From retirement village to screen career

A retirement village “escapee” has proved age is no barrier to learning new tricks after she turned $1 drama class lessons from a City of Sydney’s seniors’ program into a blossoming acting career.

Judith Daley, 68, had never acted in her life when she joined The Acting Class in Kings Cross two years ago. Since then she has signed with an agent and had small roles and work as an extra in films and television commercials.

The City of Sydney’s latest GOLD program for over 55s, released today, includes loads of activities – from tap dance, Zumba and drama classes.

“When I first retired, I moved into a retirement village and found that was a disaster for me,” Ms Daley said.

“I managed to escape from the retirement village and set out looking for something that was fun and enjoyable and would challenge me to do things I had never done before.

“The teacher, Suzi, recommended I get an agent. I did that and now I’ve done one film, a television commercial, some student films and last week I got a four-hour gig in a Foxtel Crime and Investigation series – so I’m having some minor success.”

The $1 class, with professional actor and director, Suzi Dougherty, is held each Tuesday from 10am-11.30am and introduces students to the basics of improvisation, voice control and monologues.

“I’d never acted before, but it’s very welcoming, very non-threatening and you can participate as much as you like. It’s also a great way to have fun and meet people,” Ms Daley said.

The Growing Older and Living Dangerously (GOLD) program for July to December is packed full of activities, including book and film social clubs, bike riding, ballroom dancing and classes in Spanish and Yiddish.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new program had more than 300 ideas to help city residents aged over 55 keep their minds and bodies active.

“The huge range of things to do, see and learn in the new GOLD program shows just how culturally and socially exciting our city can be for people of any age,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Many of the City’s services and programs have been tailored to ensure everyone enjoys a healthy, active and involved lifestyle, right into retirement and beyond. Whether you are 55 or 95, there is something for everyone in the new GOLD program and most of the activities are free, or low cost.”

Free copies of the new GOLD program booklet are available at the City’s community centres and libraries and online at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/community-services/over-55s/healthy-active-lifestyles.