As months go, March was rather special. It marked the ending of a significant period in my life’s adventures. I ended my tenure as Chairman of the Board at Queensland Theatre Company. Despite one or two little pangs, it felt absolutely right to be going now after nearly 8 years in the job and two before that as a Director. I’ve loved every moment of my time on the Board working on behalf of a Company that is very special to me. It is where I began my professional acting career and where I met the man I would eventually marry.
It’s no secret to my friends and colleagues that I’ve always wanted to return to the stage as an actor. Over the years many have asked me when or if I was going to make the leap and whether I missed it. I’d answer ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘Not right now,’ and ‘Yes, of course,’ but a full-time career as a theatre academic for over 21 years made working professionally near to impossible. It also just didn’t seem the right thing to do whilst I was still QTC Chairman – awkward.
When I retired from full time work at USQ in mid-2008 I just wanted to draw breath for a bit. I had enjoyed the experience of Cabaret for the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba that year, and, from then on, I would suggest to anyone who cared to listen that I’d be looking for acting work once my other theatre responsibilities were cleared. I’ve been lucky enough since retirement from full-time work to get back into the voice-over business, which I love – though I do miss the radio drama that used to be part of every actor’s life 40 years ago in Brisbane. As far as stage work is concerned someone must have been listening.
I got a call out of the blue last month asking if I would read for a role in a new play to be produced in Brisbane in August. It’s Water Wars by Elaine Acworth and is being presented by La Boite Theatre Company and Umber Productions in their Indie season. There is also an initial small regional tour in southern Queensland. I did the audition and was offered a role. I’m going to be working for the first time with two former students – a fine actor, Kellie Jones and director Shaun Charles. I’ll also be working with Elaine Acworth for the first time – looking forward to this! A new play has its challenges but, for an actor, it’s nothing if not exciting to create a role for the first time.
And a week or so after that I auditioned for a part in Secret Bridesmaids’ Business being produced in Toowoomba for the Empire Theatre. To my delight the role of Colleen, mother of the bride has come my way. SBB is a tried and true and very popular Australian comedy, and I have a feeling it’s going to be great fun but also challenging – comedy is hard!
I have to say I feel a little overwhelmed and hugely thrilled by all of this.
First up is Secret Bridesmaids’ Business directed by Lewis Jones. Rehearsals begin in early May. Meantime, I’m loading the scripts onto my iPad and doing the read, read, read prep before it all begins. I’m going to keep a rehearsal log here as I did with Cabaret.
So, here I go again, and hello third age. I’m joining the ranks of ‘senior artists.’ Excited? MUCH!