Arts Focus: Telia Nevile

16 October 2015 | 5:00 pm | Artist Submission

"I distinctly remember feeling at points like the whole world was mine for the taking, and at other points like I was a fraud that would be discovered at any second."

What got you into writing, performing and taking photos all at the same time? I've wanted to be an actor ever since I can remember - I sent a letter to NIDA when I was about 12 and got a very nice letter back saying that I was a bit young and should wait until I'm older. The writing thing grew out of this need to be on stage when I hit a quiet patch one year. In a gap between productions and in frustration over always being typecast as the 'angry' girl, I decided to write a piece for myself and have been writing for performance ever since. The poetry (outside of the woeful teenage outpourings that everyone is guilty of) began with the birth of my alter ego - Poet Laureate Telia Nevile. I needed to make a piece for a fundraiser and it needed to be funny, but I couldn't learn to tap dance in time, so I fell back on something I can do well - put words together. I diverted from 'acting' to 'performing' around the same time - moving from working with scripts in a straight theatre setting to work in more hybrid ways and ploughing a lot of myself into what I do.

I've also always been an obsessive photographer - I bought my first camera from a chemist at the Woden Shopping Centre sometime in Grade 2 or 3. Since then I have amassed a huge collection of negatives, slides and photos, both my own and other people's (I buy vintage slide lots off eBay when I can). I've grown to passionately love photography's ability to preserve, change and create memories and this is what I focused on when I was at art school. My photography work right now all centres around creating fake memories of things I wish had happened: exploring old ruins during the 1940s, falling in cinematic love with heroes from the covers of Mills & Boon novels, living alternate lives in other countries.

All three pursuits help me to understand and interact with the world. I'm a real introvert and all three outlets help me to express myself and how beautiful and unfathomable I find the world.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Photography-wise: Anton Corbijn and Nan Goldin. Writing-wise: Roland Barthes, W H Auden and Dorothy Parker.

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What was your college life like back in 1999? Hectic - I worked a shift job starting at 3.30 in the morning; I lived a half hour drive away from Uni and I ran the theatre society for the last two years of my three-year degree. Life was invigorating and full of promise and possibility. I distinctly remember feeling at points like the whole world was mine for the taking, and at other points like I was a fraud that would be discovered at any second. On the whole it was amazing.

Can you tell me your favourite thing about your comedy character, Poet Laureate Telia Nevile? She lets me say the most awful, inappropriate yet true things that pop up in the back of my mind but that social conditioning prevents me from saying as myself. 

Can you rollerskate, interpretive dance and read poems all at the same time? least not without breaking more of my teeth. I can read poems and interpretive dance at the same time but when I'm roller-skating my ability to multitask is severely diminished. At a pinch I could rollerskate and do some very average interpretive dancing or recite something in a semi-expressive voice, but I can't guarantee it would all go to plan or that bystanders would be safe.

Are you excited about performing at the Love Street Music Festival? Yep! Performing at music festivals is fabulous - the atmosphere is incredible and inspiring, it's lovely to cross the streams of theatrical performance and live music, and it's a great opportunity to live out my teenage fantasies of being a rockstar.

What can we expect from you at the Festival? If space permits, I'd love to do my brand new interpretive dance piece My Penis Is A Lighthouse. It's my new favourite piece to perform and has had great crowd responses so far!

When & where is Love Street Music Festival? 25 Oct, Howler