Agelink Theatre revisits the 1950s in The Time of Your Life

Actors Ashana Murphy (Hamilton Hill), Sally Sander (Leederville), Sarsi Elsberry (Gooseberry Hill) and Rosemary Barr (Subiaco). Picture: Martin Kennealey d444316
Actors Ashana Murphy (Hamilton Hill), Sally Sander (Leederville), Sarsi Elsberry (Gooseberry Hill) and Rosemary Barr (Subiaco). Picture: Martin Kennealey d444316

VETERAN actor Sally Sander’s memories of the 1950s are bathed in sunlight.

The 71-year-old spent the decade in the prime of her youth, living on the picturesque Perth riverfront and immersing herself in the colourful local theatre scene.

“I had it good, very good,” Sander said.

“We came from Cape Town, South Africa (when she was six) and lived in Peppermint Grove. Very stupidly, my father came out, bought a house there and promptly didn’t work for five years while my mother put him through law school.

“She was a trained nurse and took in boarders – can you imagine taking in boarders on The Esplanade in Peppermint Grove?

“We certainly couldn’t afford that house – 15 rooms it was. It was lovely and old but it’s no longer there.”

Now a Leederville resident, the thespian’s recollections of post-WWII WA differ greatly to those of her latest on-stage character.

Living in a small wheatbelt town, Lizzie – one of two protagonists in Agelink Theatre production The Time of Your Life – recalls the trials of the era with townsfolk caught up in the hysteria of the polio epidemic and threat of communist spies.

“The play is based on the stories of 30 WA seniors, who shared their reminiscences in workshops at Citiplace Community centre over two years,” Sander said.

“Because these actors are very active and engaged, director Jenny Davis decided to make them part of a creative process.

“The show is a slice of history and will be particularly interesting for young people who might not know much about the war or the era.

“For the older people that Jenny worked with, I think the show will make them feel like they have been validated.”

The local stage star, who made her debut at 11, performs rarely these days, however, recently enjoyed a small role in homegrown children’s film, Paper Planes.

“My husband (actor Maurie Ogden) and I worked for 30 years, pretty well nonstop, in every theatre in Perth and we’ve done musicals to Shakespeare – the full catastrophe,” Sander said.

“I can still learn lines, but stressed about whether I would have a full recall on the night, so started working in retail clothing. I still have a part-time job at Blue Illusion at Claremont Quarter.

“I’m doing this show for Jenny who is an old friend.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: The Time of Your Life

When and where: October 17 and 18 at St George’s Cathedral, Perth

Tickets: Free as part of Heritage Week Perth, bookings at admin@agelink.com.au

When and where: October 23 and 24 at The Redmond Theatre, Prendiville College, Ocean Reef.

Tickets: www.trybooking.com/ITGP