my fair lady - meet the people

Rhys McConnochie

Colonel Pickering

RHYS McCONNOCHIE made his debut fifty years ago with the New Zealand Players
in a production of Pygmalion in which he played the Sarcastic Bystander and
understudied Colonel Pickering. Half a century later he plays Pickering in
My Fair Lady for Opera Australia.

He received a Government Bursary to study overseas and spent a year in Paris at a mime school. He then went to London to continue his studies and in 1963 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company for two years. During that time he worked with a number of leading directors including Peter Hall, Peter Brook and Michel Saint Denis as well as performing alongside actors such as Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Ian Holm, Cyril Cusack, Eric Porter and Donald Sinden.

In the late Seventies he joined the Prospect Company at the Old Vic to act in Saint Joan (with Eileen Atkins) and Anthony and Cleopatra (with Barbara Jefford). He re-joined the RSC in 1980 for a tour of Britain in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2.

In 1981 Richard Wherrett invited him to join the Sydney Theatre Company for Cyrano de Bergerac and Amadeus. He also appeared in Heartbreak House, Measure for Measure and in Jim Sharman¹s highly acclaimed production of Strindberg¹s Dance of Death. In Adelaide his credits included A Winter’s Tale, Ring Round the Moon and A Dream Play which also played in Sydney. His recent work for the MTC includes The History Boys, King Lear, Inheritance, The Seagull, Death of a Salesman, Measure for Measure, Life After George, Misalliance and Molly Sweeney. He played Merlin in Camelot for the Production Company and appeared in Henry V for Bell Shakespeare Company. He has also directed productions for the STC, MTC and Griffin Theatre.

Rhys has directed numerous productions at leading Drama Schools in the UK. He was invited by NIDA to direct a number of productions that included student actors Richard Roxburgh, Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette. In 1994 he joined the staff at WAAPA in Perth and was Head of the Acting Department for several years. One of his students there was Hugh Jackman. Recently he has worked at the VCA Drama School in Melbourne where he now lives.

On Television he has been seen in City Homicide, MDA, Stingers, Bootleg, Mother and Son, Brides of Christ, Ring of Scorpio, Come In Spinner, Whose Baby? The Anzacs and Bodyline. His films include Romulus My Father, Black and White, The Man From Snowy River II, The Empty Beach and The Wild Duck.

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