Person - Laurie Booth

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LAURENCE LEE BOOTH (ca 1926 - 2017)

Introduced by his brother who saw plays there but was not a member, Laurie joined NT in 1949. He had no acting experience but learned on the job. In 1951 he acted in a Workshop Girl in a Coffin , followed by The Circling Dove (in which he said he was Frightfully English),Sky Without Birds 1952 (actor and stage manager), School for Wives 1952, directed a Workshop Box and Cox 1952, played the postmaster in An Inspector General 1952, edited Spotlight! and organised publicity, became Acting President in 1953 when Graeme Stewart went to Bucharest, acted in Christmas Bridge 1953 (one night they played to an audience of two who after interval moved from the front to the back row and the cast thought they’d gone home), was on Front Of House for the last night of Reedy River on Anzac Day 1954, directed Better a Millstone 1954, conducted Stanislavsky method acting classes 1955, and directed Mother Riba 1955.

Intellectual and well-read, Booth trained as a craft teacher, graduated BA with Honours 1963 and MA, taught at Sydney Boys High, and, not owning a car, walked to the city. In 1956 he was in London as an exchange teacher, sailing there first class.

On return he played Hale in The Crucible 1958 (he and John Gray thought it a great play in contrast to John Armstrong who considered it of limited appeal), directed No Strings Attached 1958, and ran acting classes in 1960.

A worshipper at Christ Church St Laurence, Laurie was a CPA member for a time but left because communism was anti-religion. He had an ASIO file. He disagreed with those in NT who claimed anyone could act with experience, but he found NT interesting and enjoyable. He wasn’t left-wing and didn’t do Contact shows. In 1963 he resigned from NT, saying that in the old days it was narrow minded, now it was too broad minded, and that he hated acting, but had remained an active member for years because of NT’s manifesto. He congratulated Miriam Hampson on holding the theatre together in its difficult days.

A long-term resident of Hurlstone Park, Laurie Booth died aged 90 on 17 January 2017.



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