Sarah is the co-creator of Ruby Gaytime, a theatre production company dedicated to making gritty, character-driven comedies. We talk to Sarah about moving, feeling grounded and choosing the creative path.
Saturn return: October 2011
What were you doing in 2011?
I moved to Melbourne at the beginning of that year and went straight into working festivals, and I travelled to Edinburgh, New York and Portugal. It was quite a hedonistic year with a lot of travel and adventure. It was about saying yes to everything. It was also a very transitional time and I was fearless. I think I’ve learnt that there is as much power in saying yes as there is in saying no.
Why is it important for you to say no today?
When you say yes to everything you fail to let yourself develop as a person because you don’t allow yourself to get to know what your individual tastes, likes and dislikes are.
I have a degree in Commerce and I got it to shut my parents up. I used to feel so much pressure to do things that other people and my parents wanted me to do. Now I realise that the people who matter want to see me happy, and I don’t have to do things to please others. I do whatever makes me happy because at the end of the day, that’s what life is about - my happiness and happiness for the people around me.
Did you have strong ideas about what you wanted to do with your life at that time?
I moved to Melbourne with the intention to crack into the arts industry. I wanted to get into programming for Festivals so I dived into producing shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I found I wasn’t being creative in the way I was previously, instead being creative in an administrative way.
What has changed since that time?
Although I do enjoy that work, I realised that to really feel connected to it I have to have more of a traditional artistic involvement in the project. I pick and choose my producing work a lot more carefully now. When I get offered producing roles it is nice to be able to say no if I know it isn’t going to make me the happiest I can be.
Tell us about your production company, Ruby Gaytime.
Ruby Gaytime produces and creates theatre. We like the grittier side of comedy. Great characters and stories.
Who inspires you?
The good, bad and ugly daily moments. I saw a show the other night and although it was horrible, I walked out with so many ideas. At the moment I’m re-watching Mad Men and I’m finding it so inspiring. My Dad tells the shittiest stories that don’t have a point and they go on forever and I’ve heard them all a thousand times, but I’m inspired by them.
Have you had any doubts about the life you’ve chosen and the things you’ve said yes to?
Absolutely. Especially in the arts community- I’m constantly questioning whether I made the right choice. With the amount of things I’ve missed because of my job and the lifestyle I’ve chosen to follow, I constantly question whether I’ve made the right decision and whether I’m any good at what I do. When I was 29 there was a part of me that was almost ready to move back to Perth and give in.
What made you continue?
Getting excited about projects in Melbourne and knowing that without fulfillment from being creative I wouldn’t feel like myself. It pushed me back to the right path.
What were some challenges you experienced during your Saturn return?
I had just moved to a new city and then spent six months traveling, so my life felt like a washing machine; being thrown around into different directions, being pulled in and out - it was unsettling. When you feel unsettled it’s much easier to question all of your decisions. I was also in a long distance relationship, which was very challenging and added to the sensation of not being grounded.
How do you feel now in terms of being grounded?
I’ve lived in so many cities around the world and Melbourne is by far the one that feels like home, but is a constant struggle having all of my family back in Perth. There’s always a part of me that doesn’t feel grounded, but then I wonder whether that’s just who I am and if maybe I have to be all right with that. I do feel guilt for the amount of time I’m away travelling.
Why do you feel guilt?
Working for Starlight in the Royal Children’s Hospital is a massive part of my life and what I do there grounds me so much. I go to work and see people in extraordinary situations, often on the worst day of their life, and it provides me with a sense of perspective that makes me appreciate my life. That’s something that is very different now, as opposed to when I was going through my Saturn return. I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I never appreciated the little daily things. It was never about the journey.
What’s next for you?
I am producing, directing and creating the format for the new Hoo-Haa show for Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I’m also writing a new play for Ruby Gaytime in the hope to have it ready to rock and roll for Melbourne Fringe in September.
What do you want to be doing in the future?
Working with awesome people and making awesome work.
Photography / Julia Petricevic and Simone Ruggiero
Words / Sarah Reuben
Location / Melbourne