House Lights Up

House Lights Up

Honest conversations with professional performing arts workers about the challenges of forging a career in the arts, and strategies for overcoming them. House Lights Up has been produced with the insights, expertise, experience and generous contributions of Greta Bradman, Chris Cheers, Cristina D’Agostino, Monica Davidson, Rachel Dunham, Gabriel Edwards, Susan Eldridge, Matt Heyward, Luke Hunter, Zoe Knighton, Ian Peel, Rob Tremlett (AKA Mantra), Anne Wood and Deone Zanotto. Presented by the Arts Wellbeing Collective - an Arts Centre Melbourne initiative dedicated to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.


October 10, 2019 21 mins

"Auditions are awful because they’re foreign. They’re not a performance... You’re outnumbered, you’re outgunned. You’ve just got to hold your head up high and do the work and hope for the best..."

Musical theatre actors Rachel Dunham and Matt Heyward share some of their audition experiences, while music director Luke Hunter gives us the perspective of those sitting on the selection panel. We consider different wa...

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In a perfect world, a performer is able to focus their mind on command, reliably and predictably, to the benefit of their work. In the real world, the mind can have other plans. It wanders, plays tricks on its owner. It can take control of the body in that crippling affliction, performance anxiety. In this episode, we consider these common experiences and ways in which they can be addressed.

Hip hop artist Rob Tremlett, ce...

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October 12, 2019 42 mins

In this episode we consider some of the features of a career as a performer, as well as features of the industry in general, that make entertainment and performing arts workers a particularly vulnerable population when it comes to mental health and wellbeing challenges.

"Artists create from the heart. When you create a piece of art, when you perform your craft, you're putting yourself out there to an audience wh...

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October 13, 2019 35 mins

Judgement is something all performing artists must learn to navigate. And how a performer approaches judgement and criticism can have a lot to do with their ideas about validation and their individual definition of success. 

As social creatures with the need for approval and acceptance wired into our brains, the promise of external validation looms large in the minds of many. In this episode, we consider the dangers of thi...

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October 14, 2019 26 mins

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m a perfectionist”. It’s usually declared with pride – as a measure of how much that person cares about their work, and the level of quality to which they hold themselves. 

But say you hold the view, as many people do, that perfection is impossible. Perfection doesn’t exist. Does that mean the pursuit of perfection is pointless? Or worse, that it’s dangerous? 

Cellist ...

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October 15, 2019 31 mins

From the audience, to fellow performers, backstage colleagues, creators and the work itself, the performer's duty extends across and beyond the stage. In this episode we explore the purpose of the performer's role, including some of the key relationships that feed into their work. 

Our performing arts professionals share their insight and experiences. 

Musical theatre actor Matt Heyward and cellist Zoe K...

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September 16, 2020 35 mins

Avoiding the Judy Garland Syndrome

“This will always be a path that requires you to hold yourself to account... That is one of the hardest things that you'll have to do, and it might take you the rest of your life to learn how to do it well… but I think that is the measure of the people who make it and the people who don't.” (Monica Davidson) 

In this episode of House Lights Up, we consider the role of insight in ...

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September 17, 2020 31 mins

Putting Down the Feather Duster

“Working in the performing arts, every job we do is different to the last one. So whether we know it or not were accruing all of these different skills and this really wonderful level of responsivity to anything that's thrown our way... We're constantly developing our ability to respond to new things, which makes us infinitely employable.” (Anne Wood) 

In this episode of House Light...

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September 18, 2020 27 mins

An Unprecedented Pivot

“If we can stay calm and kind and loving to each other and our community, things are going to be okay. The work we do is needed, it has value and we've got to remain committed… If we haven't got skin in the game, we won't get the work when the work comes back.” (Susan Eldridge)

The Australian government’s mid-March ban on non-essential public gatherings effectively cancelled the live pe...

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September 19, 2020 37 mins

Breaking it to Make it Work

“I think there's such a big shift for women after they've had children – coming back to their identity, and realising who they are, and knowing your own value as a human. You're not just a feeding machine, you can do so much more… The best thing that I ever did was jump back into the work pool.” (Deone Zanotto)

In this episode of House Lights Up, our arts workers describe how they ...

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September 20, 2020 39 mins


“A really easy trap to fall into is if your entire world just exists within this bubble of being a performer. If you are getting this form of therapy or this form of validation or this form of security from your expression as an artist...  At the end of the day, it might be a reflection of who you are, but it's not being given to the person you truly are because these people don't know who you are....

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September 21, 2020 45 mins

If You Want Perfection, Rent the Movie

“Sometimes when we talk about stress or anxiety, we talk about it as something we have to try and get rid of. But being stressed or being anxious isn't something you have to get rid of. It's something we can really listen to and give meaning to, to understand what it's trying to communicate to us about ourselves or about our environment. The key is trying to learn stra...

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