Get to know the people behind the puppets: Meet Adrienne Patterson


Adrienne Patterson

Time to meet some fresh talent in the form of recent WAAPA graduate, Adrienne Patterson. She is an emerging theatre maker, writer, stage manager, actor, producer and instructor (find something she hasn’t tried!) based in Perth. In 2013, she founded the community theatre group Modicum Theatre Perth also producing and directing their debut production of Marivaux’s La Dispute. We are excited to be working with young Western Australian talent like Adrienne and are glad that she could take a time out to answer a few questions for us ahead of her debut with Spare Parts in The Arrival.

Where are you from?

Perth, Australia


What character do you play in The Arrival?

I play the voice of the yellow puppet (Ol’ Yella) and sometimes operate and voice the blue puppet (Bluey) – otherwise I am backstage moving the set.


Do you have an experience to share of when you had to move from a new place?

I spent 2 months on exchange in Singapore in 2016, but I was lucky not to face the language barrier that Aki does when arriving in a strange land. My Singaporean classmates were very welcoming and a lot of them were also from other places like India and Malaysia. So, we were a class of foreigners – to Singapore and to each other – and we spent most of our lunchtimes sharing stories about how things were the same or different back home.


How do you keep in contact with family or friends living overseas?

As much as it can get a bad rap, the Internet is a wonderful thing! Being able to instantly contact or even speak ‘face to face’ with people thousands of kilometers away makes the distance feel much less insurmountable. Even so, nothing beats a visit in person and a real life hug!


Why did you want to become a performer?

I was drawn to performance and theatre in general because I am intrigued by stories and the ways they are told. Acting is an exercise in empathy: it allows us to experience the world through the eyes of people vastly different from ourselves; and it challenges us to find justification in actions we might never take. To me, making theatre is about framing these different points of view in response to a cultural context. This manipulation and sculpting of narrative is what really fascinates me.


Who inspires you?

I am inspired by all the strong, creative people I see and meet working in the arts –especially women and people with multicultural backgrounds or levels of ability. I think diversity is so important and especially in the performing arts. Growing up in Australia with partial Chinese heritage, it was a thrill to see people on stage or screen who looked like me because it meant I could imagine myself in the cultural narrative. Now, there is a trend towards more diverse storytelling led by fearless creatives both on the stage and in the writing room.


If I wanted to become a performer what advice would you give to me?

It’s a cliché but: Practice! I’ve been told by several reputable sources that when I first got started I was completely hopeless. Luckily, I was blind to this fact for long enough that I started improving! I would also say read, watch and listen as widely as you can. The more you learn from others, the more you will have to share when you are given the gift of an audience.

The Arrival runs from July 1 – 15, at the Dolphin Theatre, UWA. Performances are 10am and 1pm daily, plus special twilight performances on July 5 and 14 at 6.30pm.

Click here to read more about the show or book tickets.