Ellen McGregor is 64. She is also a wise-cracking performer and member of the Women’s Centre Theatre Group.
“To me it is much more than a theatre group. It helps me feel better about myself and it feels good to be accepted by the circle of women in the group,” says Ellen.
“It’s a question of self-worth. Lots of women look down upon themselves. We have low self-esteem. I’m a shy person but the theatre group is a way for me to speak out.”
The Women’s Centre Theatre Group provides opportunities for women from diverse backgrounds to take on leadership roles as playwrights, actors, directors and set designers in a dynamic local theatre production.
Currently the group has around 20-30 female members, and performs annually on International Women’s Day.
Facilitated as a Women’s Centre workshop, women are encouraged to write down their experiences, research stories of women they admire, and express themselves by performing.
“I loved working with the theatre group for so many reasons. It is an amazing supportive atmosphere filled with so much love and encouragement,” says Katie, one of the performers.
For many women, the group is also a positive outlet from daily stress.
“I have been going through a lot of hardships recently. Singing on stage made me feel confident, it made me feel relieved and it gave me the resilience to go forward,” says Cordelia, one of the group members.
“For the last year I have been struggling with depression. It seems like everything in my life was going wrong, but being a part of theatre group was something that finally went right,” says Ellen.
This year the group “brought the house down” as they performed their live theatrical performance to over 220 attendees.
But for Ellen, the most rewarding part of the journey was when she stepped off the stage.
“A woman came up to me after the show and wanted to get a photo with me and wanted me to meet her elderly mother. That just touched my heart. I couldn’t believe we had impacted so many women.”
She urges other women to push away their fears and step onto the stage:
“You don’t know what talents you have until you try and discover them.”