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GTR: Which years were they? CH: So, I graduated in 1990, so from 1990 to 2000 I basically was very involved with Lunchtime Theatre. So we would perform a half an hour, a half an hour show and we’d also provide lunch and we get it for five dollars. And we would do two shows at lunchtime. It was a wonderful, wonderful company. We had actors, the actors would make the soup and bread and served it to the audience as they came in. And when they perform ... and it was just ... we had such an eclectic audience. We would have people who had English as a second language sitting with office workers, sitting with people from focus groups. Shoppers and people, like it was just an extraordinary, wonderful ... CH: I lived in Melbourne those years. How come I didn’t know about this? CH: Why, we’ve played ... we were like 85% audiences every day. So it was very well supported by the city of, by the people in the city of Melbourne. And it was a wonderful company. So that’s when I moved from, so I started acting in it and then I moved to directing a lot of those shows, as well, so ... GTR: What a brilliant thing. CH: Yeah. And I do a lot of directing at University of New South Wales as well. I was there for a couple of years. Directed their drama society there. So I always knew that I loved directing and I loved acting and it was really ... And I think that’s one of the keys for creative existence now is to develop as many skills as you can, so that you are more employable, really. GTR: That’s absolutely brilliant. And how beautiful to know your calling from such a young age. CH: Yes. I read recently around children want, if you can get them to find their passion before they hit their teenage years, then you don’t go through a lot of the angst. And I certainly never did. I just remember being a bit confused that some of my peers were struggling so much, and I think that was a lot about feeling so accepted and feeling like I had a home in theatre. So, yeah. GTR: What a clarification of, yeah, that’s absolutely brilliant. What do you look for, Catherine, in a play? What makes you want to do a play? Direct a play?

“HALLOWED GROUND…IT FOCUSES ON FOUR FEMALE DOCTORS BUT IT ALSO HAS OTHER STORIES THAT OF OTHER FEMALE MEDICS WHO HAVE WORKED IN THE ARMED FORCES OR WITH THE ALLIES. AND IT’S AROUND THEIR PERSONAL JOURNEYS.” CH: Look, I think story is ultimately the key. If I think the story is strong it’s always the thing that grabs me. So, you know, if it’s got a character with whom we identify, it’s got high stakes, there’s a sense of urgency or drive through the page. Story is so fundamental to us understanding who we are and to reflecting, reflecting ourselves on stage. It was different with Hallowed Ground, and I was drawn very much to Hallowed Ground because of my association with Helen Hopkins and Carolyn Bock, the producers of The Shift Theatre Company. I have worked with Helen before and I was major admirer of Carolyn’s work, and I knew them both personally to be such wonderful people. And I think when you are working, especially co-operatively, the most important thing is to be working with generous, kind people. Because the experience and the journey is going to be the thing that sustains you because you’ve got to ... And the quality, the quality of the writing of course, but it was more around my associate with those two women that when they came to me with Hallowed Ground. I really thought the material was wonderful because it was material that, and that story that I hadn’t known, I hadn’t heard about and I think there’s a lovely

line in the play ... I think I know that there is, which is, “the history of women is the history of silence.” And I already felt kind of, you know, a bit ashamed that I didn’t know some these astonishing stories of women’s sacrifice in the war and what women had done, these women doctors, in order to serve. So that was combine, so it’s often the people who are approaching me, that and fundamentally the story. Whether I feel that this is a story that I think would be exciting to tell, that I would like to tell, or I would like to develop. But, yeah ... Story is absolute but the soul, if we don’t have it, we just don’t grow. And we don’t, you know, learn more about ourselves. GTR: Yeah. Perfect, perfect. And I think what you were saying there too, Catherine, about having good people along for the journey is so important because, of course there will be bumps, and grinds, and stops, and detours, etcetera along the way, so yeah, if that good personal is essential. Yeah. CH: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. You want to be having fun, I always say to people, it’s a play. We’ve got to remember the word, P. L. A. Y. If we’re not playing, if we’re not finding that creative joy then we’re doing something wrong. And that often is around having the right group of

THE LAST POST – 2019 ANZAC DAY EDITION  33  

Profile for The Last Post Magazine

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

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