I was given a lovely reminder tonight of my time in the Riverland area of South Australia.
Having caught up recently – after a long time – with a friend from my time there, Jacqui, she showed me a photograph from my deep, dark past as an actor.
When I was based in the area between 1989 and 1991, I joined the Renmark Theatre Group. I seem to remember being encouraged to come along by my friend Claire, as it was something to do to pass the time, and to meet people. And of course, we were both interested in the theatre, though I had never been on stage before in a dramatic role.
Well, if you’d call playing the role of Jack’s mother in “Jack And The Beanstalk” a “dramatic role” that’s how I made my stage debut.
Drawing upon all of my camp reserves – and believe me, they exist in reserve – I played the mother over three or four nights and a couple of afternoon performances. As I remember, it was far too long, and it wouldn’t have suprised me if half the audience had left at half-time. Though of course they didn’t. It was a fun experience.
Several months later I played another role in a play about discrimination. I don’t remember the play, except that it was on at the Renmark Hotel, and I had to dress up as a gorilla for one scene. It was a more adult play, as I recall. As I recall, it wasn’t as well attended as “Jack And The Beanstalk”, though.
It was lovely to receive from Jacqui tonight a copy of the photograph she found in Adelaide. It’s brought back some lovely memories.
It’s interesting, though, as I’ve searched high and low on the internet for any memories of photographs or anything related to the Renmark Theatre Group, but have come up with virtually nothing, except a mention on this blog, and a reference to receiving some funding.
I’m sure there are more photographs around the place, and would love to see any from that time if anyone stumbles across this page in search of the Renmark Theatre Group.
James O’Brien and Jacqui Conroy/Yelland on stage at the Chaffey Theatre, Renmark
Renmark Theatre Group – Jack and the beanstalk
Renmark Theatre Group 1991 – James and – I think – Karen