Local Lady Natalie Venettacci
by Zilla Gordon
Natalie Venettacci is an actor and teacher who is about to direct her first play.
Where in Hobart do you live? New Town.
What’s the best thing about Hobart? Being able to get to your friends and family in a heartbeat.
And the worst? The lack of affordable housing.
Tell us a little about your work? I am an actor, director and teacher. At the moment, I am the drama teacher at Claremont College and I love it!
You’re currently directing Medusa Waking, could you tell me a little bit about that process? Medusa Waking is a wonderful story written by Hobart playwright Emma Skalicky and I’m so excited to share it with Hobart. It is a story about the survival of trauma and stars some of Tasmania’s finest actors. We have created a very lovely and safe space in the rehearsal room where we build the blocking of a scene through the actors’ objectives and their natural instinct. The challenge that I’m finding is trying to not get into my head. Although I have been in the theatre world for many years as an actor, it’s the first show I have directed and I’m really nervous. I hope that I do the story and the characters justice. I’m also working very closely with Emma in the rehearsal room where I can ask her any questions about the script. She has been a great voice in the room and I feel very lucky to have her there. It’s on at the Peacock Theatre from the 14th – 22nd May.
Could you tell me a little bit about the Hobart theatre world? The theatre world is strong, bold and creative. I think it’s important to know that good theatre in Hobart isn’t just seen within the professional companies, it’s also very much alive in community theatre. Unfortunately, there is just too little funding to put all the bells and whistles into it.
You lived in Sydney – what was it like moving back to Hobart? I moved to Sydney when I got accepted into Actors Centre Australia and, from day one, I really did not enjoy my time living there. There was a lot of drama (no pun intended) that came with working in the industry in Sydney and it just wasn’t making me happy. I saw a lot of my friends moving back home and creating theatre and I was like ‘I need to go back, now is the time!’ So after six years of living there, I packed up and moved back and I haven’t left since. I adore Hobart, I love that I can wake up in the morning and see kunanyi and breathe clean air.
How do you think your role as a teacher shapes younger actors? I am giving my students the foundations they need to get them into drama schools across Australia and have the essential skills to work in the industry with no drama school behind them. My students are incredibly talented and are bold and courageous at using their instinct to build characters; I’m just there to push them to their best abilities. I show care and respect in the classroom, this shapes students to become empathetic learners; a valuable tool to have as an actor. It’s a wonderful feeling when you see your students gain control of their acting skills by the end of the school year and knowing that what you are teaching is accurate in developing student’s drama knowledge and skills.
What’s your dream project to work on? I would love to work for the Sydney Theatre Company on any production, but probably something written by Kate Mulvaney.
I’m inspired by… My students. They remind me every day how to treat others and what makes a good performer.
What do you love doing outside work? Spending time and eating lots of food with my partner Rob.
Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? The Winston.
Drink of choice and where do you head for it? I love a simple Belvedere Vodka and soda.
Favourite team? Collingwood – please don’t hate me.
I’d like to travel to… South Korea.
Quote to live by? My mate in high school said that her mum would always say ‘just one step at a time’ and I like that and remind myself of that when I get overwhelmed with life.