Person - Evelyn Docker

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Evelyn joined NT in 1951 when she was working as an artist’s model at the National Art School where she posed for Judy Cassab, Dorothy Thornhill and Thea Proctor. She played a peasant in Spanish Village 1951, was in Workshop O'Flaherty VC 1951, in The Candy Store 1952, Georgette in School for Wives 1952, Rose the barmaid in the first Reedy River 1953, the title role in Mother Riba 1955, in Arms and The Man 1956, Tituba in The Crucible 1958, Mrs Wrexall in No Strings Attached 1958, Dorine in Tartuffe 1960, rehearsed reading of Fun and Games by Len Fox 1960, The Marriage 1963, Smugglers Beware 1966, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window 1967 and Mum Kanga in Mumba Jumba and the Bunyip 1968. In 1969 she went to Europe. She returned to NT for And A Happy New Year 1976, The Captain of Kopenick 1977 and Yobbo Nowt 1981. In 1953 she acted in The Traveller for the Maritime Industries Theatre at Wollongong, and in 1962 played the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet for Sydney University Players, a production directed by Eddie Allison . With other NT actors she was in the cast of Cecil Holmes’ 1957 film Three in One.

Evelyn also sewed costumes and helped backstage and in the office. She was made a Life Member in 1987.

Evelyn was born in Glasgow, the youngest of five children of James Thomson a sergeant in the hussars. In 1923, with her widowed mother Elizabeth née Donley and sister Ethel Muriel, she migrated to Melbourne on the Balranald from Tilbury, following her brother Robert (Bert) and sister Edna who had already arrived in Australia. The family settled at West Footscray. In 1926 Ethel Thomson married Trades Hall Council Secretary (Norris) Robert Parry.

Evelyn married union official Norman George Docker at Redfern NSW in 1943. Named after a Gallipoli casualty, Norm was Waterside Workers Federation Federal Industrial Officer/Assistant General Secretary 1951-1983, and General Secretary 1983-1984. He died in 1992.

Postwar Sydney had an acute housing shortage. Evelyn's brother Bert, a returned serviceman, was convicted of trespass in 1946 when he led a group who occupied Redleaf at Double Bay. Evelyn and Norm were one of the first squatters at Maramanah, another mansion at Kings Cross. After their divorce in 1952, Evelyn was a long-term public housing tenant at Surry Hills before moving into retirement accommodation. She died in Sydney on 20 May 2003.

Evelyn’s son Alan Norman Docker (1947-99) made an appearance as Peter in Reedy River 1953 and played a soldier in Smugglers Beware! 1966 after which he lived in Europe, rejoining NT in 1973 when he served briefly as Artistic Director. He was in John Grant's Journey 1974, Harding in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (which ran for five months in 1975), the matriarch's brother in Vassa Zheleznova 1976, the title role in The Captain of Kopenick 1977, Workshop Gormanghast 1978, Brown Pelican 1980, And I Still Call Home Australia 1980, Workshop The Trap 1981, The Alchemist 1982, and Yobbo Nowt 1985. He directed Workshops of Three Stories 1983, The Boat and Act 1 Arms and the Man 1984 and Bed, Billet-Doux, Banana 1986, and mainstage shows Thatcher's Women 1990, Kafka's Dick 1995 and Translations 1997. Alan also served on various NT committees and worked professionally on stage and film. His son Einar Alan Docker acted in Thatcher's Women 1990, a 2002 revival of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and a revue Stop Laughing, This Is Serious! 2002.

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