One time I was with Trish (my wife) in her native Sydney. The phone rang at about 11:30 one morning. It was Terry Clarke an all round Australian theatre man. In his time, composer, lyricist, director, artistic director, and of course actor. At the time of the call Terry was working at NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
“You’re here?!” Said Terry.
I agreed that we were.
“Can Trish come and talk to the kids?”
“I think so. When?”
“Today. Lunchtime. 1 o’ clock.”
I checked with Trish, and in due time we rocked up at NIDA at ten minutes to 1 o’ clock. Terry greeted us and we went on stage to see an auditorium packed with young drama students. I wondered what Trish would say, we had not had time to organize any thoughts about it, and I was mentally reviewing the archives in case she was short of material and needed some back up.
I need not have worried. Trish took a breath and then spoke without (as the saying goes) hesitation, deviation or repetition, for exactly the available hour. The kids loved it.
But then of course what she had to say was of interest, being as she is an Australian actress who has worked in major theatre centers in three continents, almost never been out of work, played many classical roles including sixteen Shakespearean leads, three Blanches and one Stella (in A Streetcar Named Desire), and among many other classical and contemporary roles, a couple of Hedda Gabblers. She’s worked with Sir Laurence Olivier and with Dame Maggie Smith. She’s worked in London’s West End, at the Stratford Ontario Festival, The Guthrie in Minneapolis, and at the time of writing, more times on Broadway than any living Australian (and many Americans), most recently in 2022 as Mrs Dubose in To Kill a Mockingbird. And all of this on stage not screen. Which is why you may not know her name.
In short she’s had a career and now in her 90th year, with seven decades of near constant work behind her, is still having it.
Patricia Conolly will play Vera in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of 4,000 Miles by Amy Herzog. They open October 14th and play until the 30th.
Tickets available at: