Particularly in iso, it’s one of the only things that’s actually kept me tethered to the theatre industry. It’s been really inspiring being able to hear from different practitioners about the ins and outs of their theatre making but perhaps more importantly for me, the journey they’ve been on to get to where they are. Having different tasks through out this time to get detailed feedback and support with has been really fruitful in the development of new skillsets and creative ventures.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been spending the last few months of iso writing a new black-comedy that’s very much inspired by the world we’ve found ourselves in. Though not in a naturalistic sense. In fact it’s not set in Australia or even in this era which I think ironically allows me more freedom to directly explore the questions I have of Australia today. I also sat on the edge of my bed one sunny iso afternoon and asked myself exactly what kind of play I’d like to see when I can finally see one again. The answer for me was a few key factors… I wanted escapism, a large ensemble, a clear narrative in a world that’s so confusing, humour and relief from what we’ve been through, opening up a discussion of what comes next for and finally, entertainment that’s as good as everything I’ve been streaming at home. …So hopefully I’m managing to pack that much into it, but you’ll have to see it one day and tell me if I succeeded.

What have you been up to during lockdown? 
A lot of the same things. Writing a lot. Walking along Merri and Edgar’s Creek a lot. Listening to a lot of podcasts. Watching a lot of films and series… I’m trying to give myself a film education during this enforced theatre break. Lots of calling and face-timing to punctuate the meditations on my existence and mortality.

What are you aspiring towards? 
I’m aspiring towards a sustainable career in the arts. I really love to write dialogue. And I really love to direct it. It’s dawned on me recently that I’d like to stretch into film and TV to work alongside my theatre-making not only because it feels more sustainable, but because I love it and really enjoy the variety of mediums. I’m aspiring to have a life filled with crafting life-affirming, inspiring, challenging stories that influence our culture for the better.

 


 

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