Creative Futures : Antony Makhlouf

May 12, 2021

Antony Makhlouf was involved in our production of The Things I Could Never Tell Steven in our Creative Futures program.
Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta is committed to capacity building in Western Sydney and has launched a Creative Futures Program for creatives, production and back stage opportunities. The scheme provides on the job learning and networking opportunities, enabling each participant to advance their careers within their nominated field. This program is by invitation only.

What was your role in our Creative Futures program?  

I assisted James Browne on Set and Costume Design. I also worked closely with the awesome Cara Woods – the Associate Producer of National Theatre of Parramatta.

 Tell us about your Creative Futures experience?

I’ve only ever been in the rehearsal room as a performer, so it was really great to gain a new perspective on the theatre production process. The scope of work was exciting because of how varied and challenging the work was. From researching prop and costume that were true to the 1980s context, to driving around the breadth of Sydney to source, building and dressing the set and fitting the actors. Executing all these tasks within the parameters of budget and the input of other creatives, was an additional learning curve of how to anchor the design process within the reality of theatre making. The experience also provided insight on how all the other creative elements are calibrated together, further widening the aperture of the experience.

What was it like working with James?

It was great working with someone just as pedantic about aesthetic detail as I am! James is a creative force who scanned the set with a fine tooth comb; every prop, costume and surface was reviewed and finessed, and at times, reviewed and finessed again. His passion for the craft is inspiring and was always laced with positivity and some great laughs. The depth of James’ attention speaks of his passion and stamina, and that kind of commitment definitely rubs off on you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him.

Do you have a memorable moment you would like to share?

Unable to find the “right” style and colour of a certain prop saw me making a length of anal beads from scratch. Although not a highlight as watching the first run of the show was, it was definitely memorable. 

Why is Creative Futures an important program?

Getting access to the production process and rehearsal room as a “fly on the wall” is hard to come by and therefore an invaluable opportunity. The breadth of insight the Creative Futures program provides is all encompassing and an experience I am very grateful for. It’s an interesting program in the sense that although you’re totally invested in the production’s success, the pressure isn’t on you as it would be for the fore players in the cast and crew. This freed my focus allowing me to absorb the many facets of the process and their interplay: sound, lighting, directing, stage managing, producing and performing. The synergy of all these disciplines is constantly tweaked and edited with each other further deepening my respect and knowledge of the process. Undoubtedly the program will inform my future theatre endeavours as both a performer and a budding set and costume designer. It’s an important access point for creatives to further develop their skillsets within a real working context while also earning an income. I recommend anyone interested to apply.

What do you have coming up next?

I’m also an artist and am excited to release my new print collection of Australian Botanics to be stocked in a few Sydney stores this December. Next year I’ll be performing in Theatre Excentrique’s production of “Tidelines” by Wajdi Mouawad. Then who knows! The future is bright.

Antony Makhlouf is a multidisciplinary creative working as a television presenter, actor and visual artist. He is best known for his television role on Get Arty teaching art techniques airing on Channel 7 in Australia and on Discovery Kids in New Zealand and South East Asia. His performance theatre credits include work staged in Sydney and Adelaide, such as Lady Tabouli (National Theatre of Parramatta), Amphibian (Windmill Theatre Company), Omar and Dawn (King’s Cross Theatre) and the 2019 development of Lady Tabouli (Griffin Theatre Company’s BATCH Festival). His intricate illustrative artworks and socially-charged photographic pieces have been exhibited extensively in Sydney, Melbourne, and Beirut. Antony graduated with a Masters of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UNSW Art & Design and has studied performance at Screenwise, ACTT, The Actor’s Centre Australia and The Actors Hub. Antony is merging his love of visual arts and theatre with his involvement in The Things I Could Never Tell Steven under the Creative Futures Program.