INSIDE CRACK – Off With the Fairies
An interview with M’ck McKeague
By Alex Morris @Nemiwai
Make your way to The Roost Creative next Thursday arvo in Newcastle’s CBD and you will find the usual freelance office space completely transformed into a portion of 27-year-old M’ck McKeague’s brain. M’ck is Crack Theatre Fest’s Setting the Stages artist from Queensland.
Called NEVERLAND (well, this is embarrassing), M’ck’s installation reimagines its* teenage bedroom, drawing on elements of the original Peter Pan novel, Peter and Wendy, by JM Barrie. Vibrating between past and present, Neverland explores different elements of time. The autobiographical piece presents one of many non-normative transgender narratives that are rarely represented in dominant contexts.
M’ck said many transgender narratives exist that don’t get shown on Four Corners or 60 minutes.
“My motivation is not that I think my story is particularly special, but that many of us have stories that sit outside the ones that are told all the time,” M’ck said. “There are so many of us who don’t live up to the expectations the mainstream media has for trans people.”
M’ck grew up in Central Queensland, identifies as transgender and has overcome more than a few challenges in life so far.
“It was tough, I didn’t come out until I left Rockhampton, that was an absolute necessity,” M’ck said. “There were heaps of queer kids I went to school with and none of us came out while we were there.”
M’ck knew it* was queer while in Rockhampton and that gender didn’t make sense, but there was no language available to articulate those feelings. M’ck didn’t know the word “gender queer” existed until the age of 18. However, M’ck said the internet was a savior.
“I would meet people [online], all kinds of different people, and that was a real thing that gave me hope,” M’ck said.
Moving to Brisbane made things easier. before moving M’ck met NEVERLAND’S Associate Artist, Nathan Stoneham online and has collaborated with Nathan for many shows.
“When I was 16-17 years old I spent a lot of time on band forums, one of the people I met is now one of my best friends, and he’s also working on Neverland. Nathan and I lived together my first year out of school,” M’ck said. “I lied to my parents and said we didn’t meet on the Internet.”
M’ck first enrolled at QUT to study journalism but hated it. M’ck later picked up a contemporary performance elective and loved it. M’ck then switched degrees.
It took M’ck six or seven years to finish the degree because of some traumatic life experiences.
“I had a massive breakdown and then I was diagnosed with bipolar and PTSD. I kind of have worked my way back from there. I finished my degree part-time and started working on theater shows and that was the thing that got me back into the world,” M’ck said. “There was a while I didn’t think that was possible.”
Along with addressing transgender stories, M’ck has also weaved in its experience of mental health as a teenager and describes Neverland as a big hit of nostalgia.
“I have a stereo and all of my CDs. Everyone can do whatever they want. You choose the music, you choose the lighting you rummage through my stuff. There are diaries under the mattress you can read. There’s an old PC set up and you can troll through my music or play Solitaire or Minesweeper.”
*NOTE: M’ck has requested “it” as the preferred pronoun when referring to M’ck in third person.
Wander through NEVERLAND (Well this is embarrassing) at your leisure, or stay while, or come back again and again – starting from 4pm and running till late each day of the festival – Thursday 1st through Sunday 4th Oct.