Suzannah Churchman trained at the Oxford School of Drama and worked in theatre, radio, TV and film in the UK for many years. She arrived in Perth in 2008 and had a three-kid career break, resurfacing by accident in 2017 to play ‘Grandma’ in Koorliny’s The Witches. In 2018 she played ‘Thelma Cates’ in Old Mill Theatre’s production of Night Mother, for which she received a Finley award for Best Actress. This year she has appeared in Tim Winston’s Shrine as ‘Mary’ for Melville. Suzannah is also an award-winning writer of short stories, and on winning the Southern Cross literary prize in 2017, the judging panel commented ‘this writer is clearly the secret love child of Stephen King and Angela Carter’ (which is easily the nicest thing anyone has ever said about her). Suzannah is privileged to be back with the team at Koorliny with a genuinely lovely bunch of talented and dedicated humans.
We asked Suzannah some important questions ahead of her title role in Driving Miss Daisy.
GIVE US 5 REASONS PEOPLE SHOULD COME TO SEE DRIVING MISS DAISY.
- It’s a beautifully written play. The only off-Broadway play to win both a Pulitzer and an Academy award for best film.
- It’s Funny, poignant, and as relevant today as it was when It was written.
- This is Jon Lambert’s directorial debut. Jon is a huge part of Koorliny and has used his talents to produce some brilliant performances and visually lovely sets.
- A fabulous team of cast and crew who have worked hard to bring this play to life and care about the characters
- Driving Miss Daisy is staged in a cabaret style, allowing you to eat copious amounts of cheese during the show.
WHAT ARE 5 THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THEATRE SINCE GETTING INVOLVED?
- There is always something to learn, so stay curious.
- Watching film and TV is like taking a picture on your phone. It’s unchanging, repeatable like a time capsule.
- Theatre is like alchemy. It’s living a moment, while sharing it with strangers, whose presence as an audience becomes part of the performance. It’s unpredictable and never the same twice.
- Respect your audience – if they tell you something is wrong believe them.
- Try, wherever possible, not to be a dick.
WHAT ARE YOUR 5 BEST THEATRE MEMORIES?
- Tap dancing on my Nan’s glass-topped coffee table, signing Ethel Merman’s ‘Everything’s coming up roses’ with a mop on my head, while she watched me with a wincing, horrified expression. No doubt a combination of envisaging my imminent death and dubious singing ability.
- Doing our final bows in a show and Jon Hurt bursting out alien fashion from the red curtain to present us with an Olivier Award.
- Sitting in the dressing room, after a performance of The Sound of Music watching the nuns swigging wine from the bottle, smoking Marlboros and singing the dirty version of “Like a Virgin”.
- Lying on the stage of my first West End theatre gig doing a vocal warm up, thinking “if the lighting rig falls down and squashes me, I will at least die happy”.
- Watching people I love or admire perform and their eyes come to life. Gets. Me. Every. Time.
WHICH 5 SHOWS WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO PERFORM IN?
- Into the Woods … Actually, any show I could be nefarious in. I love playing villains, witches, and bitches.
- Billy Elliot. Dotty Grandma would be lots of fun to play.
- Anything Shakespeare.
- Anything Greek
- Anything comedy
5 FAVOURITE FILM QUOTES
- “Come up to the coast, we’ll get together have a few laughs.” (Die Hard)
- “Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.” (Dead Poets Society)
- “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” (Jaws)
- “Lieutenant Daaaaaaan!” (Forrest Gump.)
- “The game starts now. You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun. Each day we will announce the scores from that loudspeaker. The one who has the fewest points will have to wear a sign that says ‘Jackass’ on his back. There are three ways to lose points. One, turning into a big crybaby. Two, telling us you want to see your mommy. Three, saying you’re hungry and want something to eat.” (Life is Beautiful)