Show artwork for MTC Recommendations with Martina Murray
MTC Recommendations

MTC Recommendations with Martina Murray

Each week during lockdown we’ll share a range of recommendations from a team member at MTC. This week, we asked Director of Artistic Operations & Senior Producer Martina Murray for her top tips to watch, read, create and even dance!

Martina Murray first worked with MTC 30 years ago, playing one of the 'no necked monster' children in our 1990 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Now, Martina is an integral part of our Artistic Team as the Company's Director of Artistic Operations/Senior Producer.

Cat Programme 2 ll0owg

The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof programme, featuring Martina as Trixie

I’m going to assume that if you’re receiving this, you are into the arts. Wild assumption I know! Well if you’re into the arts, and you attend MTC productions, my next outrageous assumption is that the Australian arts community is as important and valuable to you as it is to me. Trusting this to be the case, my recommendation to each of us is that we continue to embrace our arts community in any which way we can, and in turn have it continue to enrich our lives with its stories, insights, inspiration and joy.

Here’s just a few suggestions on how we can do that from the comfort of our homes.


Thanks to the free-to-air catch-up channels and the variety of streaming options such as Netflix and Stan, you have a wealth of Australian-made film and television options, old and new, ready and waiting for you. If looking for familiar MTC faces, you can’t go past these:

  • Contemporary Drama Series – Stateless and Total Control, both on ABC iView
  • Day-to-day drama (is that a category?) – Five Bedrooms on 10Play; or revisit Offspring on Stan
  • Comedy series – The Letdown on Netflix; or Upper Middle Bogan or No Activity on Stan
  • Sketch – Mad as Hell on ABC iView
  • Period drama – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on AcornTV and catch the film on GooglePlay

If you’re interested in a trip down memory lane, ALL 692 episodes of Prisoner: Cell Block H are available on YouTube!


Radio National’s award-winning fiction series The Fitzroy Diaries is a wonderful listen that will transport you from your home to the streets of Fitzroy in all their glory! 

Until recently I didn’t really listen to podcasts. I kept putting them into the ‘too hard basket’ or the ‘I don’t have enough time basket’ or the ‘I don’t actually know if I have to download them in full or do I stream them basket’. Turns out they are easy to engage with and the world of podcasts is endless in its offerings. Being a podcast beginner, I’ve sussed a few out, and recommend you listen to Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales discuss what they’re reading, cooking, listening to, and that you have a browse through the ABC podcasts. They have too many great ones to list!


While we’re confined to our homes it can be hard to feel free. But if there’s one thing that you can do from your lounge room that’s going to lift spirits, have you feeling footloose and fancy free, and get the body moving for that daily exercise, it’s dancing!

Of course you can put on your favourite tunes and have a boogie, but there are a multitude of online classes available where you can learn new steps or finesse existing ones. Personally, I will be turning to Melbourne’s iconic Anna’s Go-Go Academy, which has great 10-minute dance break videos you can subscribe to. Retro music, with a range of styles rolled into a fun break from the desk, couch or deck chair. Do them anytime, anywhere. No dance experience necessary. No embarrassment necessary (as no one is watching).

Find Anna’s online classes via Patreon.


Take pen to paper. Write an old-fashioned letter and pop it in the post, write a poem, a journal or get lost in writing a story.

Melbourne comedian and author Catherine Deveny has made her writing course available online. It offers creative writing guidance, challenges and insightful, generous, entertaining company as you exercise your creative writing skills. I haven’t completed the course (as yet!) but as a beginner I am enjoying Catherine’s relaxed open nature. The course is currently free, though I would encourage a donation in recognition of Catherine’s time, commitment and generosity.


In continued support of our arts community, I recommend you pick up a book or a kindle by your favourite Australian author or playwright and settle into a comfortable chair to be transported to whatever wonderful, mysterious or dark world you have elected to get lost in. My current reading pile – that grows constantly thanks to MTC Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes’ endless recommendations – contains Charlotte Wood’s The Weekend, Tara June Winch’s The Yield, Tony Birch’s The White Girl and Melanie Cheng’s Room for a Stranger.

My main reading recommendation, however, is to ensure we don’t get all consumed by the news threads and media coverage of our current situation. Whilst it is important to stay informed, our unlimited access to news online can make it hard to step away. Choose one or two trusted sources that you check at certain times a day.


Melbourne-based writer and crafter Pip Lincolne hosts a great blog called Meet Me at Mike’s, where she can teach you to crochet and has links to many other fun and easy craft ideas.

I personally want to give weaving a go and will be checking out Melbourne-based Maryanne Moodie’s online tutorials.

If cooking is more your creative outlet, you could pick a long-ignored cookbook and work your way through. Or search for new recipes online, such as those from Melbourne cook Julia Busuttil Nishimura, whose recipes celebrates simple ingredients and seasonal produce (and are yum!). 

If wanting a fun, bright and creative challenge, order a copy of Katherine Sabbath’s Bake Australia Great (I’m waiting for mine to arrive).


This time will be challenging, it will test our limits (and our patience), and it may be overwhelming. We may have moments where we will feel like we should be doing more with our time – sorting that drawer, getting ahead on our tax return – but I encourage us all to take time to relax, reflect and just be. Even day dream about what you want the world to look like when we get past this and can return to the theatre!

And if you want an app or guidance to reduce stress and anxiety, 1 Giant Mind was developed in Sydney and is an easy to use introduction to meditation; I hear it’s good.

Please note some of the online classes come with a mild language warning.

Published on 3 April 2020

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