September 09, 2021

Infocus, Rose Myers

By Kevin Mowles
Infocus, Rose Myers

Film and theatre maker Rose Myers talks to us about making work for young audiences, her love of mid-century architecture, the 1970s design aesthetic and inadvertently becoming a real estate finder

“I moved to Adelaide in 2008 to take up the position of Artistic Director of Windmill Theatre Company. We make work for really young audiences all the way through to teenagers but most of my work has been about teenagers and rites of passage stories.

“I think young audiences are very liberating for an artist because they have less preconceived ideas about what theatre is or should be. Rights of passage stories are innately fascinating. It’s an interesting time of life when you start to form and your sense of identity changes. You’ve been defined by your family and then suddenly find yourself having to fit into this bigger world order and fit in as an individual. Whole notions of identity are tied up in that time of life.

Girl Asleep” [Myers 2015 film], is definitely in that mode, with a bit of fairy tale thrown in. It’s like Sleeping Beauty meets teenage girl’s rite of passage. I think anyone who’s been a teenager relates to this kind of story.

I wanted to set the film in the 1970s so we put a call out on radio and in the papers that we were looking for modernist – or Brady Bunch-style houses – to shoot a film in."

“We received a torrent of offers, which meant that I spent the next 10 weeks traipsing through people’s houses. I saw a huge range of houses – from sensitively renovated places owned by upwardly mobile young art director types to places that were really lived in and kind of run down. There was something naïve and hopeful about all of them though and because I grew up in the 70s it felt very familiar to me.

“I love of mid century design. Adelaide has this plethora of mid century architecture that you can still afford to purchase in amazing locations 15 minutes out of the city. I think the principals of mid century design informs all architecture since in a way and you can particularly see it in the 1970s homes – the beautiful connection to the outdoors, all the windows and the open plan living areas. There’s an energy and an optimism to them, a desire to be more connected and to share things. I live in a townhouse that was built in the 70s and the use of space is really quite beautiful.

“The house we used in the film was in Panorama, a suburb south of Adelaide, and it became like a separate character. It was all original, right down to the barstools. A doctor had originally designed and built it and then this couple Stan and Moira had bought it and kept it intact. Just before we started shooting they decided to sell the house. It was lucky that they were very particular about who bought it – they didn’t want to sell it to anyone who wasn’t going to keep it in its original state – so it didn’t sell quickly and I was able to shoot the film in the house afterall. And then I told some friends who I knew were looking to buy a house like this one and they bought it. I still remind them that they owe me a search fee.”