Before he became the toast of Hollywood, Geoffrey Rush was a prolific presence on Australian stages. As early as 1970, he was making a name for himself in student productions in Brisbane, which landed him half a decade's work with Queensland Theatre Company. Having then studied with Parisian physical performance legend Jacques Lecoq, Rush made his first forays into Sydney in the late 70s with productions that also featured the likes of Mel Gibson, Noni Hazlehurst, Robert Menzies, Barry Otto and Kerry Walker.
Around the same time, he began teaching clowning at NIDA to the likes of Hugo Weaving. The first production that he and Neil Armfield are both credited in is the 1980 Nimrod Theatre production of Clouds by Michael Frayn – Geoffrey wasn't performing, he was Mime Consultant. Their more familiar working arrangement (Neil the director, Geoffrey the actor) would begin the following year in David Hare's Teeth 'n' Smiles.
YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1982)
In 1982, Geoffrey made his debut with Sydney Theatre Company in You Can't Take It with You. Below he's pictured alongside Alexander Hay, and Gordon McDougall. (Photo: Sandy Edwards)
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (1990 & 1992)
Geoffrey returned to STC in 1990 when we presented Melbourne Theatre Company's production of The Importance of Being Earnest. The production, directed by Simon Phillips, featured Ruth Cracknell as Lady Bracknell, with Geoffrey playing John Worthing, pictured here with Andrew Tighe (who most recently appeared with STC in 2014's Travelling North). After its 1990 season in the Sydney Opera House's Drama Theatre, The Importance of Being Earnest returned for an encore season at the Theatre Royal in 1992. (Photo: Stuart Campbell, 1990)
Geoffrey's most recent performance with Sydney Theatre Company was in 1993. In David Mamet's Oleanna (photo at left by Tracey Schramm), he played a university professor locked in a tense battle with one of his students (Cate Blanchett in her break-out role).
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR (1991)
Before that, in 1991, he played the deceptively unassuming Khlestakov in Nikolai Gogol's comedy The Government Inspector, directed by none other than Neil Armfield. (Photo below left: Robert McFarlane).
UNCLE VANYA (1992)
And, in 1992, he played Astrov in Anton Chekhov's classic Uncle Vanya. This too was directed by Neil Armfield, with a cast that included Helen Buday, Peter Carroll and Toni Collette. (Photo below right: Robert McFarlane)
King Lear, 24 Nov 2015 - 9 Jan 2016, Sydney Theatre