After a difficult selection process, the Melbourne Theatre Company is proud to announce the four talented directors who have been successfully appointed as Assistant Directors throughout the 2011 season.

Halcyon Macleod:  is the Co-Artistic Director and a founding member of My Darling Patricia, a collaborative hybrid arts company in which performance, puppetry, film and sculpture merge to create original performance works. She wrote the original texts for Politely, Savage (2005, 2006, 2007), Night Garden (2009), and Africa (2009),which she also directed. Her other work with the company as writer and researcher includes Mantle, Ted Head, The Bear,  Posts in the Paddock, and Kissing the Mirror. She has been a writer or devisor of performance art or installation works for Hole in the Wall, Arena Theatre, Next Wave Festival, Performance Space and Live Bait Festival. She has received the Fairfax Memorial Award and Malcolm Robertson Award for New Writing (Africa).





Adena Jacobs: previously worked at MTC as Directorial  Attachment on Rock ‘n’ Roll. As a director, her work includes Elektra (Fraught Outfit), The City (Red Stitch Actors Theatre),
1989 (St Martins Youth Arts), 11 Paterson St (Playwriting Australia National Script Workshop), Cleansed (Masters of Theatre Practice Season, VCA), This Is for You (La Mama, nominated for five Green Room Awards), Smashed (Postgraduate Director’s Season, VCA), Sunflower (Short and Sweet Festival), and Emergency Exits (New York International Fringe Festival). She was Co-writer of Senseless (performed by Olivia Crang at fortyfivedownstairs), the Co-maker and Performer of ID (Studio 45, VCA), Assistant Director of Hot Fudge (VCA Company) and Observing Director of the Oresteia (STC). She has a Masters of Theatre Practice (VCA), Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Creation (Directing, VCA) and a Bachelor of Creative Arts, (Honours, University of Melbourne). She was also the 2007 Recipient of the Yvonne Taylor Award for a Female Director





Daniel Clarke:  has directed My Arm (Manilla Street Productions), My Name is Rachel Corrie (fortyfivedownstairs), The Event and After the End (self-produced), All in the Timing (Adelaide Centre for the Arts), Conflict under an Australian Quilt and  Killer Joe (Brink Productions), Journeys Made and Like It Is  (Feast Festival), Excavate, Contaminated Candy, and The Spider Men (Leicester Haymarket), The Evocation of Papa M (As Told by an Idiot) Blackout, Where I Come From, and And Then I Opened the Window (EBYT), The Fat Boy (Nuffield Theatre), Citizenship (National Theatre and UK tour), Little Baby Nothing (The Bush), Waiting and The Seagull (Bakehouse Theatre), First Time Out,  Lucky Dip, Queer Shorts, Beautiful Thing, Think Before You Drink, and Two Lips Indifferent Red (Zip Antics), The Book Show (Splash Theatre Company), Sweet Road (Playbox/STCSA), Atlanta and The Bacchae (Centre for Performing Arts), Curtain Razors (Urban Myth) and Public Performance Troupe (Jumbuck Youth Theatre). Daniel has been the Artistic Director of the Feast Festival in Adelaide, Eastleigh Borough Youth Theatre, Zip Antics theatre Company and D Faces of Youth. He was the Creative Producer and Artistic Associate at Leicester Haymarket Theatre (UK) and Mama Quilla Theatre Company (UK).



Patrick McCarthy: Actor, Director, Playwright and Producer,   Patrick McCarthy is currently the Artistic Director of Mutation Theatre for which he directed The Arrival and Habitat. He wrote A Grave Decision (Emerging Writers Festival), Habitat, The Corpse of Hamlet, and Fluorescent Facade: Howard Arkley and Suburbia (Mutation Theatre).  He also produced Mutation Theatre’s These Are the Isolate, The Arrival, Habitat, Fluorescent Facade: Howard Arkley and Suburbia and Prelude to a Cottage.








The four directors  will have the opportunity to learn about the process of developing a play for a large-scale company from some of the best senior theatre directors in the country. An exciting and thrilling opportunity, no doubt, for these four emerging theatre makers as they  shadow their chosen director in rehearsals, attend weekly production meetings and observe the bump-in of a play to the theatre.

I recently spoke with newly appointed Assistant Director, Adena Jacobs, about her appointment, aspirations, inspirations and future:

Where were you when you received the news that you were successful in your bid to become one of MTC's Assistant Directors throughout 2011 and can you describe the emotion that accompanied that news?

I was in a car driving up to Sydney at the time, and was thrilled to receive the news.

This was a tough gig to win – over 160 applications – what do you feel were the major strengths and assets that, in effect, ensured your entry into the programme?

The four artists selected for this program are quite diverse. It’s hard to say, but I am very grateful for having been chosen.

What does this appointment mean for you on both a professional and personal level?

The possibility to work as an Assistant Director at the MTC this year offers a wonderful opportunity to create new relationships with established artists, expand my directorial skills and gain insight into the workings of a large scale company. On a personal level, I feel excited about the opportunity.

You will be assisting director Peter Evans throughout his rehearsal process this year.  Can you discuss some of the practical 'duties' that you will be performing within this mentorship?

I will be present in all rehearsals and production meetings, and will be mentored by Peter throughout this process. The role of an assistant alters from director to director and my practical duties will depend on the needs of the project.

You are, of course, quite an accomplished director yourself. When, in your life, was the decision made that this was going to be your career path?

When I was a child I used to direct my friends in crazy shows in the playground and make my sister dress up in costumes against her will. The decision to pursue theatre professionally came when I was studying Creative Arts at Melbourne University. I became involved with an amazing community of young artists, many of whom have continued to practise as writers, visual artists, musicians and performance makers. We began to produce our own shows, and somewhere along the line, I decided to find a way of transforming these experiences into a career path and a way of life.

Can you discuss some of the challenges/hurdles that met you along the way?

With all the joy that accompanies making theatre, there is a challenge around every corner, of an artistic, financial or personal variety. For me, there is a crises of confidence which rears its head at some stage during every project. However, once the project is over I tend to forget this has happened and continue on to the next. The major hurdle I tend to face is that of impatience.  Once I feel committed to making a work I want it to happen immediately, which is nearly impossible.

You are a young woman entering a career that was (and still possibly may be) heavily dominated by men. Do you feel your gender a hindrance, advantage or is the gender debate no longer relevant?

I think the gender debate is constantly relevant and that recent public discussions around Australian female directors and playwrights have been integral to the changes that are slowly taking place. It is essential to reflect on the way the predominant culture affects our curatorial choices and the distribution of jobs. On a personal level, the fact of being a woman has not proved to be a hindrance nor an advantage, although I do feel supported by the strong presence of female artists working in Melbourne. More often, being a woman impacts my work in terms of its content. Each piece I direct feels largely personal, and so I am often telling stories with a female subjectivity.

In 2002 you were invited to adapt some of Israeli author, Etgar Keret’s, work for the Israeli Literature Festival. How much does the Jewish culture influence your storytelling?

Since 2002, I have yet to make work with a specifically Jewish focus. The influence of Jewish culture on my own storytelling is perhaps unconscious, and imbedded in my choices of material. Being Jewish I grew up with the rich, metaphoric narratives of the Bible, and my own grandparents’ harrowing stories of surviving the Holocaust. My grandfather was a prolific novelist and poet who was dedicated to finding a language for his own experiences. For me, these influences have been profound, and I’m sure will continue to shape the work I am drawn to in the future.

And finally, what does the future hold for Adena Jacobs?

After assisting at the MTC, I will be directing two staged readings for Red Stitch, as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, and collaborating with Mutation Theatre on a Next Wave project. At the moment, I am also developing work with my company Fraught Outfit for 2012, which I am very excited about.

* The MTC Director Development Program is proudly supported by the Harold Mitchell Foundation.