Perth actor Ursula Johnson turning 90 during Limelight’s Pygmalion season


Ursula Johnson, left, as Mrs Higgins and Kaitlin Okely as Clara Eynsford Hill in Pygmalion.
Ursula Johnson, left, as Mrs Higgins and Kaitlin Okely as Clara Eynsford Hill in Pygmalion.

PERTH actor Ursula Johnson will turn 90 during Limelight Theatre’s season of George Bernard Shaw’s popular play Pygmalion.

The great-grandmother and former maths teacher and accountant will play the role of Mrs Higgins in the theatre production that inspired the musical My Fair Lady.

Johnson, who has worked in theatre since 1969, said her greatest challenge these days was keeping up with her much younger cast.

“They tend to speak and think appreciably faster than I do,” she said.

“Fortunately, I have the advantage of good clear diction and many years of stage experience.

“I am also still recovering from a bad fall, which means I am not as mobile as I was, but the director (Jacob Turner) has been generous in agreeing to keep my moves to a minimum.”

Johnson said performing in Pygmalion had appealed to her after enjoying Shaw’s plays while growing up with them.

“It is good to have the opportunity after so many years to play a role I have always wanted to do,” she said.

“Shaw writes extremely well and I like his use of words.

“I’ve done some commercials, television and film professionally over the years at various times but quite honestly I don’t get the same oomph as I do with live theatre.

“I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop.”

Pygmalion is at Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo, from October 12 to 21. Tickets at www.limelighttheatre.com.au.