Person - Myra Leard

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In the early 1930s Myra Leard was connected with the theatrical activities of the Friends of the Soviet Union (FOSU) and the Workers Art Club (WAC). On 18 April 1931 she was one of the actors and directors of a variety evening for the Women’s Committee Against War with Nellie Rickie, Valerie Wilson, Montgomery Stuart, Cleo Grant and pianist Alice Pura. In September 1932 she and Stuart organised WAC’s second playreading at 273 Pitt Street. In 1935 she worked with the FOSU, acted in a one-act play and did comedy sketches at WAC on a bill with Walter Hunt, and in 1936 she acted in The Shoplifter and a repeat of Waiting for Lefty and played Hedvig in NTL’s first production of Till the Day I Die.

One of eight children of Claudius and Lucy Jane Leard, Myra was born at Merriwa NSW. She became an elocution teacher and ran drama classes for girls. By 1927 she was collaborating with Montgomery Stuart who had a theatre studio in the Royal Arcade Chambers. They put on an evening in aid of the Central Methodist Mission’s Night Refuge in Francis Street in 1928 and in 1930, when her office was in Sydney Mechanics School of Arts building 275a Pitt Street, adjudicated the Junior Red Cross Eisteddfod. The same year she acted in Shakespeare with Doris Fitton’s Independent Theatre. On 31 August 1932 she and Stuart were in a benefit concert at Mosman Town Hall, half its proceedings allocated to a Music Week Fund to establish a bed in a city hospital for musicians and their dependants. Myra Leard performed in a number of shows in St James’ Hall, and went on to teach drama at Doris Fitton’s Independent Theatre. She married Frederick Royston Cox at Woollahra in 1941.

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