Pamela Rabe | Interview The Australian December 2020

Pamela Rabe opens up about Wentworth and working on stage

On television she is known as Wentworth’s Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson. Actor PAMELA RABE, 61, splits her time between Melbourne and Tasmania and is starring in the world premiere of The Last Season as part of Sydney Festival

Before this interview I actually felt a bit nervous and realised it’s because I just binged season eight of Wentworth. How does it feel to play a character who provokes such a visceral reaction?

By the time my work meets its audience it’s always a good 6-12 months after it’s finished so I’ve generally well and truly moved on and [the reaction] takes me by surprise. Generally speaking, people are pretty good. Just occasionally I see a shift in eyes. Some people hyperventilate a little bit but I’m not sure if that’s more to do with the fact that somebody they’ve had in their loungeroom for a binge session has suddenly materialised in front of them or whether it has something to do with the terror Joan Ferguson wreaks.

Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)

Thinking about one’s ability to change, is it a case of once a villain, always a villain?

Well, that would be sad, wouldn’t it? We all have a — probably never more so than now in the middle of a pandemic — a desire for things to be normal and not to change. So maybe if people want to put things in a box. I haven’t found that personally. If it’s a question of a professional “once a villain, always a villain”, that’s certainly not been the case. I’m lucky enough to work across a lot of different media doing a lot of different roles that stretch me in different ways. But I don’t ever take for granted the great gift and privilege it was to play that villain. I’m certainly not the first person to say villains are wonderful to play. Read More

Artists in isolation: Roger Hodgman and Pamela Rabe

Artists in Isolation: Roger Hodgman and Pamela Rabe

On the latest episode of ‘Artists in Isolation’, acclaimed Australian director Roger Hodgman, Pamela Rabe’s husband, reflects on the joys of isolating in Southern Tasmania and his incredibly diverse directing career.
Click here for the full video

Artists in isolation: Pamela Rabe and Roger Hodgman

Thanks to Vesna for sharing this <3

Pamela in The Red Devil Battery Sign

Added this old photo of Pamela Rabe to The Red Devil Battery Sign section. Thanks to David Cooper for sending me such a treasure from 1980!

Pamela Rabe in The Red Devil Battery Sign (1980)

October 14, 1980: Tennessee Williams comes to the house for dinner. Roger Hodgman, who is directing the Vancouver Playhouse production of Williams’ late play The Red devil Battery Sign, brings him. With them come Williams’s current West End young man-companion and a perky student actress from UBC Roger seems to be currently dating (Roger’s wife Helen, the novelist, has left him for another woman, and she and her girlfriend, Barbara, who are soon to move to Australia, were round here recently for a riotous night of drinking—jaunty Australian reds that they brought with them—and hot-tubbing under the lodge-pole pines). Floyd St. Clair and David Watmough complete tonight’s group. 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