radionotes podcast episodes

Brymore Productions brought to the Adelaide Fringe The Bureau of Untold Stories. A theatre show that focuses on children and their engagement of creativity with narratives.

Hollie and Sean from the company joined John Murch of radionotes for a chat – over a barrel – at the Holden Street Theatres in Hindmarsh…

To listen, click the green ‘play’ triangle… [note: may take few seconds to load] 

IMAGE CREDIT: Natalie Jennings / Natalyjphotography (Instagram) 

The pair are married and share their passions for the Arts proudly and also make up two-thirds of the funny-as Good For A Change podcast.

Deep thanks to the Holden Street Theatres for allowing us to record in their beer garden at such a busy time of the year and between shows at that. Legends.

SHOW NOTES: Brymore Productions

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Feature Guest: Brymore Productions’ Hollie and Sean

Doin’ It For The Kids:

Spotify Playlists:

  • First of three background playlist from their wedding. This the ‘Jazz one’ which they state still use to this day as background music in the office – HERE
  • Another the ‘Funky’ playlist that started little later in the evening after formalities and photos – HERE
  • Final of the three they’ve shared with us, a ‘dancier’ playlist for “as night wore on and people wanted to groove a bit” – HERE
  • One that was part of the actual ceremony – HERE

Next Episode: Jeremy Neale

…if you have not already subscribed or following the radionotes – we can be found on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcast, Overcast, Stitcher, PocketCasts and more…

[Radio Production – notes: ]


Theme/Music: Martin Kennedy and All India Radio   

Web-design/tech: Steve Davis

Voice: Tammy Weller  

You can make direct contact with the podcast – on the Contact Page


First version provided by REV team member Jasmine C – check to audio before quoting wider

John Murch: Hollie and Sean, welcome to radionotes.

Sean Brymore: Thank you.

Hollie Brymore: Hello.

John Murch: Two thirds of the Good for a Change podcast.

Sean Brymore: That is us, yeah.

Hollie Brymore: Are we ever…

John Murch: Can we talk about that first? I only discovered you because the Great Australian Podcast had mentioned you. Final episode of the season was back in February of 2020?

Sean Brymore: Yes.

Hollie Brymore: Yes.

John Murch: Talking about what I need to clear up with you. Potato fritters, not cakes.

Sean Brymore: Oh no. We’ve crossed state borders and this is where the issues start popping up. There’s something different again I think in Brisbane and… Yes, it was a contentious topic. I probably shouldn’t have brought it up ever. Jarrod Fairclough, who is the third member of the team, is my best friend from high school and we used to collaborate all the time on little YouTube shows on the weekend. We’d get together every weekend and we’d make a little YouTube show together. As I moved away and moved overseas, I started to miss that creativity that we had on a regular basis. When we came back to Melbourne, I was trying to find a way to reconnect with him and continue collaborating, and bring Hollie in on it as well. What eventuated was us deciding to make a podcast and we sat there and decided what we were going to talk about and-

Hollie Brymore: In a morning.

Sean Brymore: In a morning, yeah.

Hollie Brymore: We sat there and we were like, should we make a podcast today? Yeah, what should we do?

Sean Brymore: Let’s just do something like that. And we thought, we’ll just do one episode and we’ll see what it’s like. We recorded it and we thought, oh, gee, that sounds pretty good. I’d probably listen to that. From there on, we just kept doing it on a weekly basis and kept churning it out. Unfortunately, we had to take a pause because Hollie and I were in Perth Fringe World and then over to the UK and Switzerland and now in Adelaide. So we’ve had to pause for that reason.

John Murch: That’s Good for a Change. That’s the podcast you all three are a part of. You join us, though, to talk about the Brymore Productions that both of you two, sans him, are actually part of. Where was the initial creative idea for this particular production company?

Hollie Brymore: So we are married. When we met, Sean was a producer and I was studying theatre production. And so in that time, it wasn’t something that was an option for us. We weren’t like, oh yeah, let’s go do children’s theatre. We did some theatre out here and we… I was stage managing and Sean was producing a show. We did that and we finished that and I think-

John Murch: I’m hearing it was an excuse to spend more time together.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, yeah.

Sean Brymore: We are inseparable. I don’t think other people would bear each other as much we do. We sometimes literally do everything together. When we were applying for Hollie’s permanent residency visa out here-

Hollie Brymore: It looked like we were lying.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. It was like, we spend 24 hours a day together.

Hollie Brymore: These are our contracts for the jobs that we do together. This is our theatre company that we made together. This is our house. This is all of our friends are just each other.

Sean Brymore: That was a strange process. We had been making theatre separately I guess… and Hollie, obviously, was then working on this production that I was doing. By the end of it, Hollie said, “Well, I’m going back to the UK to study drama.” Or study stage management. At the time. And I didn’t really know what I was going to do because I was a little bit over producing at the time. I wasn’t sure if it was where I wanted to go to. I think that small to medium art sector out here for a theatre producer is a difficult game to play.

John Murch: When you say you were over producing, was it the workload or was it just that you had too many fingers in too many companies?

Sean Brymore: Honestly, I think the issue was financial. Completely financial. I was the one that would start a job three, four months in advance before the show would start, if not longer, and then by the time it finished, I was still working a day job. I was paying actors. Because our philosophy has always been to pay actors-

Hollie Brymore: What they’re worth.

Sean Brymore: … what they’re worth. To get to the end of the process and then be like, oh, I’ve got two dollars left in the profits which is now mine is a really difficult thing to constantly face.

John Murch: That’s a frustration of yours, Hollie, isn’t it? That invoices just don’t get paid.

Hollie Brymore: Is it ever? Oh my gosh. We are currently waiting on an unnamed invoice we’ve sent several emails about. Several emails. Several calls. International calls that we’ve had to make to that one.

John Murch: Which you’ll invoice them.

Sean Brymore: Oh yeah. It’ll keep racking up.

Hollie Brymore: And it’s just not… He was like, “Oh, it’s going to be there,” and I’m like, “Okay,” and we’re waiting. We’re like, it’s not there yet! Still no.

John Murch: Where does that breakdown of communication happen? Is it that somewhere in the arts community, someone thinks they’re more important than someone else or…?

Sean Brymore: I think it’s… It’s such a strange thing to be on the artist end.

John Murch: You were saying you’re paying your people. You only had a few dollars to your name. And here’s other people-

Hollie Brymore: Not paying us.

John Murch: … not coming the other way around.

Sean Brymore: No. The toughest thing as an artist is to sit and watch people that you know are getting full time wages not pay you. Because we do not get a full time wage… standard, everyday, full time wage… from the work we do. We are reliant on people paying their bills on time and being truthful to the contracts and things that they set out. It’s such a strange thing that it seems to happen so frequently to us, but also to other artists that we know as well.

Hollie Brymore: And sometimes it’s an unfortunate turn of events on the part of the person who’s paying invoice. It’s something that can’t be helped and I completely understand if something goes awry and you have a couple of days that you need to hold off on. That’s fine, but when there’s a complete cutoff of communication and there’s no sense of respect, I guess, for the fact that we depend on this as our wage… Like, if this is our full-time work, we need for people to treat us as employees.

Sean Brymore: It has a massive impact on where we go next from this. Because, at the moment, we’re here in Adelaide. We needed it for accommodation here. We need it to register our Edinburgh Fringe season this year, which is about to come up. So we’re in this really awkward position now, where we’re sort of floating, waiting, to find out what happens next and what we’re going to be able to pull off or not.

John Murch: The issue that we’ve just raised there or any others, how do you resolve those? From an artist production point of view, but also being a couple, being married.

Sean Brymore: This is probably revealing the secret, but we operate under a good cop, bad cop system. And it’s probably a slightly more surprising way than you’d expect. If an issue arises, I am generally the-

John Murch: Good cop.

Sean Brymore: … communications-based good cop. If things have gone wrong-

John Murch: Sorry, Hollie.

Hollie Brymore: What can I say?

Sean Brymore: If things have gone wrong, we launch Hollie into the fray. And then there’s a stern email from Hollie. Which I think is funny because if you meet us in real life-

Hollie Brymore: That’s not what we’re like.

Sean Brymore: That’s not what we’re like. Not that I’m the bad cop necessarily, but… I think we’re both good cops.

John Murch: And not we’re meeting in real life now. At that professional level, Hollie might be… What do you think you’re doing to me?

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. It is a bit like that. Sean will be like, “It’s okay,” and I’ll be like, “But it’s not okay, is it?” It’s not good.

Sean Brymore: I’m probably the more patient one.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. But we… In terms of balancing it, it’s difficult because it is our whole life. We do have to sit down and find time to be like, okay, this is an issue. This is an issue we’ve got. We need to, like, find six ways to try and resolve it and then we need to call it quits. Because we have life to do and we need to do the dishes and we need to clean our clothes.

John Murch: How does travel help or hinder that process?

Sean Brymore: I think the toughest thing for us at the moment is we haven’t had our own house for over six months now. We went from having a fine, little two-bedroom-

Hollie Brymore: It was lovely!

Sean Brymore: … mid terrace house in the UK on the south coast to living with our parents, basically, which… They have been wonderful, wonderful supportive people-

Hollie Brymore: Extremely grateful.

Sean Brymore: Extremely grateful for that, but we were in a climate in the UK where we weren’t earning enough in our day job to be able to make the international bookings that we were starting to pick up with the company. We knew, for the progression of the company, we had to make a call, but that has been really tough as a young, relatively recently married couple. To go from having a house and having all of that to moving back in with your parents.

John Murch: Doing things that aren’t about the production company itself… For example, being tourists while still doing your work.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. We love travel. I think that’s one of the things that brings us together as a couple is that we love an adventure and we love discovering stuff randomly.

Hollie Brymore: And it’s funny because we… So we got married in what? 2017?

Sean Brymore: 2017.

Hollie Brymore: End of 2017. And then we didn’t go on our honeymoon until March last year. 2019. We didn’t have an official honeymoon, but we went on so many holidays in between, but every single one was a work trip. So we didn’t feel like were missing out on that because we… We saw the whole of England in a year and we really do push to see things and to experience things. We went to Switzerland the other month. Went out and we saw Switzerland.

Sean Brymore: We saw a lot of Geneva. We did a lot of walking.

Hollie Brymore: We did a lot of walking.

John Murch: Well, even in recent days, many people here in South Australia and Adelaide have never seen The Old Gum Tree. But you have.

Sean Brymore: That was pleasure. Completely. We wake up in the morning. We answer some emails. We do some marketing. We do whatever it takes to plug the show and then we go, okay, it’s time to get out now. We don’t have a show today. Let’s go have some time to ourselves. Let’s go see something. One of the websites we use quite often is Atlas Obscura. It’s a wonderful compendium of strange and interesting places around the world. I’m not someone that picks up a Lonely Planet and goes, oh, I’ve got to go up the Empire State Building. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to ride the London Eye. I’ve never been on the London Eye. I don’t like the idea of it at all. But that’s the joy of Atlas Obscura is that all these places suddenly pop up. We’ve seen so many cool and interesting things because of that website and trying to go off the beaten track and find stuff.

John Murch: As a couple, that strengthens the relationship from that point of view, obviously.

Hollie Brymore: We love weird stuff. That’s why we travel. That’s what we want to see is the weird… We went to New York and we were like, what can we do in New York that would be wild? Like, what is weird in New York?

Sean Brymore: Because I’ve been to New York many times, but Hollie had been denied the opportunity to go to New York many times. We’re about equal as the amount of times I’ve been was the amount of times that Hollie had not been able to go to New York.

Hollie Brymore: Failed trips to New York.

Sean Brymore: So many.

Hollie Brymore: Flights booked and no… It’s been a nightmare. But we got there.

Sean Brymore: So when it came to the honeymoon, I was like, Hollie, what do you want to see? What do you want to do? What do you want to find?

Hollie Brymore: I went absolutely mental on Pinterest. Wild on Pinterest. I was like, what’s weird there? I was looking for foods. I was like, I’ve seen these, like, unicorn pull-apart toasties. I was like, yeah, that’s okay, but let’s see if we can find something more interesting. We found a restaurant in the Upper West Side that served pickle soft serve and it was incredible. An absolute trek to get to. It was such a long way to get to, but it was amazing.

Sean Brymore: We got lost on the way there. We went for a walk and we found a nice bookshop and we found a nice café and all these things sort of flow into one and then it was like, oh my goodness. That’s the-

Hollie Brymore: Pickle soft serve.

Sean Brymore: … place we’re looking for. Pickle soft serve time.

John Murch: From the UK, how much of Brexit was the reason for you leaving?

Sean Brymore: It was a pretty strong reason we left.

John Murch: Because setting up gigs within Europe is going to become harder, I would assume.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. And we just got the company to a point where we were starting to make European gigs. We had built up to a point where we were starting to get international gigs. We were starting to get international interest. It was something we wanted to keep pursuing, but there was a combination of such low wages in the UK combined with… I have dual citizenship with Germany, so I was living in the UK as a German citizen. It was very, very unclear, because I hadn’t been there for five years, whether I would be allowed to stay. It was sort of… If you’d been there five years, you’re all good. Don’t worry about it. If you’re under five years, we don’t know yet.

Hollie Brymore: Honestly, we’re still not sure.

Sean Brymore: We’re still not… Well, I’ve applied for what I can apply for and we have to hope that I can be granted some form of permanency at the end of it.

John Murch: Will you be German Australian or German UK or tri?

Sean Brymore: I don’t know.

Hollie Brymore: You’re not allowed to be German British.

Sean Brymore: No. I’m already under sort of a loophole with Germany to be a dual citizen. They don’t particularly like dual citizens in the first place. I fell into a gap in the law that worked in my favor, which has been wonderful. It also makes it very confusing to travel because I’m constantly flipping passports and-

John Murch: So to answer my question, you’re heading towards German Australian?

Hollie Brymore: I think it would take a lot for you to-

Sean Brymore: Lose Australian-

Hollie Brymore: … lose your German.

Sean Brymore: Oh, to lose my German.

Hollie Brymore: I don’t think it would be worthwhile.

Sean Brymore: No, I think it’s beneficial to maintain that.

John Murch: UK is sounding very untenable and, from your point of view, Hollie, you’re probably more tied to the UK?

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. I don’t think I would ever ditch my UK passport and I’m not a citizen here yet. I think we are heading in the direction of that. I think that would be a sensible life choice. But I think realistically-

John Murch: You’ll have to do on the 26th of January. They’re moving it all to the 26th of January now. So if you want to recognise that day.

Hollie Brymore: Get a little flag.

Sean Brymore: Don’t.

Hollie Brymore: Become an Australian.

Sean Brymore: Don’t be that British, Hollie. Don’t be that British.

Hollie Brymore: It was hard to leave the UK on those terms. When we left, it was supposed to be around the date that it was meant to happen and they obviously moved it forward because that’s what they did for a million times. Ha, ha, ha. British politics. The feeling in the UK over the last… I don’t know when the vote was. Three years ago? Four years ago?

Sean Brymore: Who knows how long ago it was?

Hollie Brymore: Has been so… It’s abrasive, isn’t it? It’s hard to talk to anyone. You’ll have a conversation with someone and you’ll be like, I know that what I’m saying is right. I know that I’m saying I want to stay in Europe because then my husband can live here and that’s important to me and it’s important to me that I’ve got free travel and it’s important to me… These things are things that mean a lot to me.

John Murch: And it’s important for him as in you in terms of having your production company to actually achieve the goals in the name of the UK if they wanted it.

Sean Brymore: Yeah, exactly.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. So to have people come at you with the opposite opinion, especially if they’re people that… like family members or friends and things like that… it’s hard to not be angry. Really makes me angry.

Sean Brymore: We had a really strange experience with some neighbors at the time. Once again, our beautiful two-bedroom mid terrace house. We were in a little cul-de-sac. It was beautiful. We had a lot of elderly neighbors and we were invited around for Christmas the year that it happened. The vote happened. We were talking to them and I was saying like, I’m living here on German passport. I’m an immigrant. It’s really tough for me. I think what I see as an immigrant is I know a lot of other immigrants and we’re all working hard. The thing is, we’re not just working a day job. All of us are here because we have some other dream that we’re trying to achieve. So while I sit and watch a lot of people go to work every day, I sit and watch a lot of immigrants go to work every day, but then go home and-

Hollie Brymore: Hustle.

Sean Brymore: Hustle really hard. And so when I hear people with rhetoric that’s sort of like, oh, immigrants are not good people and all these kinds of things, it’s really tough to hear. We were at this Christmas dinner party and the lovely elderly lady next to me turns to me and goes, “Don’t call yourself that.” I said, “What?” And she’s like, “Don’t call yourself an immigrant. You’re not one of those.” And I thought, no, I’m exactly an immigrant. I live in… In fact, honestly-

Hollie Brymore: We have the Collins Dictionary and we’re like, oh!

Sean Brymore: … I’m actually probably-

John Murch: Give them the passport!

Sean Brymore: Yeah, I’m actually probably the worst kind because I have literally found a loophole that I’m able to live in the UK under. I’m probably… I am your worst nightmare. I’m glad it’s over. And it was funny. When we moved out here, we… Quite often, we’ll drop off social media personally. We’ll be pushing the company, but we’ll personally step off things if certain news topics become too much. What I didn’t realise was, after I came out here, it wasn’t as big a deal as what it is, obviously, in the UK. It’s not an every moment of every day kind of issue out here. As such, I was flicking on Twitter just one day randomly and I just felt this wave of anxiety come over me and stress. And I thought, is this what I was living like for the past three, four years? Under this oppressive feeling of anxiety because I was… at any moment, felt like I could be kicked out and not welcomed back.

John Murch: I am hearing a lot about artists who had those big plans of doing the UK, tour of Europe, musicians for example. No longer.

Sean Brymore: And vice versa, too. I know so many Europeans that are trying to work out what it’s going to be to come into the UK and they’re now talking about you’re only going to be able to get limited time visas and these kinds of things and that’s not productive for people that are wanting to tour for a long period of time. The UK does have a fantastic touring market. There’s so many towns that you can go and play. For that to suddenly be cut off to so many people is disappointing on so many levels.

John Murch: We’re currently in conversation with Sean and Hollie Brymore of Brymore Productions. You’ve both chosen to be children’s performers and I learned earlier this evening from your chat with Peter Goers on ABC Radio Adelaide that it’s because both your parents are children’s performers.

Sean Brymore: Well, our parents work in schools. Hollie’s mum is a teacher and my mum is an integration aide. My mum has always turned to me and said, “Oh, I wish you put your theatre into working with children that have special needs and those kind of things.”

John Murch: Which is what an integration aide does.

Sean Brymore: Yes. So Mum’s always been encouraging me to do that, but I’ve never felt like that’s the way I wanted to go down in life. That wasn’t the career path to me. I wanted to be producing. I wanted to be doing musical theater. I wanted to be doing those kind of things. Children’s theatre came about randomly. When we left Australia, I didn’t want to be a producer anymore. We thought, what do we do now? Hollie said, “Take a break.” And so I did. But I’m not very good at breaks. The minute I stopped thinking about being a producer, this idea came to me for a children’s theatre character and we started developing it from there. My big thing was that we didn’t have the finances to stage a show with it, so we made a podcast about this characters. It was called Mortimer Sparks Adventures in Imagination and it was this-

Hollie Brymore: Radio play, interactive-

Sean Brymore: Experimentation, really. And it worked. We got onto the iTunes New and Noteworthy charts with it, but it became too hard to make because it was a very… Because there was a lot of sound effects. A lot of music. Those kind of things. It was quite labor intensive. But it proved to us that this character would work and that people were interested in it and maybe… even though I hadn’t performed in a long time, maybe something would work.

Hollie Brymore: And I think, equally, that character sparked the thing that I think is the most prevalent in our work, which is children’s ideas are 100% of what we do. Everything that we do comes from an idea from a child. That children should be given the space to be able to give ideas and for people to be like, “You’re right.” If you say a green monkey from Mars went to Coles, you’re absolutely correct. He did. And that, I think, is the thing that really started-

John Murch: Validating the creative mind that they have.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah.

Sean Brymore: Yeah.

John Murch: And, through that, getting the answer of what might be true or not. But that doesn’t matter because it’s the creative process.

Hollie Brymore: Exactly.

Sean Brymore: Yeah.

John Murch: I want to pick up on something that Tom Hanks was saying to Alan Alda. Too often, adults… that’d be us… say to a kid, “How was your day? What are you doing? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Just overloading them with all these questions and expecting them to go… and they don’t. But what we should be saying is, “That’s a lovely green jacket,” and then be quiet. Then, it’s up to the kid to decide if they say, “Well, yes, it is,” or “Oh, well, this green jacket I got at a market one day and I was down in the forest and the forest did this and…” The importance of listening to the children.

Sean Brymore: Our work is primarily improvised and the rules of improvisation are listening as the key number one thing. It’s so important to listen to the information provided because that creates the work. That sets the scene. That does everything. What we learned very fast was… coming from a world where we didn’t make children’s theatre into a world where we do… was that there are just these brilliant ideas and they’re so pure.

Hollie Brymore: And genius.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. They’re more creative by far than-

Hollie Brymore: Me.

Sean Brymore: … anything, really, that we could come up with. As an adult, we lose this sense of fun and play and these wonderful things that children have. What kind of world would we be in if everyone was a bit more playful and enjoyed things a bit more and had that childlike view of the world? It’s always interesting to hear what a child thinks of something that they see. You might be at the zoo or something and standing with an animal and the child doesn’t notice that it’s a rhino that they’re looking at. They’ll be like, “Oh, there’s like a bug on this plant.”

Hollie Brymore: Look, that window’s round!

Sean Brymore: Yeah. And that is fascinating. What has made that child interested in that thing there. Even when we have ideas thrown up. The other day, we had… At our first Holden Street performance, there was a… One child said tiger and then one person said shark and then one child said tiger shark, kind of thing. I thought, what is going on in that kid’s head that that specific animal is the thing they want to talk about. When you say, “What’s your favorite animal?” And they go… It’s a really specific animal kind of thing. And you go, “That’s amazing. I love that.”

Sean Brymore: I used to do some tours in a garden in the UK, some private garden tours, and there was a boy that came on one of the tours. He was on the autism spectrum, but he was very, very, very knowledgeable about fossils. He lived on the south coast of the UK and he went fossil hunting. He didn’t just go… Hollie and I went fossil hunting once. It was very casual.

Hollie Brymore: We bought the hammer. We bought the backpack.

Sean Brymore: It was an enjoyable day. We weren’t very good at it. This kid… I noticed him chucking something in his hand. I’m like, “What’s that?” And he’s like, “It’s a plesiosaur spinal cord piece.” I said, “How on earth did you get that?” He’s like, “I found it.” He goes on these professional adult fossil hunting things. It’s because his parents have recognised that here is something that he is very passionate about and very focused on. He’s fascinated by this. And he’s fascinated to the point where he has become a professional basically in his field and that is wonderful.

John Murch: But it’s also the fact that he had the creativity in his mind to make the stories relevant. Here’s the facts. It’s a fossil. It’s this. You can look it up. But he had to start from a creative point in the first point. To actually want to go out and discover.

Sean Brymore: And want to know more.

Hollie Brymore: I think kids are… When I was a kid, I was really into the movie Anastasia, but I think all kids have that one thing that is their thing. When you find that thing and when you give them space to be like, I’m listening to you. What you say to me is important. And when they say, this is the thing that I want to hear about. This is the thing that I want to see. This is my thing. And then you say yes.

Sean Brymore: You watch them open up.

Hollie Brymore: Mind blown.

Sean Brymore: Everything flows out.

John Murch: It’s an idea in their head, but what you’re able to do as actors… character actors as that… is to actually articulate their thoughts. It’s a 3D dream.

Sean Brymore: Yeah, sort of. I think some of the things we create are really weird and wild and wacky and unpredictable and that’s the joy in it. It’s not necessarily their full idea, but it’ll be a few kids’ ideas together, amalgamated, and it forms this one weird conglomeration of thing. And that is weird and exciting and they enjoy that because it is sort of in their head. They have these weird visions and thoughts and crazy ideas. When they realise they have control over where the show goes and can help us… The end of the show is… We try to make the greatest story of all time. We basically start off this piece by saying, “We’re not authors, so you’re going to need to help us.”

Hollie Brymore: We can’t write this story.

Sean Brymore: Even though we start it off and we do what an author does, but then we get to certain points and we’ll just be like, “I don’t know what happens now,” and we just hand it over. You watch these kids be like, “This is what’s going to happen next. The giant meatball is going to take over the town.” And you’re like, “Of course it is. Duh. That was the only way it could’ve gone.” It’s so fun then bringing that to life and seeing what a giant meatball taking over the town is like.

John Murch: Giving the child the responsibility and the trust.

Hollie Brymore: Totally. And I think that they thrive on that. We say, “We can’t do this on our own. We do not have the skills to make this happen without you. You are the key piece here so we need you.” I think the build up of the show and the… We kind of ease them in to start with and we gain their trust and then they realise that they’re the key piece, they’re the key players, and they are in charge of what’s going on.

John Murch: The excitement you both get in seeing the lights in their eyes.

Hollie Brymore: I feel like 90% of my show is watching faces. I’m 10% of the time doing the show, but 90% of the time, I’m making sure that every single person in the room is engaged and is in it and is completely on board with what’s happening. It is after the first bit that we do… It’s like a word fill, for a lack of a better term.

John Murch: For example, number between one and ten. They have to figure out that it’s eight.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. And they sort of fill the blanks in it.

John Murch: And the next one is-

Hollie Brymore: An animal.

John Murch: … what is would find in a garden? Well, gate would rhyme with eight, so-

Sean Brymore: Yeah. All those kinds of things.

John Murch: … those kind of things.

Hollie Brymore: When we get through that, usually, we’ve got them. They’re all in and sometimes kids will come up at the end and they’ll say to us, “I cannot believe that we got every single one of those words right. I cannot believe that the words were giraffe, cheese, socks, Mickey Mouse.” I’ll be like, “I know! I can’t believe it either!” And it could be any word. It could’ve been apple, banana-

John Murch: But it’s about giving them their story and that responsibility and trust that you will accept whatever they say.

Hollie Brymore: And they believe it. They’re like, “Oh, I was right.” When you get them there, you’re done.

Sean Brymore: They’re in. They’re hooked.

Hollie Brymore: You’re golden.

Sean Brymore: They think that the world is real and we make the world as real as possible for them. You can see it. You watch them. It’s like you were saying. That moment where their eyes light up. We did a show where we were… The explorer character that we mentioned earlier. When that turned into a full show, then we did a festival roaming piece with it. We did an act… He was an explorer character, but he was a bumbling idiot. One piece we had was a… He was carrying around a giant stone tablet with a whole lot of ancient symbols on it, tripped over, fell, smashed it into pieces. The only issue with putting it back together was he didn’t speak the language that it was written on. So he needed the kids, who are obviously experts in the field, to put it back together. We had this wonderful interaction one day where these children… They were just random nonsense symbols that might look a bit like something. A bit like a Rorschach test. You go, like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a butterfly,” or whatever. And these kids completely found whatever they thought these items were. We retold a story together, putting them in order of the things that they picked out. These kids just went like, “That’s exactly what I said it was! I can’t believe it was what I said it was!” They were so in the world that they could not comprehend-

Hollie Brymore: That we would’ve made that up.

Sean Brymore: That we would’ve made that up. It was exactly what the stone said.

John Murch: The cynical side of me looks at parenthood and goes, if only they’d read to their kids. If only when they read to their kids, the kid says, as you were saying before, “Look at the flower in the corner,” which isn’t part of the story, and then talk about that flower for a while. I feel like not enough parents are doing that. What’s your feeling as children performers? Is enough of that going on?

Hollie Brymore: I mean, every child that comes into our show, even if the parents don’t think they’re a creative child and even if that’s not happening at home, the kid has it in them. The parents will sometimes say, “Oh, we won’t be able to do this,” or, “Oh, this isn’t really his thing,” or, “He won’t be able to come up with anything.” And then they do and you watch their faces go like, oh my gosh, my child’s a genius! It’s such a satisfying feeling to be like, your kid’s creative because every kid is creative. Celebrate what they know and what is fun for them.

John Murch: Which is a way more positive way of saying what I’m trying to say. I spend all day seeing parents on their phones and the kids looking up to their parent and going, “Talk to me!” I’m there going, “I wish you were being read a book.”

Sean Brymore: One of the reasons we started doing this kind of work was we just kept seeing kids on iPads in pushers in shopping centres. What does this world become if these children are playing with apps that really have one designated outcome? No matter what these apps, how much flexibility in these apps, really, there’s no unlimited creative output to that. There is always one answer at the end of the day. Are we going to lose creativity in a generation of kids because they haven’t been taught or haven’t learned or haven’t been immersed in a world that encourages them to be imaginative and creative?

John Murch: You do a bug show.

Sean Brymore: This piece is called A Bug’s Party and we developed it in conjunction with an art centre called The Spring over in the UK. They do an annual family festival, where they go out into the community and do pop up events in community spaces. The whole idea of it is it’s an informal drop in, drop out session. You’ve got to be able to develop a piece of work that can go for between two and four hours a day and at any point someone can come in and have a play or do something, but have a complete experience within a very long period of time. But it’s self-driven almost

John Murch: So there’s a number of different stations across a room, for example.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. But then we also culminate every so often… This is how we did it anyway. You would then culminate together and share a group experience as well. So that one started off with… When the children walked into the space, the idea was that we were bugs. It was the queen bee’s birthday party. We were royal helper bees.

Hollie Brymore: It was sort of a Regency-esque themed-

Sean Brymore: Garden party.

Hollie Brymore: … garden party. Inside. In winter.

Sean Brymore: Yep. And the idea was that these kids would walk into the space and they’d be shrunk down to the size of bugs. All the props we designed and made… It was like oversized crayons made out of pool noodles and giant mud birthday cake that they could play with. All these things were scaled up to make them feel like they were tiny, tiny bugs. They entered the space and it was a mess. These two helper bees were frantic because it was a mess and the queen was going to come. How could we have a good birthday for her if the queen was going to come and it was a mess? It was this whole idea of playing with these kids cleaning up and then, in essence, making a mess again. It was really funny watching because… This was a real learning experience for us. There are kids that are cleaners and there are kids that are mess makers and they’re not mutually exclusive. We would watch one child chuck petals out of a bucket and one child walk behind and sweep them back up.

Hollie Brymore: And they loved it. He wasn’t annoyed that he had to sweep up the petals. He was so thrilled.

John Murch: Creatively, they knew their role.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. They were like, I know what’s going on here. My job is the sweeper.

Sean Brymore: It’s funny. His mother was fooling around and packing up. I approached her and semi out of character was like, “You don’t need to clean up. It’s okay. It’s part of the act.” And she’s like, “Honestly, just to see him cleaning stuff up is a really good thing right now.” She’s like, “Hopefully he can take that back to the bedroom and make sure that his bedroom’s tiny after this. That would be a wonderful takeaway from this experience.”

John Murch: And then the other parents just pulling their hair out. He’s a petal thrower.

Sean Brymore: It was really funny though because the show ended with the queen didn’t come. Because it was just us and we couldn’t bring in a queen character. It was just us and we got to the end and we’re like, “I’m sorry, guys, but the queen’s not coming.”

Hollie Brymore: Let’s make a mess.

Sean Brymore: “Let’s make a mess.” That wasn’t a good enough answer for a number of children. It was fine for like 95% of the audience, but there was at least two kids every time that went home distraught. And that was a learning experience as well. If you are building for a payoff, that payoff has to come in some shape or form. You can’t leave… Because it makes me sad that we let children go unhappy.

John Murch: As production team of this kind of creativity, what is the response from schools and teachers? How do you find that?

Hollie Brymore: We are very lucky that we are in the position we are in with our family. My mum and my sister are both primary school teachers. My sister teaches seven years olds? Eight years olds? Something like that. My mum teaches four year olds. And so we can go to them and be like, “If we do this, this, and this, is that going to work in a school environment?” And they can go yes or no.

Sean Brymore: And then we can play with it and experiment. Usually, we try a lot of the work with those schools to try and put it in front of an audience and get an idea of is this going to work or is it not going to work? That’s a very fantastic asset that we have.

John Murch: I’m now imagining… If you come back to Australia and base yourself here, you could be touring around Australian schools for part of the year and that might be your thing. Am I speaking out of turn?

Sean Brymore: No, no. The reason we actually came back here and pushed to get Hollie her visa was because we’d been picked up for a regional Queensland school tour. We came out here to do that.

John Murch: Now, for international listeners, regional Queensland is a pretty big place.

Sean Brymore: Yes.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, yeah.

John Murch: It’s a lot of work to do that.

Sean Brymore: We were lucky we were primarily on the coast. We didn’t have to go 24 hours into the middle of-

John Murch: But the experience of doing that as well would be great.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. And it was such a diverse range of students. To be honest, to be frank, we had a lot of preconceptions about what that was going to be like. I suppose as an Melbournian, I have a lot of preconceptions as to what other aspects and other places of Australia are going to be like. It was really surprising and heartwarming.

Hollie Brymore: The kids were so clever.

Sean Brymore: It was really funny watching the difference between a… closer to the capital… So closer to Brisbane audience compared to an audience further out. You watched… That opening act we do in the show is where we gather things. One of the questions we ask is, “Name a job.” At one school, the inner city one, it was like glassblower. And we’re like, all right!

Hollie Brymore: Great job.

Sean Brymore: When we were out in the country, it’s a farmer or it’s a miner or these kind of things. I’m like, that’s fine. But then on the flip side… That was that one and we were sort of like, okay. But on the flip side, then the guys in the country would almost be more clever because I have a feeling they are on the tech a lot less, engaging in outdoor activities and play-

John Murch: Which gets back to my other point about the actual play.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. So that was very revealing. I think we had… Some of those regional schools, we had more fun in those ones than we do sometimes in cities.

John Murch: Back in my day… and we’re not too dissimilar I would think… you’d just be sent out the door at like 9:00 on a Saturday morning and it’s like, “I’ll see you at six tonight.”

Hollie Brymore: Back when the sun sets.

John Murch: When sun sets, come back on in.

Sean Brymore: That’s you. You talk about it all the time.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. Send me out on my bike. Off I go. I grew up in… I think the word is hamlet. It was barely a village. Smallest little collection of houses you’ve ever seen. There was a park down the end of my road and then the forest… the new forest was next to that. We knew we weren’t to go to the forest. We knew that we weren’t to go into the forest. We could play the forest and we could push the envelope a little bit there and go a little bit in. We were like, we’re a bit far in here. But we would just play all day. It would be on our bikes and it’d be on the swings or we’d be playing the way that we do. We’d be making up stories and we’d be acting things out.

Sean Brymore: I lived… I guess it was semi rural… as a child. But we had a lot a land. My sister and I would play outdoors quite often. Play indoors quite often. We have a pretty sizeable house in that sense. We would put on shows in the living room and charge tickets and all these kind of things. Play was such a big part of my childhood. I remember once I was… We have a lake or a dam in the middle of the property and I had a friend from primary school over one day. I told him… Apparently. This is the story I’ve heard. There’s a monster in the lake. A lake monster. A Loch Ness kind of thing I guess. And he went out to his mum who was sitting with my mom, having a coffee, and was like, “Sean’s telling me that there’s a monster in the lake!” And he was quite distraught and upset. His mum was just like, “Oh, Sean’s just being silly. There’s no monster out there.” I think goes back to the heart of what we do is that we are telling children yes, there is a monster out there. We believe you. If we believe you, where do we go from there? What’s next? What does the monster do? Is it a cool monster? Is it a fun monster? Is it a scary monster?

Hollie Brymore: Does it have monster friends?

Sean Brymore: Does it have monster friends? And that opens a whole new world. Whereas you’ve got that other experience. That child had a no. That child had a shut down. It’s improvisation basic law. It’s the yes and… Yes, there is a monster. What’s the monster like? That mother was like, “No, there’s not a monster,” so we couldn’t play that game anymore. That was it. We had to do something else.

John Murch: Based upon that, where are we going with children’s imaginations?

Sean Brymore: We have to find ways to engage them. If we’re moving into a heavier tech world, I think we have to be creating apps that can have a-

Hollie Brymore: Genuine sense of-

Sean Brymore: Creativity and imagination usage. Because otherwise we’re just didactically telling children things.

John Murch: But as you said before, there is such limitation within that. Do you find some sense of hope that there is going to be the investment or the push forward to make it a more creative sphere?

Sean Brymore: I’m just thinking off the top of my head and I was thinking about a friend of ours and their son. The father and the son. They play Minecraft together. Sort of Lego building and then exploring the world you’ve Lego built and being able to interact with the world you’ve Lego built. That is the kind of thing I think we need. If we’re going down a tech road, what are these worlds where, if we’re playing video games, how do we make them creative? The difference between a walk around and shoot things came versus a game like the Sims, where you can create an experience, create a world, not be limited. That’s where we need-

Hollie Brymore: It’s more valuable.

Sean Brymore: … to be heading down if we’re going tech way.

John Murch: Talk to us a little bit more about the father/son experience on what you saw there.

Sean Brymore: They’re a wonderful family in general.

Hollie Brymore: They do a beautiful job of raising him.

Sean Brymore: They’re always taking him to the zoo and museums and all sorts of things and really getting him involved in nature and all sorts of things. They’re teaching him a lot of wonderful things.

Hollie Brymore: And he’s very polite. He’s very well-spoken. He’s very interested in a lot of things and he’s willing to learn and I think that is something that they have instilled in… So he’s homeschooled and he has had that instilled in him. Education is fun and the things that we’re teaching you are things that you can use in other things. I’m going to teach you history, but I’m going to teach you history through this. And I’m going to teach you math through this. The world that they build for him is so creative and I think that’s such a honorable thing to do.

John Murch: A lot of parents don’t have that-

Hollie Brymore: Option.

John Murch: … and what both of you can do as creatives is to actually inject yourselves at the point of their lives to actually make them think differently.

Sean Brymore: I think if we can spark something… If we can spark an interest, if we can spark curiosity, if we can spark creativity… and that’s sort of the… At the end of the show, we’re doing this call out for… a call to action is almost what it is at the end of the show… is to get kids to create and share stories in whatever way they feel comfortable doing it. We do it by goofing around on stage incredibly physically, weird accents, the works. But if they want to write, if they want to draw, if they want to interpretive dance, whatever it takes to get them creating and doing things. That’s why we’re now trying to collect 1000 stories. Because we want them to have an outlet for it. I think kids are constantly creating stuff and maybe the epitome of what you can achieve is a spot on the fridge. How can we get kids another avenue that their works can be shared?

John Murch: Let’s talk about those 1000 stories that they’re submitting through the process of what you’re doing. A book is the outcome is my understanding. What kind of book would that be?

Sean Brymore: I suppose it depends on what we get. For example, when we were in Perth, we received a wonderful hand-illustrated selection of about five A4 pages of story. It was wonderful. That suddenly then, in my head, goes, oh boy. This is different than what I was expecting to receive. How do we-

John Murch: What were you expecting?

Sean Brymore: I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure.

John Murch: Were you expecting little pictures? A couple of words?

Sean Brymore: Maybe some pictures. Maybe some words.

Hollie Brymore: We’ll take voice messages.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. The response now is that we will… And I don’t know how we 100% facilitate all these different methods, but we have to stay on top of it as well and try to work it out now, too. Because, at the moment, the website is set up basically to take text submissions. But if people come to the show, they can obviously give us things in person and things change that way. Is it a book in the end? That’s sort of… When we set out, we thought this is probably the easiest way of doing it. We know how to self-publish things. We’ve done some scripts and things in the past. We thought maybe it would tack onto the back of, say, the Bureau script. We’ve updated the Bureau script a bit. Maybe it would go in the back of that. But, now, as we get these submissions, we have to change our thinking about what is the best way of presenting these works? And in a way that they can be enjoyed by other people and continue to inspire other kids. I don’t know what the end result is going to be. I don’t even know if we expected that we would get to 1000 stories necessarily. And even if we don’t, I think what is submitted is incredibly special and how we ensure that that feeling translates to an audience.

Hollie Brymore: When that child gave me that story, I was so humbled by the fact that she had spent all of that time doing that and that she was giving it to me to keep. I was like, “Wow, that’s really good,” and I gave it back to her. She was like, “No, that’s for you.” I was like, that was a five, ten page A4 and I was like, you’ve put this time and this effort and you trust me to hold this for you. That’s so humbling as well.

John Murch: That brings up for me the art of letter writing and things like that, where it’s just like a gift. It is, I’m going to spend the time. Getting back to Tom Hanks, who was talking about the typewriter and actually typing out a letter. It’s not the ink. It’s the impressions on the paper that you’re giving to someone else. How heavy, how soft.

Hollie Brymore: I think it’s that trust thing that we were talking about before. The trust that I’m going to look at that and say, that’s important and that’s good and I’m so grateful that you have made that and you’ve bought that to me and that they’re trusting us with their story and that they’re giving us that, as you say, as a gift. As a thing that I’ve created and I want you to look after it for me.

John Murch: What we’re not seeing with the iPads and everything else is the sticking of the stick figure on the fridge.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. And I’m now, just as we’re discussing this, reflecting on all the things I’ve created over the years, as a child and those kind of things, and Mum’s got boxes of them in the house. Mum and Dad have boxes of them in the house. I’m sure I can find a bunch of them and I’m sure we’ve recently, in moving back down to the basement, found them and had a look through them and had a laugh. But at the same time, they are a really important element of history and being. We are what we create in that essence. I think Hollie is totally right in that… I didn’t necessarily give these out to anyone. I made a lot of comic books in high school that we had a laugh about around the classroom and then I took them home with me kind of thing. They’re still in a folder in the house. But I made them to make my friends laugh and for them to enjoy. We do make things not just for ourselves but for others to enjoy. That’s why we made the theater. That’s why the kids draw the pictures. It’s an expression. It’s something that should be treasured. Whether it’s parents sticking pictures up on fridges or encouraging their children to take up opportunities or encouraging them to be creative in whatever aspect, that expression is so important.

John Murch: Those moments I’m thinking of where a parent puts an arm around the child to help with the crayon.

Sean Brymore: That goes back to our friends playing Minecraft. It doesn’t have to be a picture. Take that time to sit with your child and do something creative with them and be blown away. We mentioned earlier these parents that are blown away when their… They think, my child can’t do this, and then they are proven that, oh, my child actually can do this. I’ve never experienced them doing this before. This is really special.

John Murch: For you two, the theatre itself has become the creation of a story drawing both of you together. Do you get that sense that you are creating a history together based through the theatre that you do?

Sean Brymore: I think, before Hollie, I had an idea of what I wanted in my head, an idea of what I thought my life was going to turn out like, and it definitely did not involve children’s theatre, but Hollie coming into my world has changed it entirely and changed it entirely for the positive. What we are creating is now really important work. When I was younger and doing other things, I didn’t realise the importance that children’s theatre can have.

John Murch: Did you have someone hold your hand during those younger years? Through those experiences that you were saying in terms of the father/son Minecraft? Did you have those?

Sean Brymore: Oh, for sure. 100%. I have the most wonderfully supportive parents, which has been… and they continue to be the most wonderfully supportive parents. And that has made a whole lot of difference in my life.

John Murch: So you can recognize that the hand holding, the embracing of the creative, as you now do.

Sean Brymore: 100%.

Hollie Brymore: Totally.

John Murch: From those days.

Sean Brymore: Yes.

Hollie Brymore: And, equally, I think our parents collectively come from a whole world of careers. Sean’s dad is patisserie chef and Sean’s mom works in school. My mum, before she was a teacher, was an engineer. She used to a plane engineer.

John Murch: How early were those mornings, Sean? Patisserie bakeries. 4:00 AM?

Sean Brymore: My dad would be at work before I would wake up in the morning kind of thing.

John Murch: That’s what I thought. Sorry, Hollie.

Hollie Brymore: Same on my end. My dad was a postman when I was growing up, so he was back from work by the time I woke up. And I think that because we have that broad selection of, like, these are all creative things and these are all impressive and these are all good and these are all… I don’t know about you, but my parents were always trying things. My parents would make clubs and they’d go out and they’d do things and they’d try things and they’d do a lot of things. Not all of them were the right thing. Not all of them were the thing that was, like, the thing, but watching them do that was like, oh okay, I can do a million things. I don’t need to be, like, this is my career path. This is what I’m going to do. When I fell into children’s theater, it was like, okay, let’s see how this goes. It’s the same with… I’ve done every job under the sun. It is all creative. If you do with passion and you do it with pride, then everything is a creative experience.

John Murch: Talking about the creative process, does it keep you up at night? That you want to do so much? How does the creative process live within each of you?

Sean Brymore: There’s never enough time. I think some of the greatest minds in the world have said that. Walt Disney-

Hollie Brymore: Not to toot your own trumpet there.

Sean Brymore: I’m not saying I’m Walt Disney, but… Even more recently, Lin Manual Miranda from Hamilton and-

Hollie Brymore: in the…

Sean Brymore: … In The Heights before that. These are people that there’s constantly something going on. There is a certain subset of people, I think, that have that going on. There is not enough time. There is never going to be enough time. And progressively I think-

Hollie Brymore: We want more.

Sean Brymore: We want more.

Hollie Brymore: It’s like, we were so busy with this. We were so busy booking shows and booking festivals and filling our year and then we were like, let’s do a podcast! It was a bold move.

Sean Brymore: But we did it. And there’s always something else to work on. There’s always another idea. There’s always a new show coming up. There’s always… Something is happening to keep us engaged and using our imaginations, I guess, as well.

John Murch: How you actually manage that, from a grassroots, really, point of view, as well.

Hollie Brymore: So I saw in a video once that you don’t get given a chair at the table. You need to bring your own chair to the table and that’s how you get things done. We so heavily operate on that. Like, if we have to be up until 3:00 in the morning making calls, filling out spreadsheets, emailing this person, emailing that person-

Sean Brymore: Sowing the groin of a reindeer puppet.

Hollie Brymore: At 3:00 AM.

Sean Brymore: We’re there. We’re doing it.

Hollie Brymore: If that what it needs to be, that’s what it needs to be. But that’s the thing. We hustle so hard.

John Murch: Sean and Hollie join us from Brymore Productions. You mentioned musical theatre. Before Hollie came along, musical theatre was your thing.

Sean Brymore: Not from a performance perspective.

John Murch: But from a production point of view.

Sean Brymore: I cannot sing or dance. I learned at university acting and singing and dancing was probably not going to be my thing, so I needed another avenue and producing seemed to be the way to go.

John Murch: Were you drawn to the musical production side?

Sean Brymore: I guess I’d always been interested in musicals. As a kid, my parents would take me to shows in Melbourne. My earliest memories of the theatre are not the show, but just being in the State theatre and the plush red velvet and the brass banister and those kind of things. That feeling was like, wow. What a cool place. And we dress up for it. It was a special outing. We’d go once a year. It was a really special experience. What’s wonderful is that it is an experience that I continue to share with my parents now. Before we did this children’s theater, I did produce a number of shows. I co-produced the Australasian premiere of a little musical called [title of show], which was on Broadway in 2008. I helped transfer that here in 2010. That musical means a lot to me.

John Murch: Why does it mean so much?

Sean Brymore: It was about two guys writing a show about two guys writing a show. It’s very meta. It was four people on a keyboard on a Broadway stage, which is significant because that’s not how the business is done. It’s a full orchestra and it’s chorus numbers and it’s dropping chandeliers and that kind of thing. Here was a show that spoke about being an artist and the struggles of being an artist and the joys of being an artist and the friendship that you get from it. Here it was and they were four people playing themselves and they took the show from a festival, much like one of the fringe festivals, and they took it off Broadway and then they took onto Broadway. That was they said at the start of the show they were going to do and, by the end of the show, you’ve actually watched it get there. If you were lucky enough to see it on Broadway, it was on Broadway. Recently, they did a reunion for 10 years and we were there during our honeymoon to see it, which was a very special experience. What was especially special to me was that I reached out to one of the cast members and the writer because they had their email addresses on their blog at the time-

Hollie Brymore: Rookie move.

Sean Brymore: Rookie move. I was like, I’m going to send them an email. When I read back on it now, it’s like 18 and it’s like, oh my god, I love you guys, I’m fangirling like crazy! But I was like, I’m going to get an automated response saying thank you for reaching out to [title of show] and instead, Jeff Bowen, the composer, emailed me and said, “Sean, it is so nice to hear from you.” I think I’d asked if I could be the number one Australian fan and he said, “Look, someone’s fighting over the title in New Zealand, but Australia is wide open at the moment, so why not? Go for it.” That’s when I started to create these wild YouTube shows with Jarrod, my friend, and we were like, well, if they got onto Broadway, we’re going to go to Broadway to see them on Broadway. It became this odyssey. We suddenly were friends these guys and when we got there, they took us out for dinner one night. It was this wild experience that started happening and connected me with a whole lot of people in America.

Sean Brymore: From that point on, my life’s been very weird and strange and it’s all because of that show. When we produced it in Melbourne, three of the guys came out to see it. The director, Michael Berresse, has been an incredible supporter of everything I’ve done from that moment on, and bringing Hollie into the fold, became an incredible supporter of what we do together and us as a couple. He was one of our groomsmen at the wedding. It’s been this really special friendship, mentorship, I guess, in a sense, and supportive group.

Hollie Brymore: I think it’s an aspirational thing to see as well. For us especially at this point in our career and I don’t think this is where it begun, but it’s got to a point now where it’s like, they started that show at the New York-

Sean Brymore: Music theatre festival.

Hollie Brymore: … festival and then it grew and it grew and it grew. There’s nothing in the world that says that you can’t do that. No one is stopping you from just hustling and doing it.

John Murch: Hollie, musical theatre for you, what was your first introduction with it?

Hollie Brymore: Oh! I saw-

John Murch: Not a great experience?

Hollie Brymore: Excellent experience.

John Murch: When do English go oh!

Hollie Brymore: The first time I went to the theater, I actually saw a ballet. I saw Coppelia when I was six-ish. Six, seven. And then my mum and my grandma took me to see Starlight Express on tour.

John Murch: It wasn’t so popular down in Australia.

Hollie Brymore: Let me tell you what. Starlight Express is incredible.

Sean Brymore: She’s got opinions.

Hollie Brymore: They’ve got roller blades. They’re all trained.

Sean Brymore: They’re in space.

Hollie Brymore: The target audience of Starlight Express as an eight year old.

Sean Brymore: It’s a smash hit in Germany with a custom theatre, but you know, whatever, yeah. Not a weird show at all.

Hollie Brymore: I loved it.

John Murch: I had to play that on clarinet, so.

Hollie Brymore: What a dream.

Sean Brymore: It would have been any better if it was recorder.

John Murch: Actually, maybe it was recorder.

Hollie Brymore: I couldn’t play recorder when I was a kid, but I was in the recorder band and rubbish at playing music. I love music, but I can’t… I have no sense of rhythm. I have no pitch. I can’t do it. I was in the recorder band and it was me and one other girl playing this recorder solo and I didn’t know how to play the recorder so I was just like doing the fingers and pretending to… but there were two of us, so it was like-

John Murch: That’s why it was a solo and not a duet.

Hollie Brymore: It was a bold move on my part. I did it until I was like 10 or 11 and no one was like, “Hollie, I’ve noticed that you actually can’t play the recorder. What are you still doing here?” But good times.

John Murch: Take us back to Starlight Express then.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, I’d love to.

Sean Brymore: I’m sorry for all the listeners you’re going to lose through this podcast.

John Murch: Thank you for staying with us. We’re now going to talk about Starlight Express. What was it about Starlight Express, Hollie?

Hollie Brymore: I had obviously never seen anything like that. As your first thing, it’s like, what is this mayhem? They are singing. It was 3D. They gave you 3D glasses. I cannot believe what I am experiencing right now. I cannot believe that this is what’s happening. And the costumes and the songs. There was this massive, massive cast for a touring production. They’d put the ramps up around the stage in this theatre and I was like, this is incredible! What a world.

John Murch: Did you take up roller blading?

Hollie Brymore: I had roller blades and I gave it a solid go.

John Murch: What music… Let’s stay with Hollie for a moment. What music were you listening to at the time?

Hollie Brymore: S-Club. What was I listening to?

Sean Brymore: Oh, come on. Mika’s got to be coming up soon.

Hollie Brymore: No, that was much later. We were like a Wham! Household so it would have been Wham! It would have been A-ha. We found out the other day… Me and my siblings… I’ve got an older sister and a younger brother. There’s six years in us. My sister’s name is Anna and my brother’s name is Adam. Literally, this year, we were like, our names spell Aha. My mum was like, that wasn’t on purpose. And we were like, it definitely seems like it was on purpose, doesn’t it?

John Murch: If kids don’t use their imaginations when life gets tough during puberty, then they don’t get through some things.

Sean Brymore: No. That’s a big thing.

John Murch: Why have I got these hairy bits? Oh, it’s become I’m this. If you can’t have the imagination to make up a story that’s going to get you through…

Hollie Brymore: I think imagination is the thing that gets you through a lot of things. Especially if times are hard. It’s the feeling of like, I can do and be anything and I can achieve the world.

John Murch: So it was this 80s pop that was getting you through.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, yeah. That was like… ABBA. We had ABBA Gold on VHS and I would watch that a lot. And then my mum had Kate Bush Best Of on VHS and I would literally watch Kate Bush Best Of every day.

Sean Brymore: And that’s why we do weird things now on stage. Because you just watched so much Kate Bush as a child.

Hollie Brymore: Big bubble and I push out the bubble and then I’ve got the light and I’m swinging the light and I am Kate Bush.

John Murch: Sean, what was informing you during those younger, into teenage years?

Sean Brymore: My family listened to a lot of The Four Seasons, Herman’s Hermits… I listened to a lot of Herman’s Hermits as a child. When we used to go on road trips, Herman’s Hermits was the album. Best of Herman’s Hermits. We would listen to that in the car on long car trips. That was my jam. It’s funny. I was thinking… We met at a Beatles tribute concert, but really as a child, my family didn’t listen to a lot of The Beatles. We listened to a lot of Paul McCartney and Wings. Band on the Run is one of my top albums. Desert island disc kind of thing. I would take that with me. Because it’s the first thing I bought on vinyl for myself when I had a record player kind of thing. When I found that, I was like, yes!

John Murch: The first thing you bought on vinyl or first album you bought?

Hollie Brymore: This is going to show my real musical theater colors. I bought Liza Minnelli in Cabaret. Did I ever? Let me tell you what. Good times. And then I got Julie Andrews Thoroughly Modern Millie and I just play those two on vinyl constantly.

John Murch: Beatles tribute concert.

Hollie Brymore: It was a questionable Western theatre choice. It was literally four men dressed as the Beatles singing a preset Beatles playlist. It was very visually quite impressive. They weren’t spot on, but it was okay, wasn’t it?

Sean Brymore: Yeah.

John Murch: How does this fit into the romance?

Sean Brymore: So when we worked in the theatre, we were ushers. On the West End. When your venue is quiet, they shift you onto a busy venue. I was working on Dirty Dancing, so it was pretty quiet midweek and it was-

Hollie Brymore: Every day it was quiet.

Sean Brymore: … crazy Hen’s night on the weekends.

Hollie Brymore: I was at Spamalot, where every day was a quiet day. No one saw Spamalot at the End. Which is a shame because-

Sean Brymore: Great show.

Hollie Brymore: Spamalot’s excellent.

Sean Brymore: And so we were shifted onto the Savoy Theater and it was this Beatles tribute band. I’d been there once before, I think, and seen it and it was a Beatles tribute band. But it was paying the bills, so I was down there and saw Hollie there and she didn’t know how to get out of the theater because the back stage of these places are crazy and I was like, “Oh, I know how to get out of here,” and-

John Murch: So you showed her the back door.

Hollie Brymore: And now we’re married.

Sean Brymore: In essence, yeah. We found out, as we were leaving the theater, we both lived in the same area and we ended up taking the tube together and were busy chatting to each other and… I was like, gosh, she’s really cool. She’s really cool, but she’s got a pixie cut hairstyle and she’s wearing all sorts of crazy clothes. She’s probably a lesbian.

Hollie Brymore: Sean’s also a very camp man. It was same feelings in my head.

John Murch: Same, same.

Sean Brymore: We were like, well, that’s a shame. That’s never going to work out.

John Murch: So let’s go to a club anyway!

Sean Brymore: And then it turns out, we were both straight, so now we’re married! That’s how it works.

Hollie Brymore: What a world.

Sean Brymore: What a world.

John Murch: Let’s head from the back door to out there. What is out there?

Sean Brymore: It’s our newest show. It is our shot at trying to weave the interactive world that we create with Bureau, which is a very language based show, into a show that is equally as interactive, but told through visual storytelling. And in space, no one can hear you scream, so what a better place to set a non talking show but in space? There’s black light and there’s puppetry and there’s probably projection of… like changeable, captured projection kind of things going on. It’s a big, lofty, ambitious show. It’s the first time we’re having a team that’s more than just the two of us. Our hope is that it scales us up from being fringe fair to main stage fair. We want to take the work we’re doing up and we want to take it more global and we want to take it to places that don’t speak English. In essence.

John Murch: To Mars and places like that.

Sean Brymore: Yeah, exactly. All those places.

Hollie Brymore: We want to be on the golden disc. That’s the dream.

John Murch: When did you first learn about the golden disc?

Hollie Brymore: I’d heard of it, but we saw it at Edinburgh Fringe. The most spectacular piece of theatre maybe that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was stunning. It was all about the golden disc and how it came to be and how it existing and being out in the universe affects us and what the long term actual lifespan of it is.

Sean Brymore: Each of the segment of the show was told to one of the tracks, so in essence, it was a jukebox musical, but not.

Hollie Brymore: Genius.

Sean Brymore: And it was underscored with the tracks that were on it. Beautiful visual imagery. It was a very tender, soft piece, where it was basically someone interviewing the inventor of the ship that carries it-

Hollie Brymore: And he was tracking it.

Sean Brymore: And he was tracking it, yeah.

Hollie Brymore: I don’t know if… I think it was partially from truth and partially artistic license.

John Murch: Because, very recently, they released a box set of related material… Of course, Carl Sagan and everyone else got involved in that as well. How does Out There relate then in terms of storytelling?

Sean Brymore: Out There is about what the kids want to project into space. In the same senses that record is a record of human existence out in the world and telling our story, we’re encouraging the children to affect the story that we are going to share about space together. That might be what happens when we arrive on a planet. It might be how we interact with the beings that are already on that planet.

Hollie Brymore: What those beings are.

Sean Brymore: The look and feel and the decisions we make to try and save this astronaut that has become lost in space and needs to get home.

John Murch: The feeling of it. The warmth, the cold, the lack of atmosphere. Or the motion in terms of gravity, for example.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. At the same time, a curiosity. A lot of the way we want to play with the aliens, for a lack of a better term, is we want them to be really… While our human character is discovering this alien world, we want the aliens to be discovering the human world because they’ve snuck on to the ship or something. They’re going to find things like a hammer and have no idea what a hammer is and hilarity will ensue by what these creatures have discovered and how they use it.

John Murch: And how the children, I guess, explain how those things are used as well.

Sean Brymore: Exactly.

Hollie Brymore: I think, equally, it is affirmation of human ability. I think it is an affirmation of you can do anything. I think what’s important… So I’m going to be playing the astronaut character in the show and it’s important… We had a big discussion about this. We were like, it’s important that it is a female and it is not mentioned.

John Murch: They are women, but nothing said.

Sean Brymore: Unmentioned.

Hollie Brymore: Yeah. They are just doing it and they are exploring and they are able to do things by themselves and they, as a character, also need help and they can ask for help. They… again, coming back to the trust thing… are putting their trust as a character in the audience to get them out of this sticky situation that they’ve-

Sean Brymore: Got themselves into.

Hollie Brymore: Got themselves into.

Sean Brymore: Because our audience is basically going to be ground control in the show and they are going to make a series of decisions and choices and experiences that will affect what is happening on stage. What’s funny is trying to work out how we do that with visual language or sound rather than specific spoken words. It’s a lot of discussion at the moment about glow stick arm bands and things. If you want something to go left, for example, you hold one arm up. A lot of the show is going to be a cross between a video game and a theme park ride and a piece of theatre. It’s a very immersive, interactive world where I don’t think any two performances will ever end the same way. It’s going to be really interesting to see how that goes.

John Murch: Which you like very much, don’t you?

Sean Brymore: Oh, yeah.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, we live for that.

Sean Brymore: Not knowing and making a mess.

Hollie Brymore: That mess.

John Murch: Do you document the end of these shows, what does happen, so that you can look at that eclectic range that happens across a month or a year?

Sean Brymore: We quite often record audio of shows and listen back to them. For a while, we were doing a podcast with the stories, but again, it was very time consuming to transpose and then retell the stories and record. Now, we do still record most shows, but we also go off stage and we reflect on things that happened and we reflect on what was the craziest part of the show and what was the funniest part and what spoke to us and those kind of things as well. That experience is important as well. But at the same time, theater is ephemeral and it only happens once. So sometimes it’s equally as nice to forget. One of the funniest things, especially out of Adelaide, is a lot of the reviews have reflected what has happened in the show.

Hollie Brymore: Quite specifically.

Sean Brymore: Quite specifically. They’ll retell some of the stories that have happened and it’s like, that’s fantastic, but the next person that’s coming to see this show won’t get that. They will not. In a sense, it’s great that that’s been captured because someone’s captured that moment that only will ever happen once.

John Murch: If we gave our astronaut a guitar, what songs are they playing in space?

Hollie Brymore: David Bowie. David Bowie Life on Mars.

Sean Brymore: Specific.

Hollie Brymore: Yep. She’s out there. She’s playing Life on Mars. On Jupiter.

John Murch: As we round up, let’s get back to the couple. Both of you are from Brymore Productions. What song brings you guys together?

Hollie Brymore: You know.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. It is… Oh gosh, what’s it called, though? Now I’m singing it.

Hollie Brymore: Do you want me to take this?

Sean Brymore: Yeah, please do.

Hollie Brymore: The song When The Money’s Gone.

Sean Brymore: Oh gosh. You went that way.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, no. That’s where I went.

Sean Brymore: Yep. Okay.

John Murch: Where were you going?

Sean Brymore: I was going to do our first dance at the wedding.

Hollie Brymore: Oh, yeah, but-

Sean Brymore: Yeah, that’s specific.

Hollie Brymore: I feel like… So from The Cher Show specifically… hit Broadway musical, The Cher Show… When the Money’s Gone crossed with Baby It’s All or Nothing. It is-

Sean Brymore: The anthem of our last year.

Hollie Brymore: It is the point in The Cher Show where Sonny and Cher are making their way up in Vegas and it is like… It feels so… Whenever we listen to it, we’re like, we’re there! This is our life now. This is what’s-

Sean Brymore: At the end the song, they’re Sonny and Cher, but at the start of the song, they’re like, we’ve got no money. That’s been this weird anthem I think because we keep having these instances with weird money situations that don’t come through and we feel like the struggling artist sometime.

Hollie Brymore: And we worked together in a warehouse. It was amazing job and it was a beautiful time and we loved it and we quit that to go to Edinburgh Fringe and to move here.

John Murch: What was the wedding dance song?

Sean Brymore: It’s so naft. I Love You Always Forever. Is that the official title?

Hollie Brymore: That might be what it’s called.

Sean Brymore: It’s because, at some point, Hollie would say like, “I love you,” and I would just pull out with, “Always forever near and far closer together every…” and it just became this thing.

Hollie Brymore: It stuck.

Sean Brymore: It just kept happening and happening and happening and it was sort of joke to start with and then, when it came to picking a playlist for the wedding… and we made three playlists plus the actual ceremony bits as well.

John Murch: Are these on Spotify?

Sean Brymore: Yeah, they are.

John Murch: Are they publicly available?

Hollie Brymore: They’re very good.

John Murch: Are they publicly available?

Hollie Brymore: Oh, totally.

Sean Brymore: I think so.

John Murch: Sean, if we could, that’d be great.

Sean Brymore: Yeah, yeah. We’ll link you to them. Hours and hours of joy. There’s a jazz one, there’s a funky one, and there’s a dance one. As the night progressed. I think there’s an instrumental. I think there’s a Postmodern Jukebox version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song on there as well.

Hollie Brymore: We love Carly Rae!

Sean Brymore: I do love a little Carly Rae Jepsen, which is interesting.

Hollie Brymore: We are the tackiest people you’ll ever meet.

John Murch: What is it with Carly Rae that you like? Who’s out on 604 Records by the way.

Sean Brymore: I think there is something a bit underdog ish about her as well. She obviously had the one hit wonder, but then she’s still going. The thing is-

Hollie Brymore: Smashing them out. They’re great.

Sean Brymore: The albums are really good. I think she’s so overlooked as an incredible pop musician. The Emotion albums… So there’s Emotion and Emotion Side B… Emotion Side B has such an 80s feeling to it, but at the same time, I come from this musical theater background and I sit and listen to those albums. There is a story here. This is one of those albums you probably could translate to the stage and have a jukebox musical on. I love that kind of storytelling in a song like that as well. Which is funny because then, on the other end of the scale, then we’ll listen to Macklemore. Macklemore is like our pump up jam.

Hollie Brymore: And Lizzo as well. We’re big into Lizzo at the moment.

Sean Brymore: But then we’ll go straight back to some jazz and we’ll have some classic Louis Armstrong playing or-

Hollie Brymore: I love a little French café Spotify playlist. That gets me through the day.

Sean Brymore: And then chuck on the suite from The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and that’s sort of like our musical taste encapsulated.

Hollie Brymore: Mika.

Sean Brymore: Oh, and Mika. Yeah, of course. Mika.

John Murch: So which one of the Spotify playlists did you end up going with for the dance though?

Sean Brymore: We had a small playlist of all the key songs. This was the song we were going to walk out of the ceremony to. From the film Up. The main score from that.

Hollie Brymore: Married Life, I think it’s called.

Sean Brymore: Married Life, yeah. The Disneyland version. It’s so beautiful. And I think it stops before it gets to the heart-wrenching… They lose each other in that opening scene in Up.

Hollie Brymore: We had Moon River, didn’t we?

Sean Brymore: We did. You entered to Moon River.

Hollie Brymore: Walked down the aisle to Moon River and then-

John Murch: Performed by who though?

Sean Brymore: Audrey Hepburn.

Hollie Brymore: Audrey.

John Murch: Of course.

Sean Brymore: Because Hollie… Less so now that she has the longer hair, but when I met her, she looked like Audrey Hepburn.

John Murch: What’s your favorite children’s song?

Hollie Brymore: What is that Sesame Street album that we listened to on the way to Echuca?

Sean Brymore: The silly songs one?

Hollie Brymore: Is that the one?

Sean Brymore: Which song are you thinking from that album? The, “Oh, we’re going for a ride…”

Hollie Brymore: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Sean Brymore: “We’re going to sit behind the wheel. We’re going to drive a tractor.” It’s not like that. I don’t know. It’s a Sesame Street song like that. We love a Disney park. We love Disney things. Maybe it’s not 100% children themed, but the song There’s a Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow, which was part of the World’s Fair attractions that Walt Disney created, I love that song. That notion of there’s a really exciting day ahead. No matter what the day was like today, there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. That’s a really inspiring number.

John Murch: Do you both believe that there’s a child in every one of us?

Sean Brymore: 100%.

John Murch: Always?

Sean Brymore: Always.

Hollie Brymore: Forever.

John Murch: Until the day we die?

Sean Brymore: Always.

Hollie Brymore: Forever. You can be the grumpiest, oldest… My grandad on my dad’s side. He was hilarious. He was British Northern. He got a…

Sean Brymore: Mobility scooter.

Hollie Brymore: And my dad’s cousin got him an old git thing to put on the back and he thought that was so funny. I think if there’s joy there, there’s joy everywhere. Isn’t there? Everyone’s a kid. Everyone wants to play. Everyone wants to enjoy fun.

John Murch: What’s the most childish thing you’ve done, Sean?

Sean Brymore: I do childish things all the time. I just think you’ve got one shot at this. I’m not going to-

Hollie Brymore: Stop doing the fun stuff.

Sean Brymore: Stop doing the fun things because life says, well, you shouldn’t do that, Sean. I think one of the craziest things we ever did was when we were in the UK, we did a gig and it paid us a really decent amount of money. It was the first time in the UK we had a decent bit of money behind our belts and it should’ve gone towards the wedding. But instead, we booked a trip back to Australia. We decided it was going to be a surprise, so we didn’t tell my family.

Hollie Brymore: But also, we were expecting to stay in their house.

Sean Brymore: Yes. It had been two years. We hadn’t been back to Australia in that two years. We hadn’t ever been able to afford it. We were going to be having this wedding, so no one was expecting it. We told my best friend. That was the only person that knew. Jarrod. We snuck out, basically, and came to Australia. It was midnight when we got home. Jarrod picked us up from the airport. Dropped us off at the house. I knock on the door because I’m like, the doorbell’s probably a bit risky. Now, in the years that I moved out of home, suburbia encroached on my semi rural home, but my home is still semi rural. It’s very dark. At midnight, it’s not very lit. But on the other side of the road, it’s lit suburbia.

Hollie Brymore: Lots of houses.

Sean Brymore: If you’re around in person, knocking on someone’s door, why would you knock on the dark house? So I knock on the door and my dad, who is a very gentle, placid man, is the one tasked with opening the door. We just hear on the other side of the door, “Who is it?” Which is not my dad. I decide not to say, “It’s Sean.” I go, “Oh, yeah, I’m really lost and I don’t know where I’m going. Maybe you could…” And then you just hear… They’re very confused on the other side of the door and then my mum just goes, “Sean? Sean!” And then the door opens and there’s hugs and there’s tears. It was only for a week and it was just-

Hollie Brymore: Completely irresponsible.

Sean Brymore: Completely irresponsible, spur of the moment thing, but I thought we can-

John Murch: Hang on. Was your mother having an affair?

Sean Brymore: No, no, no.

John Murch: Who was the bloke at the door?

Sean Brymore: It was my dad.

Hollie Brymore: Being a gruff-

Sean Brymore: He was just being gruff. He put on a character. So that’s apparently where I got the-

John Murch: I thought you caught your mum having an affair.

Sean Brymore: No, gosh. Oh boy. That would’ve been completely… It was this wonderful experience where we got to be home around these people that we hadn’t seen in a long time. Just have a week with them and completely unexpected. That was so much fun. I would never do it again because I had so much stress on the plane that they’d worked it out and-

Hollie Brymore: Oh my gosh. Ruined the trip.

Sean Brymore: … the whole trip had been ruined.

John Murch: But if you think about it, Sean, as a kid, that would’ve just been every day. You would’ve just done that kind of stuff. So, Hollie, what’s the most childish thing you’ve ever done?

Hollie Brymore: I am endlessly childish. I think I live by the same thing that we were talking about before about children. I’m obsessed with things. I love to know and I love to learn and I love… I’ll find a thing and then I’ll grab onto it and I’ll be like, I love this thing. When I was 18, 19, it was dinosaurs. I was like, I’m into dinosaurs now. I want to know about dinosaurs. Didn’t know about dinosaurs before. Now is the time. I’d go to the museums and I’d read the books. We have so many children’s books you would not believe. 90% of the books that I read are children’s books. When I’m finished with that, I’ll get into Mika real hardcore and I’ll be like, I want to know everything about this person. I want to know every song they’ve ever written. I want to know-

John Murch: I have no idea who Mika is, but that’s okay.

Sean Brymore: What?

Hollie Brymore: You know Mika! Grace Kelly.

John Murch: Oh! Okay, yeah. In the country at the moment. Yeah, sorry. I’m on sunrise.

Sean Brymore: You wouldn’t believe how angry Hollie was that we drove out of Melbourne on the day that he was performing in Melbourne.

Hollie Brymore: I can only encourage you to go listen to some Mika. If that’s all anyone gets from this, Mika has been releasing excellent music for the last 10 years and every single album is better than the last.

John Murch: And an artist that brings you two together.

Sean Brymore: Yeah. When we were in Brisbane and we were about to move back, Hollie decided to book tickets to see him in London even though we had not booked flights yet.

Hollie Brymore: Classic Hollie move.

Sean Brymore: And then when we got there and we saw that show that night, that was the night that I was like, I’m going to marry Hollie. So, yeah, Mika is the…

Hollie Brymore: At the same time, I was like, I’m going to marry Mika.

Sean Brymore: Yeah, which was awkward.

Hollie Brymore: And I didn’t, so.

John Murch: Brymore Productions. Both Sean and Hollie. Thank you very much for joining radionotes.

Sean Brymore: Thank you so much for having us.

Hollie Brymore: Thank you. It’s been a wonderful time.