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Pushing paradigms on the couch

Samantha Morris | March 2019

The Couch Outloud is home grown, live production that sees emerging and established Gold Coast artists and change makers interviewed in front of a real-life audience.

It’s entertaining, inspires social connectivity and unearths insightful guest speakers combined with unique audience participation.

Co-founder, director producer and writer Michelle Dumbrell says the concept is focussed squarely on connecting artists and audiences.

“There’s this misconception that the Gold Coast has no culture and you google what to do and it comes up theme parks,” Michelle told We Are Gold Coast.

“And I thought there’s so much more that needs to be unearthed, all the artists that we have here…. And that’s how it came about.”

A live talk show means that stories come to life, in real time, in front of a real audience. And while the host – Monique Kinerson is scripted, what happens with guests is unpredictable.

“It’s entertaining, fun and engaging for both the people we’re trying to help but also the people that want to support them,” Michelle says.

“People are sharing their unique story. People who are trying to affect societal change in a big way.”

The show has moved around the Gold Coast since it started in The Avalon in August 2016. They’re currently housed at Karama Collab Hub – a creative co-working space in Miami, where they’ve just hosted their ninth show.

“They are so supportive and the space is fantastic,” Michelle says. “That’s like our clubhouse now. I love it.”

Felicity Lawless, Elliena Escott, Harry J Hart, Doug Dejong, Eliot Hahn, dancers, visual artists including Anthony Pieters, Wendy Thurst and Circus Corridor have all been on the “couch” or performed at Couch Outloud events and Michelle says a key focus remains on motivating social change.

“We are exposing people to topics and stories that they have never known about before and that they might want to be involved in,” she explained. “They can collaborate with these people and the audience has opportunities to talk to the guests in the mingle sessions afterwards.”

Since launching, Couch Outloud topics have included social connectivity and the impact of social media, the love couch, changing paradigms and the city’s cultural evolution. The team has even been commissioned to run a show specifically for year 12 girls at St Hilda’s with a focus on life paths and careers. Michelle says connection and disconnection are a recurring theme.

“Basically, we’re focussed on getting people out from their homes,” she says.

“The Couch Outloud’s mission is to bring the Gold Coast community together in celebration and acknowledgement of how we can add to the creation and expression of our city in progressive ways.”

Pushing the Paradigm’ with a focus on speakers who challenge stagnant perspectives and take action to affect societal change takes place Friday 31 May at Karma Collab Hub. Guests include Greg Howell, Creative Arts Therapist Marja-Liisa Rintala and biochemist Kerryn Devine with performances from Doug de Jong and art exhibition from Lily Rose Creative Co.

 

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