Wendy Blacklock AM
Wendy Blacklock’s father started out as an actor, but changed careers midstream – just as she would.
She worked in radio drama and in 1954 toured Australia and New Zealand for J.C. Williamson in Dear Charles with Sophie Stewart.
In 1959 Channel 7 brought Wendy Blacklock back to Australia to star in the first TV musical, Pardon Miss Westcott.
Gordon Chater had warm memories of sharing the stage with Wendy Blacklock in revue at the Phillip Street Theatre in 1956: ‘Around the Loop (referring to the tram loop at the top of King Street) ran for 58 weeks. That was when I first became aware of Wendy Blacklock. She was a fine comedienne. She was an upcoming actress, sensitive to being a child of old money and determined to prove herself without family help, which she has done abundantly. She seemed slightly aloof to me then. Ridiculous! Later, I bought a house from her, adjoining hers. Her two children, Nicole and Lisa, are my godchildren and Wendy has become a friend I have trusted with my life. She is now the distinguished head of Performing Lines which promotes Australian theatre at home and abroad.’
Wendy Blacklock’s father started out as an actor, but changed careers midstream – just as she would. Born in Sydney, Blacklock grew up in Lindfield and studied acting at the Rathbone School of Dramatic Art. In the early 1950s she went to England for further training and experience in weekly rep at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. On her return home she worked in radio drama and in 1954 toured Australia and New Zealand for J.C. Williamson in Dear Charles with Sophie Stewart. In 1955 she started her association with Sydney’s legendary Phillip Street revues. She romped her way though Two to One (with Max Oldaker), Around the Loop (with Chater, Oldaker, June Salter and Barry Humphries), An Evening with Noel Coward, and the musical Mistress Money. After this she toured as Barbara, a mischievous schoolgirl, in The Happiest Days of Your Life with Margaret Rutherford, and appeared in the title role in Cinderella for Rudas Productions at the Elizabethan Theatre in Newtown in December 1957. She worked with ventriloquist Peter Brough on ABC Radio and appeared on early Australian television.
During another spell in England she worked on TV with comics such as Bernard Bresslaw and Benny Hill, and appeared in traditional music hall melodrama at the Players Theatre.
In 1959 Channel 7 brought Wendy Blacklock back to Australia to star in the first TV musical, Pardon Miss Westcott. Then there was more theatre – from 1963 she appeared for the newly established Old Tote Theatre Company in Playboy of the Western World, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Hostage (Behan). In 1968, after starring in Revue at the Loo at the Astor Motor Hotel in Sydney, she toured for Williamson’s in the comedy Spring and Port Wine with Alfred Marks. She also found time to broadcast English lessons to Vietnam over Radio Australia.
Photograph courtesy Performing Lines
Gordon Chater: The Almost Late Gordon Chater, Bantam Books, 1996,
John West: ‘Wendy Blacklock’, in Companion to Theatre in Australia Currency Press, 1995