Five minutes with: Damien Sunners

Our Education production “Beached”: is just around the corner, so we chatted to Damien Sunners, who plays Arty, about making his debut at MTC.

Damien Sunners

You’ve just graduated from Flinders Drama School, and you are kicking off your career with a lead role. That must be a great feeling?

Absolutely, it’s an amazing feeling and an incredible opportunity. I am tremendously grateful to Petra and MTC, just getting the chance to audition was huge buzz. It’s also an amazing production to have as a first role; being a new play we get an opportunity to discuss aspects of it with Melissa [Bubnic] the playwright. And the production is very technical: we’re working with an animator, pre-recorded film and an extreme costume.

How would you describe Arty, your character in Beached?

Arty is an exceptionally sweet kid, and in Beached we meet him at a time when he is taking huge steps to change his life. We get to see him grow, become a man and stand up for himself. Arty is also a big dreamer and he often slips into a fantasy world were he can live out all sorts of adventures. Although he is intelligent, I’d say he is pretty sheltered from the big wide world and his best friend is his mum Jojo.

Beached is part of our Education program, which means a lot of high school students will be coming along to the show. What sort of theatre or performing arts did you see as a high school student?

In high school I was blown away by two Brink Productions shows that I saw in the same year, Mojo and Roberto Zucco. Both casts were primarily Flinders Drama Centre graduates, which is where I studied. It was a little before high school but Bell Shakespeare came to my school on tour once, that was a very memorable experience.

Did you have any favourite plays, actors or directors?

While I was at drama school I got a little obsessed with Patrick Marber’s Closer. Anytime we were asked to pick a scene to work on in class, I would pick something from Closer. I think it is an incredible play. Every scene is so truthful and dynamic, it’s wonderful writing. I also love True West.

I have so many favorite actors, if I had to pick one I’d say Jack Lemmon. It’s on my bucket list to see Richard Roxburgh on stage. And for casting me in my first MTC role, Petra Kalive has to go straight to the top of my favorite directors list.

What made you want to be an actor, and what is your dream role?

Growing up I loved movies and I knew I wanted to be involved in some away in the making of them. I think first I wanted to be a director, then I saw Raging Bull and it had to be acting. It’s too hard to pick one dream role, but I’d love to play Mitch from A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing and Dan or Larry from Closer.

“Beached”: is playing at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler from 22 April to 10 May.

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