I became aware a few months ago of a new crop of doctoral graduates whose names were very familiar to many of us in Queensland as performing artists and creatives.
The reasons for taking on such an enormous, all-consuming project – one that can occupy years of research and writing – is something that each prospective doctoral student mulls over well before signing on the application’s dotted line. In fact, most university graduate schools provide a period in which the candidate has to research the topic, pitch the idea to a panel and go through other academic hoops before the candidacy is approved. It’s a bit like the audition, call-back, second call-back etc., before you get the gig. And then it starts – for many, the longest production period you’ll ever know.
I wanted to chat with three of the most recent theatre doctors: David Morton, Katherine Lyall-Watson, and Andrea Moor all of whom are busy, practising artists. Katherine Lyall-Watson’s latest play MOTHERLAND, a Patrick White finalist opens its season tomorrow night at Metro Arts. Andrea Moor is appearing in QTC’s DESIGN FOR LIVING, and David Morton, the AD of the busy independent company Dead Puppet Society, has just finished a residency with the South African company Handspring (you may know them for their work in WARHORSE) and is also working in NYC. And this is rather typical of their arts practice. Apart from anything else, where did they get the time?
I wanted to get a sense of why they decided to start out on the academic track and how, if it all, it had changed their own artistic practice. Was it a hunger for learning or a more pragmatic desire i.e., to create another career path? One thing is certain; everyone attempting and successfully completing a PhD or a professional doctorate is never the same again!
Here in their own words are their responses.
Congratulations to them all and to all those others out there working away on their own doctoral productions – chookas!