Brett Sheehy – The new man.


Simon Phillips passes the Artistic-Directorial baton to Brett Sheehy with ‘don’t fkuc it up’ note firmly attached. This is probably one of a few photos that won’t fill up the length of this page but I suspect that he’ll do just fine stepping in and taking the company (and the state of theatre in Melbourne) right through to the next decade. MTC announced Sheehy’s appointment mid this year, after months of theatre cats keeling over with curiosity.

People are feeling confident, yet uncomfortable, after the very mixed reviews of this year’s Melbourne Festival. With themes of ‘coming together’ and ‘politics and revolution,’ it certainly presented a very timely and critical forum, though received a few negative responses despite breaking box office income records.

AES+F’s Angels, Demons. Parade’s creepy supersized Asian/African/Indian faced babies lining St Kilda road seemed sparse and unconnected, but the potency of the piece was inadvertently activated when Occupy Melbourne decided to occupy the space in City Square which contained one of the sculptures. Watching over the protesters, announcing the future charged with tumult and hope, these babies (this one is a demon one) almost serve as religious icons called upon to set right the turbulent economic environment at the moment. (Refer Alison Croggon’s notes.) Sheehy’s new role on the future of Melbourne theatre: A coincidence much?

On the other end of the scale, events like Site Unseen left critics like John Bailey and Cameron Woodhead violently questioning Sheehy’s choices. If the commonly used theatre phrase ‘you’re only as good as your last show’ holds true, then where does that leave him?

Brett seemed a bit skittish that night, and one in his shoes would. It’s a bit daunting, almost like when Julia Roberts stepped into Susan Sarandon’s role in Stepmom. When I spoke to him last night, and when I interviewed him on Joy 94.9’s The Artelier Sessions last year, he was charming, and genuine, and from that, I think we can expect unequivocal and great things.

Sunnies to shelter his eyes from a future oh-so-bright? Well, I’m certainly putting my metaphoric pair on. The grey shirt? Pretty drab. The token blue-and-red ribbon on the sleeves? Well, it’s good enough.  If anyone can almost stick to a theme, Brett Sheehy certainly excels in it.

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