Rosemary Myers is the Artistic Director of Windmill Theatre, an award-winning, national performing arts company based in Adelaide, South Australia. Her directing credits for Windmill include the multi-award-winning Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Fugitive, School Dance, Big Bad Wolf, and Girl Asleep. A multi-Helpmann Award-nominated director, her productions regularly visit leading stages and festivals around Australia and the world, including the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival, and New York City’s New Victory Theatre.
Prior to Windmill, Rosemary served as the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company, as well as the Artistic Director of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival in 2010. Rosemary has worked independently for ABC Television, Back to Back Theatre Company, Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland Theatre Company, and Sydney Theatre Company. In 2006, Myers was a Creative Director for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Girl Asleep is Rosemary’s feature film debut.
On her work with Windmill Theatre Co:
Windmill Theatre Co is an amazing initiative of the South Australian government—it invests in a company to create works of scale for young people and family audiences. It’s given me the opportunity to work with a great team of talented collaborators, both artists and across the company management. The day-to-day requirements of the job change depending on what we are doing, but my job encompasses responsibility for our programming (alongside our Executive Producer) and the development and direction of a lot of the work we produce.
Because we are a medium-sized company, we’re fairly nimble and not beholden to deliver an annual season, so the kind of projects we undertake are quite varied, and we also do lots of touring.
On the challenges of taking Girl Asleep from stage to screen:
At Windmill, myself, writer Matthew Whittet, and designer Jonathon Oxlade work closely together and our aesthetic interests are very aligned. The first challenge was to find collaborators from the film world who shared our sensibilities. When we found DOP Andrew Commis and editor Karryn de Cinque, we instantly loved their maverick streak and knew they would be a great fit.
The other challenge was casting the actors. In the theatrical production, all the roles are played by adult actors, so casting the teenage actors was both a challenge and a thrill. It was quite amazing for us to hear the script embodied by actors who were the same age as the characters.
On the inspiration behind the film design:
Jonathon, Andy, and I worked extensively in pre-production and created look books of ‘70s photography, as well as tests of certain environments, like the forest. Jonathon has a brilliant visual mind, and it’s always a pleasure to create wild briefs, like the forest creatures, that allow his imagination to go to town.
On transitioning from directing for theater to directing for film:
The processes for making theater and film are very different. For me, with theater, you uncover the play in the rehearsal room. So much of the film is created in pre and post-production. We shot Girl Asleep in 22 days, so it was a super tight schedule. It was my first film directing experience and before we started someone said to me, “Anyone who knew what he or she were doing would not attempt to make this film on this budget.” So the whole way through, it was a heady combination of exhilaration around what we were creating and overwhelming concern that we would not get it finished.
On what’s ahead for her:
Here at Windmill Theatre Co, we have just finished a new musical for the stage and are about to embark on the remount of Girl Asleep, the play. This year we plan to start work on our next film project. ★