First staged in 1986, The Melbourne International Arts Festival (as it is now known) has become synonymous with thought provoking, creative and unique theatrical events presented over the month of October.  A body that seeks to connect art forms, people and ideas, the MIAF curate unique experiences that bring people together and break new ground in culture and the arts.

One of those unique and ground breaking experiences is, The End of Eddy – a desperate, and in many ways brutal, true account of a young gay man’s familial and social hardships growing up under the proliferation of bullying, homophobia and misogyny.

Directed by Tony Award winning Scottish director, Stewart Laing, The End of Eddy opened to rave reviews in the UK last year and is a MIAF show not to be missed.

Read on to spend 5 minutes with director Stewart Laing.

 How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it? 

The End of Eddy is a story of a young boy growing up gay in an extremely poor, rural area in the north of France in the early 21st century; he comes to terms with his sexuality in a community that values ultra-masculinity and hard-right politics.

 What/Who was its inspiration?

 The End of Eddy is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by the young French author Èdouard Louis.  Èdouard and his life story and his politics are very much the inspiration for our show.

 What do you think its best quality is? 

 The book explores Eddy’s life from the age of 10 to 15 years old and we specifically made the stage adaptation for a teenage audience.

 Why should people see it? 

Èdouard Louis is a great storyteller and he is very funny to boot. While Èdouard’s book is particular to the social and political context he grew up in I think the story is relatable-to for a more general audience: many of us reject the value systems of our parents, it’s part of growing up.

 If there is one thing you would like to say to an audience, what is it? 

Try something different.

 Who or what has been the greatest influence on your career? 

 Gordon Matta-Clark, Gisèle Vienne, Hedi Slimane, Bert Naumann, Claire Denis.

Who makes you want to create and direct and perform?

The writers and artists and performers and technicians I collaborate with.

 When did it become clear to you that the performing arts and entertainment were your passions? 

I was taken on a school trip to the theatre in Glasgow, which is the nearest city to where I grew up in Scotland. It blew my teenage brains. I started to go back regularly with my brother and then on my own. I started to work in the same theatre in the design department when I left school aged 16.

 What does performance, creation and entertainment mean to you? 

 Entertain means ‘hold together’ – holding the individual members of an audience together is what I’m hoping to achieve.

 What are 3 words that describe you? 

 Addicted to television.

 What are 3 things that would surprise people to learn about you?

I gave up smoking for 13 years then started again.

I do the garden. I love watching flowers grow.

I appear as an extra in Joe Wright’s movie Pride and Prejudice.

 What is next for you?

 Directing a Shakespeare play and adapting two Fassbinder movies for the theatre.

 The End of Eddy

October 16 – 20