The West

Theatre Corner set in sacred ground
Edgar Metcalfe at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth for it's 50th birthday in 2006. Picture by Iain Gillespie/WA News

Perth's late and great stage leading lights are being honoured at St George's Cathedral, where a "Theatre Corner" will be established along the lines of Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey.

The names of 30 artists, producers and patrons including James Penberthy, Dame Mary Durack, Eric Edgley, Edgar Metcalfe, Kira Bousloff and Sir Charles Court will be dedicated on a memorial in the cathedral on Sunday.

The memorial is an initiative of Anglican Dean of Perth John Shepherd, a prominent arts supporter.

The Playhouse Theatre - the scene of many of Perth's greatest stage memories - stood for more than 50 years next on Pier Street next to the cathedral before it was demolished in 2012 to make way for the redevelopment of the cathedral precinct.

"This is a first move in commemorating the State's artistic heritage in this way," Dr Shepherd said. "I see it as a forerunner of similar memorials to musicians and 'fine art' creators."

The dedication ceremony will be held at St George's Cathedral at 5pm on Sunday, WA Day.

The idea emerged after the 2012 death of Metcalfe, the director and actor known as "Mr Playhouse", whose friends asked Dr Shepherd to accept and dedicate a garden seat in his honour in the cathedral grounds. This encouraged Dr Shepherd to consider a memorial in the south-west corner of the cathedral itself.

Cathedral drama consultant Anthony Howes came up with the initial list of 30 honourees after consulting Museum of Performing Arts curator Ivan King and other theatre figures.

He hoped Theatre Corner might become over time as significant to WA theatre as Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey was to literature.

"It is realised that the list of those who receive such recognition at the dedication is not exhaustive or exclusive," Mr Howes said. "Other names will be brought for consideration as more become aware that such a memorial exists."

Poets Corner is the section of Westminster Abbey where the giants of English literature have been buried or commemorated since the interment of Geoffrey Chaucer in 1556.


Bernard Manning (actor-singer, 1888-1961)
Ida Beeby (director-producer, 1889-1957)
Anita Le Tessier (actress-producer, 1891-1986)
Lily Kavanagh (drama teacher, 1897-1988)
Colleen Clifford (actress-director, 1898-1966)
Eric Edgley (performer-producer, 1899-1967
Frank Baden-Powell (director-producer, 1903-1980)
Nita Pannell (actress-director, 1904-1994)
Beryl Hearder (educator, 1905-2001)
Harold Krantz (architect-patron, 1906-1999)
Jeana Bradley (director, 1906-1991
Sol Sainken (actor-producer, 1907-2008)
James Bailey (actor, 1909-2003)
Sir Charles Court (premier-patron, 1911-2007)
Dorothy Krantz (actress, 1911-1994)
Dame Mary Durack (writer, 1913-1994)
Kira Bousloff (dancer-director-chorographer 1914-2001)
Margaret Ford (actress, 1916-2010)
Jack Davis (writer, 1917-2000)
James Penberthy (composer, 1917-1999)
Constance Ord (producer-director, 1918-2010)
Dorothy Hewett (writer, 1923-2002)
Neville Teede (actor-drama teacher, 1924-1992)
Peter Parkinson (architect-designer, 1925-2014)
Ronald Davies (politician-patron, 1926-2011
Patricia Sadka (ballet dancer, 1930-2012)
Edgar Metcalfe (actor-director, 1933-2012)
John Milson (director, 1937-2013)
Geoffrey Gibbs (actor-educator, 1940-2006)
Reg Bolton (performer-educator, 1945-2006)

The West Australian

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