1988

The Conquest of the South Pole

Conquest of the South Pole is by German writer Manfred Karge. I played Slupianek, an unemployed youth who went on an imaginary journey with his friends to the South Pole, emulating the real-life journey of Ronald Amundsen.

The play premiered as part of the Traverse Theatre's season in 1988, returning for the Edinburgh Festival and then transferring to the Royal Court Theatre in London for a limited season at the end of the year. It was directed by Stephen Unwin, who would later direct me in Knickers and Hamlet. Tilda Swinton was assistant director.

The rest of the cast was Paul Higgins, Alasdair Galbraith, Simon Donald, Hilary Maclean, Ewan Bremner, Carol Ann Crawford and Sam Graham

In a way this play changed my life because when it transferred to London I was nominated Most Promising Newcomer in the 1988/89 Laurence Olivier Award (losing to Richard Jones who later would direct me in La Bete.)  That was a big deal and I started to be offered work in London, and shortly after moved there.

When I finished the run at the royal Court I went to Australia to do the Victor and Barry tour and met a young actor who was playing Slupianek in the Sydney production at the Belvoir St Theatre.  His name? Baz Lurhman!!