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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Players : Australian Actors on Stage, Television and Film
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Australian theatre, television and film industries are dynamic and creative in ways that could never have been imagined half a century ago. Since the 1950s these industries have expanded and demonstrated extraordinary vitality. Our vibrant Australian performing arts industry would not exist in its current form without the creative contribution of actors. Actors are the public face of the performing arts, carrying the immediate responsibility for the success of each show. Yet they are sometimes left out of theatre history. It is the actors, and often the characters they play, that we remember when we recall a favourite television program, film or play, long after we have seen it. It is the actors who make a play or a television program credible, enjoyable and memorable. The aim of the essays in this series is to document and interpret the specific contributions of actors who have worked in Australia for most of their lives, in order to understand their artistry and their world. The actors profiled in these pages came to maturity in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. They have shaped our ideas and our identity.' (Introduction)

Contents

* Contents derived from the St Lucia, Indooroopilly - St Lucia area, Brisbane - North West, Brisbane, Queensland,:AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource , 2016 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction : Professor Anne Pender, University of New England, Anne Pender , single work criticism
'The Australian theatre, television and film industries are dynamic and creative in ways that could never have been imagined half a century ago. Since the 1950s these industries have expanded and demonstrated extraordinary vitality. Our vibrant Australian performing arts industry would not exist in its current form without the creative contribution of actors. Actors are the public face of the performing arts, carrying the immediate responsibility for the success of each show. Yet they are sometimes left out of theatre history. It is the actors, and often the characters they play, that we remember when we recall a favourite television program, film or play, long after we have seen it. It is the actors who make a play or a television program credible, enjoyable and memorable. The aim of the essays in this series is to document and interpret the specific contributions of actors who have worked in Australia for most of their lives, in order to understand their artistry and their world. The actors profiled in these pages came to maturity in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. They have shaped our ideas and our identity.' (Introduction)
The Art of the Theatre : Helmut Bakaitis, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Helmut Bakaitis is an actor, writer and director. He arrived in Australia at the age of six in 1950 on board the Wooster Victory, a special vessel for displaced persons. His parents fled Lithuania in 1943 in fear of the advancing Russian army, and during their journey, Helmut was born in the town of Lauban near Dresden in Germany, (it became Luban and is now in Poland). Bakaitis spent his first five years in transit camps run by the UN in Germany and Austria, as his father worked as a translator.(1) In Australia as a boy Bakaitis found life difficult. He was persecuted because of his name and his accent and as a result, he immersed himself in books and movies. He would sneak off from home in Bankstown on Saturdays to go to the cinema on his own. When his mother discovered he had watched Those Redheads From Seattle she banned him from the movies. But a few years later his parents purchased the Pacific Milk Bar next door to the Kings Cinema in Balmain. As a teenager he would dash in to the movies and rush out again five minutes before interval in order to help serve milkshakes and coffee to the cinema patrons.' (Introduction)
Strindberg for Breakfast : Elspeth Ballantyne, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Elspeth Ballantyne grew up in a household that revolved around theatre, with both her parents involved in amateur theatre groups. At meal times her father, Colin, would lecture his small children on Jonson, Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg and Shakespeare. Colin was away for the first three years of Elspeth’s life. When he came back from his war service, he resumed his day job as a photographer and his evenings in the theatre. He hoped that each of his three children would also share his passion for drama and for the classics. At this time there was no permanent professional theatre in Adelaide and the Ballantynes put all their energy into developing theatre in their home state in amateur companies. Later Colin Ballantyne founded the State Theatre Company of South Australia. Elspeth’s mother Gwenneth (Richmond) was a drama teacher and amateur theatre actor and like Colin devoted much of her time to theatrical ventures.' (Introduction)
Wendy Blacklock and the Transformation of Australian Theatre, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Wendy Blacklock is an actor and comedienne who has worked on radio, stage and television. In the first half of her career, Blacklock appeared in revue theatre, pantomime and musical theatre. She played the leading lady in the first Australian musical television play, Pardon Miss Westcott, broadcast on ATN 7 in 1959, and later on, performed in new Australian plays by David Williamson and Dorothy Hewett during the New Wave period in which Australian theatre and drama were undergoing huge transformation. Television audiences also remember Blacklock playing Edie McDonald in Number 96. Later on in her career Blacklock moved into production and worked for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. In 1982 she founded Performing Lines, an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to developing and producing new Australian works in order for them to tour in Australia and internationally. Blacklock’s innovative work with Performing Lines has enriched Australian theatre, extending its reach and empowering local performers and companies. Blacklock has worked with numerous contemporary arts companies. In particular Blacklock’s work has enabled a wide range of Indigenous Australian plays and performers to present their theatrical events to audiences all over the world.' (Introduction)
I Am A Camera : Julia Blake, Anne Pender , single work biography

'Julia Blake’s interest in drama began early in her life. She says: ‘I was always as a child fascinated by character and character faces and the way people walked … at first I wanted to be an artist and I was always sketching people. I mean always, compulsively’, she told me. As a young girl Julia learned ballet and took elocution lessons. Her parents encouraged her to enjoy the arts as a child in spite of their strict views on refraining from the more hedonistic arts. Blake’s family were conservative Primitive Congregationalists. Her father Fred Blake worked as a commercial artist and Edna was a homemaker who had enjoyed a good education but frowned on women working. Julia was an excellent student and completed an honours degree in drama and French at Bristol University, the only university in the UK that offered drama at that time. Blake’s first significant role was playing Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera in her final year of university. Blake recalls that this experience ‘changed things for me, in that I thought I can do this… And I knew that I was obsessive and passionate about it’.' (Introduction)

Mr John Clarke : New Zealand Boy, Anne Pender , single work biography
'As a little boy John Clarke lived with his parents and younger sister Anna, in Palmerston North in New Zealand. John’s mother, Neva, was a keen reader and writer. She encouraged her children to observe people and imagine what they were thinking and doing. This was before television and the kids grew up with radio, although Neva was interested in the theatre and music, too, and took Anna and John to concerts and plays. At the Opera House they saw performers as diverse as Joyce Grenfell ‘who was very funny’, and John Gielgud, ‘who was very serious’ Clarke recalls. John also saw a South African revue called ‘Wait a minum’ as a boy and thought it was exceptionally funny.' (Introduction)
The Barry Creyton Show, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Barry Creyton is an actor, writer, director and composer who has succeeded as a theatre maker on three continents. He was a much adored television personality early in his career in Australia, when he was catapaulted to stardom as part of the satirical television phenomenon that was The Mavis Bramston Show. Soon afterwards he hosted his own variety show. He has written three highly successful stage plays and appeared on stage and television throughout his career. Creyton has distinguished himself playing and writing comic roles although he has also played dramatic roles, and in recent years he has focused on adapting and directing classic plays. Barry Creyton is a purist who prefers live performance to television, and cautions against a tendency in directors to ‘do a concept production rather than a production which reflects the value of the play’. He has constantly challenged himself throughout his career. As soon as he achieved national celebrity status in the 1960s he decided to leave Australia in order to work where nobody knew him, and test himself in a new environment as a working actor.' (Introduction)
Max's Method : Max Cullen, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Max Cullen is familiar to audiences for his warm, crumpled face and for his ability to inhabit so many characters. Over the last fifty years Cullen has appeared in numerous productions on the main stages of Sydney and Melbourne, on television in a wide range of roles, and in many Australian feature films. He worked at the Ensemble in the early years, with Hayes Gordon, and with the Nimrod Theatre Company when it was established. Cullen’s work on television and film ranges across a wide range of genres and modes, from {{Skippy}} (1967) (C718078) to Bodyline(1984) to Sunday Too Far Away! (1975) and on stage, from Hamlet (1981) and Volpone (2002) to Waiting for Godot (2003).' (Introduction)
‘Mags ’: The Magic and Mesmerising Maggie Dence, Anne Pender , single work biography
'At the age of fifteen, Maggie Dence wrote a letter to Chips Rafferty, informing him of her interest in a career as an actress, and asking for advice on how to begin. The popular film actor advised her to take acting classes with Rosalind Kennerdale in Double Bay, or with May Hollingsworth who taught acting at the Independent Theatre in north Sydney.' (Introduction)
The Boy’s Sheer Poetry : Alan Hopgood, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Alan Hopgood, AM, is both a writer and an actor. He is one of the most significant stage playwrights of the 1960s, and has contributed scripts to numerous Australian television series and feature films over many years. Hopgood has appeared in plays on stage, television and in feature film from the 1950’s until the present. More recently he has developed a genre of short plays based on health issues called HealthPlay, that are performed around Australia especially for the medical profession.' (Introduction)
Denise Scott : An Extraordinary Woman, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Denise Scott is a storyteller. She tells funny stories about her family and herself. When she talks her large and pretty oval-shaped face lights up, her big blue eyes flashing. Her face is soft, fleshy and friendly, and her stature is small and generously rounded. Scott tells stories about ordinary life and makes them extraordinary. She is obsessed with the idea of ordinariness and its opposite. For more than 30 years she has entertained audiences as a clown, in a comedy troupe, as a stand up comedian, as a radio presenter, game show personality on television and as an actor in several television series. Scott is a gifted physical performer whose energy on stage is radiant. In 2014 Scott presented a full-length show in the theatre called Mother Bare, in which she regaled the audience with stories about her own life. Scott won the prestigious Barry Award for this extravagant one-woman show.' (Introduction)
Tony Sheldon : Child of the Theatre, Broadway Star, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Tony Sheldon’s career began in childhood in the way that family dynasties encourage. He was just seven years of age when he appeared on television singing along with a comic actor, Graham Kennedy, on the Australian variety television show, In Melbourne Tonight. Before that appearance Sheldon had featured on In Brisbane Tonight, singing the song, ‘Swinging on a Star’, alongside his mother, the popular entertainer Toni Lamond.' (Introduction)
Henry Szeps : ‘It’s My Party’ – Acting For Life, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Actor and writer Henri Szeps speaks three languages fluently. He was born in a refugee camp in Switzerland during the Second World War. His parents had fled Poland in fear of the invading Germans in 1938, and he lived in two countries before arriving in Australia at the age of eight. He already spoke Swiss German, French and Yiddish. The young Henri discovered acting at Greenwich primary school in Sydney and taught himself tumbling on a grassy slope in the park at Lavender Bay. As a teenager he found a gymnastics teacher called George Sparkes who taught him to do back flips and had a profound impact on his life. It was this man, Sparksey, who eventually helped Henri to put together a club act. Szeps studied science and engineering at university and also took acting classes with Hayes Gordon at his boatshed theatre in North Sydney. In 1963 Gordon cast Szeps in a play by Durrenmatt called The Physicists, and he has performed at the Ensemble Theatre regularly ever since. Szeps recalls that Hayes Gordon advised his young student actors to do ‘vaudeville, variety, stand up comedy’. Szeps took his teacher’s advice, worked the clubs, and went on to become one of the most well-known comic rogue characters on Australian television, playing the selfish older son in the landmark series Mother and Son that ran from 1984-1994.' (Introduction)
'Strong Actor' : Nick Tate, Anne Pender , single work biography
'After more than fifty years as an actor Nick Tate recalls the opening night of Don's Party at the Old Tote Theatre in Sydney on 20 September 1972 as ‘thrilling’ and ‘extraordinary’. Standing on stage at the curtain call alongside Pat Bishop, Wendy Blacklock, John Ewart and the other cast members, Tate felt a sense of pure pride and satisfaction ‘to be involved with an Australian production of that quality… It was a huge landmark in my life’ Tate recalls. The success of the production was gratifying, particularly as he had very nearly given away the chance of playing Don, and had so many misgivings initially. Tate was thirty years of age when he appeared in the Williamsonplay. From that day on he did not question his future.' (Introduction)
'I'm Very Stella' : Jacki Weaver, Anne Pender , single work biography
'Jacki Weaver’s life as an actor is a story of immense talent and resilience. At the beginning of her career when she was 15 she played Cinderella at the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney in 1962. She also appeared on the television program Bandstand several times as a teenager. Weaver studied elocution as a child and trained at the Independent Theatre with Doreen Warburton and Doris Fitton. As a youngster Jacki was determined to pursue acting but her small stature, girlish beauty and blonde hair often meant that she did not get the ‘strong characters’ that she wanted.(1) Weaver achieved success in the early 1970’s in Stork, Caddie and The Removalists(stage play and film). She appeared in the feature films Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Squizzy Taylor (1982) as well as in the telemovies Do I Have to Kill My Child? in 1976 (winning a Logie for Best Actress), Polly Me Love (1975) and the musical play set in the Depression called The Girl From Moonooloo in 1984, playing a part written especially for her. She also appeared in The Perfectionist in 1987. (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Introduction : Professor Anne Pender, University of New England Anne Pender , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Players : Australian Actors on Stage, Television and Film 2016;
'The Australian theatre, television and film industries are dynamic and creative in ways that could never have been imagined half a century ago. Since the 1950s these industries have expanded and demonstrated extraordinary vitality. Our vibrant Australian performing arts industry would not exist in its current form without the creative contribution of actors. Actors are the public face of the performing arts, carrying the immediate responsibility for the success of each show. Yet they are sometimes left out of theatre history. It is the actors, and often the characters they play, that we remember when we recall a favourite television program, film or play, long after we have seen it. It is the actors who make a play or a television program credible, enjoyable and memorable. The aim of the essays in this series is to document and interpret the specific contributions of actors who have worked in Australia for most of their lives, in order to understand their artistry and their world. The actors profiled in these pages came to maturity in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. They have shaped our ideas and our identity.' (Introduction)
Introduction : Professor Anne Pender, University of New England Anne Pender , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Players : Australian Actors on Stage, Television and Film 2016;
'The Australian theatre, television and film industries are dynamic and creative in ways that could never have been imagined half a century ago. Since the 1950s these industries have expanded and demonstrated extraordinary vitality. Our vibrant Australian performing arts industry would not exist in its current form without the creative contribution of actors. Actors are the public face of the performing arts, carrying the immediate responsibility for the success of each show. Yet they are sometimes left out of theatre history. It is the actors, and often the characters they play, that we remember when we recall a favourite television program, film or play, long after we have seen it. It is the actors who make a play or a television program credible, enjoyable and memorable. The aim of the essays in this series is to document and interpret the specific contributions of actors who have worked in Australia for most of their lives, in order to understand their artistry and their world. The actors profiled in these pages came to maturity in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. They have shaped our ideas and our identity.' (Introduction)
Last amended 16 Jan 2017 14:48:58
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