Born in Townsville, Karen had been involved with theatre since her early days as a student at Pimlico High School. At age 15 she appeared as “Precious Stream” in the school’s play “Lady Precious Stream”. This was entered in the 1966 Drama Festival of One-Act Plays. In 1967 Karen again appeared in the Festival, this time as “Ophelia” in “Hamlet: Act 1”.
On returning to Townsville Karen quickly became part of the local theatre scene, working on school productions and with local theatre groups. She did most jobs in and around the theatre: acting, producing, directing, stage managing, set design, sound and lighting, costuming and working back stage.
Karen became Head of Performing & Visual Arts Department at Pimlico High School and since 1992 was the Artistic Director of the annual “Pimlico Presents” Variety Concert. Karen was also a co-founder of Props Youth Theatre Co, and involved with the local band Ravens which started at Pimlico High School.
The annual Festival of One-Act Plays brought Karen enormous success. Her high school productions won many awards. In 1993 her first one-act play production “Apples” gained her a Best Director Award, the first of many between then and 2011. Karen also directed musicals for NQOMT and The Townsville Choral Society and plays for Townsville Little Theatre. She won the Townsville City Council Performing Arts Award in 2002 for directing the NQOMT musical “Chicago”. For the Choral Society, she directed “Beauty and the Beast” on two occasions and “Spamalot” in 2010.
Over the years Karen has directed many plays for Townsville Little Theatre, including – “Hotel Sorrento” in 1995, Sir Terry Pratchett’s plays “Wyrd Sisters”, “Maskerade”, “The Truth”, “Guards Guards” and “Mort” between 2004 and 2009. She also directed “Late Arrival” 1995 One-Act Play Festival, 1996 “I Hate Hamlet”, 1997 “Play On” and “The Kite” (a one-act play), in 2007 “I want to be in a Jane Austen Novel”, and in 2010 “Dinkum Assorted”.
Wife, mother, sister, teacher, director and a very fine person, Karen will be sorely missed by everyone she ever came into contact with. However, the Townsville Bulletin headline on 25th April 2011 said it all…“Her legacy will live on in her students”.
Karen would have been proud of her students at the 2011 Festival of One-Act Plays, “The Guardians”, written by Karen, winning Best Junior Play, Best Director and Best Unpublished Play.
by Gordon Hodgson – Performing Arts Historical Society Townsville