Pamela Rabe | ABC Local Interview | Grey Gardens

Communism, delusion and art – fascinating combinations

PAMELA RABE, one of three people handpicked to program next year’s MTC season. She also stars in a new production of ‘Grey Gardens‘, based on a true story of ‘how the mighty have fallen’ – also a fascinating look into self delusion. Pamela plays little Edie, and Nancye Hayes plays Edith Bouvier Beale, they were Jackie O’s Aunt and cousin, who used to be filthy rich and swanky and moved in the highest society. But they hit hard times and sank into delusion. The house became a junk full of feral cats and they became reclusives. ‘Grey Gardens’ opens on 25 November til 4 Dec, 12 performances only at the Arts Centre Playhouse.

Jon’s co-host Stuart Littlemore is a barrister, author and former Media Watch host, also speaking tonight (10 November) at the Wheeler Centre for Law Week, it’s a free event at 6.15pm (in the south wing of the State Library).

FRANK MOORHOUSE, prizewinning author. He started as a newspaper copy boy – now his mantlepiece includes a Miles Franklin, a Walkley, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the National Award for Fiction. His new book ‘ Cold Light’ is the final volume of his epic trilogy (a companion to Grand Days and Dark Palace).

Stuart Littlemore, Frank Moorhouse, Pamela Rabe (Samantha Stayner - ABC Local Radio)Stuart Littlemore, Frank Moorhouse, Pamela Rabe (ABC Local Radio)

ABC Local


Pamela Rabe - Life Matters Interview

Life Matters | In the next room, or the vibrator play

Sexual healing has come a long way since the 1880s.

Then doctors administered some very special treatments to women diagnosed with ‘hysteria’, apparently a common condition in women at the turn of the century.

A play making its Australian premiere, In the next room, or the vibrator play, explores this medical condition, and the preferred treatment.

Directed by Pamela Rabe and starring Jacqueline McKenzie.

Pamela Rabe and Jacqueline McKenzie | Photo by Jane ShieldsPamela Rabe and Jacqueline McKenzie | Photo by Jane Shields

Source: | February 2011

Pamela Rabe | The Ottawa Citizen 2000

An ‘Extraordinary Journey’

Pamela Rabe is a star in Australia and now, Jamie Portman reports, the Canadian actress is coming home and bringing Virginia Woolf with her.


When Pamela Rabe left Vancouver for Australia in 1982, she knew she was embarking on “a great adventure.” But she still didn’t know whether she would make it as an actress. Today, she is one of Australia’s most acclaimed performers — with some 50 plays, six films and eight television productions to her credit. She has a devoted national following Down Under: teenage girls adore her and send her letters and wait at the stage door with flowers.

Yet in the land of her birth, she remains an unknown — a situation the Shaw Festival plans to remedy this summer when she reprises one of her greatest Australian successes, a one-woman version of Virginia Woolf’s classic A Room Of One’s Own, at the intimate Court House Theatre. For Rabe, it is as though the wheel has come full circle.

“What has happened is amazing, actually,” she says in an interview. “I count my lucky stars. It’s been an extraordinary journey.”

Rabe was born in Oakville, an hour away from the Shaw Festival, but was raised on the West Coast. She attended the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School and had roles in several productions at the Playhouse itself.

She also fell in love with Australian-born director Roger Hodgman, who was head of the school and later artistic director of the Playhouse. When Hodgman returned to Australia in 1982, she went with him. A year later they married.

Pamela Rabe 2000 Read More

Pamela Rabe | On the boards, up from down under

On the boards, up from down under

BRISBANE, Australia — After 18 years in Australia, during which she has established herself as one of the country’s best actors, Pamela Rabe is coming home to Canada to “connect the dots.”

Rabe, who was born near Toronto and raised in Vancouver, came to Australia in 1982 as a 22-year-old just graduated from drama school. She has since worked in almost 50 stage productions, eight TV series and six movies, including ‘The Well‘ for which she won the Australian Film Institute’s best actress award in 1996.

For the next few weeks, Rabe will be in Brisbane in Martin McDonagh’s award-winning play ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane‘. On May 14, the morning after the curtain comes down on Leenane, Rabe, 40, flies back to Canada to spend four months at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake, Ont. She will be in George Bernard Shaw’s ‘The Apple Cart‘, directed by her former tutor Christopher Newton, and also in the one-woman play ‘A Room of One’s Own‘, based on the Virginia Woolf novel. Rabe won the Sydney Critics Circle best actress award last year for Room.

Pamela Rabe

She’s excited about returning to Canada for the longest period since she left as a young woman. “It’s going to be an odd cultural connection, but it will really join up all the dots for me.” she told the local newspaper. “I’ve got seven brothers and sisters and a mother waiting there for me. Read More

Pamela Rabe Reviews

Rabe Reviews: The Age Feb 2000

Pamela Rabe is one of our most celebrated actors, yet worries that the roles will dry up. But, as Robin Usher reports, her final curtain is likely to be a long, hectic way off.

For actors, the worry never stops. National acclaim and universal respect do not bring the job security and settled home life that other professionals take for granted. Pamela Rabe is one of Australia’s most gifted actors who has made her mark in all mediums — film, television and theatre — with work lined up 12 months ahead. But the future is still uncertain.

Her latest concern, now that she is home in Melbourne after a year away, is that work will disappear as she approaches middle age.
“I’m the sort of person who will worry about anything,” she says. “Now I’m waiting for the roles to start drying up. The dry season will start pretty soon — it’s the nature of things. I just hope I’ve got the resources to get through it.
“If you do (survive), there’s no one else left because the attrition rate is huge once people hit their 40s, men included. There’s just not enough work and people decide to go and get a life.”
Judging on appearances alone, her concern is ridiculous. At 40, Rabe’s striking beauty is undiminished, while she is renowned for her razor-sharp intelligence. She is wearing a full-length, white linen dress in the late summer heat, accompanied by sandals and sunglasses.
Two years ago at the Cannes Film Festival, men chased after her in the streets to beg her husband, former Melbourne Theatre Company artistic director Roger Hodgman, to let her go with them. The story is told by Samantha Lang, director of the film The Well, in which Rabe starred.
“Pamela played Hester in the film, a frumpy, dowdy character,” Lang says. This meant that when Pamela appeared in the press tents no one knew who she was because she seemed different — beautiful and commanding.” Read More

Pamela Rabe Interview 1999

Rabe Reviews

It’s hard to imagine Pamela Rabe as Goldilocks. Blonde and precious. When you think of the parts she has played over the past few years, those are not the Pamela Rabecharacteristics that spring to mind. Strong, yes. Passionate, yes. Committed even. But blonde and precious?

But Goldilocks was a seminal role. Her first lead, she says. And if she were a smartarse, she would say it was what turned her on to acting.It was the dress, you see. In Canada in the early ’60s, her sister Jacqueline got “the greatest frock in the world” to wear to their uncle’s wedding. She was going to be the flower girl, but that didn’t stop young Pamela from coveting the dress. When she landed the role of Goldilocks at kindergarten she also wangled the dress to wear. It was her first lead. Before her hair changed color, of course. And long before she came to Australia. Read More

Pamela Rabe | Drawing Deep | Who Magazine Interview 1997

Drawing Deep

From Yukon to Melbourne, it’s been a roller-coaster ride for AFI Best Actress Pamela Rabe

Pamela Rabe couldn’t be in Melbourne to claim her Best Actress gong at the Australian Film Institute Awards on Nov. 14. And despite her prerecorded acceptance speech, the star of The Well didn’t even know the award was hers. At the time, the Canadian-born performer was 900km away, treading the boards as Noel Coward’s capricious Amanda in a sparkling production of Private Lives, and discovered she’d won the AFI “about 30 seconds” before taking her bow at the end of the play at the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf Theatre.

“I knew for sure by the look on [actress] Kirrily White’s face when she came out to join us for the curtain call,” Rabe says merrily. “Just this beaming big red smile!” But it wasn’t until STC director Wayne Harrison stepped onstage to make a congratulatory speech that the news was official. “I’d also found out that day that I’d just won the Best Actress award at the Stockholm Film Festival,” an ecstatic Rabe continues, “so I was already a little bit happy.”

Pamela Rabe | Photo by Philip Le Masurier (1997)

No wonder. But even before the awards, 38-year-old Rabe’s haunting star turn as The Well‘s Hester and her stunning supporting performance in 1996’s Cosi had put her on a cinematic roll. A striking, softly spoken, supremely urbane woman with long, gleaming dark hair and a thoughtfully edgy manner, she bears not the slightest physical resemblance to the spinsterish Hester, into whose fraught soul she so compellingly delved in the dark, suspenseful drama. Read More