Pamela Rabe | No Business Like Shrew Business 1991

No Business Like Shrew Business

From cackling with glee on a broomstick to playing the fiery Kate in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Pamela Rabe controls the message she gives.

At First I didn’t recognise Pamela Rabe. The last time I saw the Canadian-born actress she wore a tall, pointy black hat, a chin to match, and an evil grin. That was five months ago when she stole the show as the Wicked Witch of the West in the ‘Wizard of Oz’, cackling with glee as she careened about on her broomstick.

Now, with her hair in a brunette page-boy style, Ms Rabe sat demurely sipping an iced coffee and studying a script of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, in which she will play the fiery Kate (or Katharina).

Although she began acting in Vancouver, Pamela Rabe’s career began in earnest eight years ago in Melbourne as an aspiring 23-year-old. She moved into the dramatic mainstream, appearing predominantly with the Melbourne Theatre Company, and has become one of Australia’s most accomplished stage performers. Recent appearances here have included leads in ‘As You Like It’, ‘Cho Cho San’, ‘The Heidi Chronicles’ and last November’s ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’.

In Vancouver, Ms Rabe had worked with director and husband-to-be Roger Hodgman, and accompanied him to Melbourne when he took up the post of lead of drama at the Victorian College of the Arts. After Mr Hodgman was appointed associate artistic director at the MTC and eventually took over the company’s helm from John Sumner, Ms Rabe became uneasy about the possibility of being regarded as “Mrs Hodgman” each time she was cast in an MTC production.


Pamela Rabe | No Business Like Shrew Business (Photo by

A few of Pamela Rabe’s many stage guises: Kate (second from right), in shades and bridal beil, is the latest in the MTC’s 1950s-style ‘The Taming of the Shrew’
(Photo by The Age)

Thus, 18 months ago, she decided to base herself in Sydney. She landed major roles in the Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘The Ham Funeral’, ‘The Secret Rapture’ and ‘The Three Sisters’, as well as ‘The Rover’. Now, having established her stage credentials beyond dispute (and to her own satisfaction) in both cities, Pamela Rabe is back with the MTC, at least until September. Read More

Pamela Rabe Interview 1990

New Face In Town

PAMELA RABE earned accolades from critics for her performances with the Melbourne Theatre Company. In Sydney she is attracting similar attention. AMRUTA SLEE reports

AS a fresh-faced drama student in Canada, Pamela Rabe played out her first professional role — a hooker — under the gaze of Tennessee Williams.
The legendary American playright was guest director at the tiny Vancouver Playhouse Acting School where she studied theatre. Rabe, rehearsing a small part, had plenty of time to observe Williams who had a disconcerting habit of discussing actors’ merits while they were on stage.
“He told me I had great legs,” she says cheerfully. To put it in perspective she explains she was so intimidated by everyone at the time that being watched by a theatrical icon was no more frightening than anything else. Now she sees it as a great introduction to the industry.
After that she fell in love with an Australian and in 1983 came out here to marry him — a move which coincided with the start of her acting career.
Home was Melbourne, where she became familiar to audiences as a member of the Melbourne Theatre Company, but at the moment it’s Sydney. “No-one in Sydney has seen me. I’m a new face.” she says. Read More

Vancouver actress Pamela Rabe wins award in Australia

Vancouver actress Pamela Rabe wins award in Australia

Vancouver’s Pamela Rabe, an actress who has been working in Melbourne for the last five years, has won the Australian equivalent of a Tony award. She’s earned a Green Room Award for leading actress for her role as Alice B. Toklas in a play called ‘Gertrude Stein and Companion‘.

Pamela Rabe 1988 | The Vancouver SunRabe, 29, graduated in theatre from the University of B.C. and was seen fairly often on the Vancouver Playhouse stage, including its production of Tennessee Williams’ ‘The Red Devil Battery Sign‘ in 1981. She is married to former Playhouse artistic director Roger Hodgman who is now a.d. of the Melbourne Theatre Company.

Her mother Rita Koropatnick was in Melbourne on a month’s visit that happened to coincide with the awards ceremony on Feb. 26. “Pam didn’t tell us she was nominated for anything until the night before at dinner. She said at least it should be a sparkling affair and maybe I’d like to go.”

“I was so amazed and happy when she won – for a Canadian girl to win in Australia. It was quite a gala, with opera and dance stars up for awards as well.”

Rabe gave her mother the award to take home. “It’ll get more mileage out of me here than it would get over there,” says Koropatnick.

The production of Gertrude Stein and Companion is supposed to go to Toronto and Montreal early next year, she adds.


Source: The Vancouver Sun | 29 March 1988

Pamela Rabe Interview 1987 All I Want For Christmas



LIVING SO FAR from the family homestead in Canada means that Melbourne actress Pamela Rabe doesn’t often get the chance to see her family, so it’s no wonder that seeing them, or at least talking to them, would be high on her list of priority Christmas presents. “I’d just love the opportunity to see them all again. We haven’t been together for years,” she says. “There are eight of us, and I’m the only one outside the country. The others are scattered all over Canada. Christmas was usually the only time we spent together. Unfortunately, I can’t go home this year due to work commitments and none of them can come here, so I’m feeling very lonely. “The next best thing would be a phone link-up. Can you imagine eight of us trying to hold a conversation? None of it would make sense with all the giggling!” Read More

Pamela Rabe Interview 1984

Space and High Style

Canadian actress Pamela Rabe has lived in Australia less than two years, but already she is certain she wants to stay.

Pamela, 25, made up her mind at an early age that this might be the place for her. “There are similarities between Canada and Australia,” she said, “such as each other’s colonial heritage. And each country has had to fight an inferiority complex, Canada with regard to the USA, and Australia with regard to Britain.” Read More

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch

Trying out for Stratford

It’s been only a day and a half since Gillian Barber first heard that Stratford Festival artistic director John Hirsch would be at the Granville Island Arts Club on Thursday conducting auditions for next year’s season, and with the Talking Dirty matinee Wednesday, she’s had only a day to prepare.

She’s chosen speeches from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Michel Tremblay’s Forever Yours, Marie-Lou, but rather than follow the lead of some of her colleagues who are silently mouthing their texts one last time, Barber is sitting idle, and outwardly. at least, composed.

When she auditioned for Hirsch last November he stopped her performance to offer some suggestions.

“I gather from other people that the people he did stop and work with were the ones he was interested in,” she says optimistically.

If there’s any truth to the rumor, the situation looks good for Barber’s predecessor, Pamela Rabe. Asked to run through her speech, also coincidentally from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a second time, Rabe is scarcely allowed a line before Hirsch interjects.

“Taste what you are saying,” he urges from a seat several rows back of the stage where Rabe is doing her best to navigate around furniture left from the Talking Dirty set. “Taste the words, chew them, and spit them out. Don’t let a single syllable escape you.”

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch 1982 | Photo by Ralph Bower

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch 1982 | Photo by Ralph Bower Read More