After a damaging experience with a controversial play that received savage review critics, La Mama Theatre’s Artistic Director Liz Jones AO swore off performing.
Luckily, after a decade’s hiatus, one of Australia’s most respected theatre practitioners, the late Maggie Cameron, enticed her back.
‘Maggie decided I needed to get back into acting and she encouraged me to do a performance called Care Instructions,’ Liz says.
‘I said, “I don’t think I am capable. I can’t memorise scripts anymore,” and she said, “Yes you can,” and she proved to be right. We ended up taking it to Denmark, it was a marvellous piece.
‘Maggie enticed me back into the magic and I have never regretted it.
‘Since then I have had more work than I have ever had, which is very empowering. In a way, it does say something about our art culture respecting its elders and that is a very wonderful thing because, unlike the Indigenous community, we generally don’t have a culture that has learned to respect its elders.
‘Being respected does make life much more pleasurable and it keeps you younger.’
Liz has been heavily involved with the fiercely independent La Mama Theatre for the past 48 years, helping to nurture a staggering number of artists including Jack Hibbert, Uncle Jack Charles, David Williamson, Cate Blanchett and Judith Lucy.
‘Many, many people have become household names through La Mama and so many artists have been born in its rich fertile ground, but it has also enhanced the lives of thousands of people who haven’t become famous,’ Liz says.
She hopes her festival performance will encourage more people to support La Mama. ‘It’s such an extraordinary warm, caring and loving place.’
Watch Liz's 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.