Never Did Me Any Harm – Night with the Actors

Sydney Theatre Company’s “Never Did Me Any Harm” Night with the Actors.

Part of the Sydney Festival
Date: 16 January 2012

Below are some of the highlights from Night with the Actors.

Present were full cast plus director Kate Champion.

STC: Kate’s work was admired – dance and physical theatre takes longer to develop than general theatre.

On why it took so long to come to fruition and constructing the cast:

Kate Champion:

Anonymous people were used and recorded and then re-recorded by the cast.  The process was done over a three year period in Sydney and Adelaide.

On script:

Kate Champion:

Made up fully from material (transcripts). Only Vincent (Crowley’s) rant and the dance done by the actors was improv.

On choreography:

Marta Dusseldorp:

It was liberating – I did dance until I was 14 – so it was good to get back to it, but also humbling too.

Heather Mitchell:

Responding to imaginary responses and it was also reassuring (to have the dancers).

Vincent Crowley:

Hardest part was coming to words from dance, so it was in the opposite direction to the actors who went from acting to dance.

Alan Flower:

Having a friendly rumble (laughs) and doing stuff that didn’t make it into the production.

On the total experience in regards to incorporating all aspects (light and sound):

Kate Champion:

By July 20, 2011 the entire set and lighting was completed. Projection allowed us to not be in a backyard anymore and finding a balance that wasn’t overpowering actors.

On having children and parenting:

Sarah Jayne Howard: (who is pregnant)

Don’t judge people. Both Marta and myself were pregnant three years ago when show started to develop.

Kate Champion:

They had two children in three years and it has taken us this long to make one (aka the production)

On whether it w{jcomments on}as inspired by the book “The Slap”:

Kate Champion:

I had thought about adapting that, but no. The volatility aspect of “The Slap” did give them the idea though.

On suffocating mother:

Joshua Mu:

So much care and love by a mother that it has a suffocating effect. The character kills her in the head (mentally) but not physically.

On whether different generations react different to parenting:

Kate Champion:

It all goes back to a Socrates quote, so it’s been going on for years. There’s a great book, “Under Pressure” by Carl Honore that deals with culture of parenting. That people have less children until later in life at which time they’ll have more money. Every generation has its own challenges, as we go on the focus seems to be to over concentrate on things than previous generations.

On casting on developing a show over three years

Kate Champion:

Very lucky to keep cast intact. Actors agree it is a special project.

Kirstie McCracken:

Collaborative and each person is given specific tasks and a lot of people come together to do the project.

Marta Dusseldorp:

As artistic director, Cate (Blanchett) has been in the position for a long time now so had a focus on what she wanted with the project, so it helped the process.


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