BERNADETTE Cranage is preparing to step on stage in Edinburgh Fringe Festival In August after lacking the confidence to try acting for most of her life. Ready to take the plunge on a dream, Bernadette will take a one-woman show she has also written and is directing to what is billed the world's greatest platform for creative freedom.
Some have suggested she wait a year or so and fine-tune her plan a little more but Bernadette has been waiting and working decades to get to this point.
"I'm a late starter in acting. When I was (a student) at Loreto I was asked to take something to the auditorium and they were rehearsing Macbeth. I thought, 'I'd love this' but I didn't have the confidence," Bernadette said.
What changed? It was one of those things where you have a couple of life experiences that make you stop and think about things.
"All it is sometimes, is a conversation - maybe someone says 'you should try it'."
Bernadette started taking acting classes in her 40s and knew it was her passion. At 50, Bernadette went to New York to work on her craft. Now aged 58, Bernadette is a professional actor with an agent in Melbourne and is preparing her second one-woman show.
The idea to apply for the Fringe floated in her mind last year during travels through Scotland. It got to a point where Bernadette was determined to make it a reality.
Doubts still creep in. An online application, while easy to follow with month-by-month goals to guide her, has Bernadette sometimes second-guessing herself.
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Bernadette had to source a venue, polish her performance, find a graphic designer to help with a festival poster and organise a showing in Ballarat later this month - all in between her work to fund the experience.
"I've set myself a big task, it's huge, and I'm constantly telling myself to breathe in," Bernadette said.
"There is a lot of expense and I still would've liked to have given myself more time - I love being organised and ready...The Ballarat show will help. I don't want to go overseas and have a bad show but then, I also want to make sure I have a good show in Ballarat for everyone who's getting a ticket to watch."
Bernadette is taking her play Sharon Stacy Statue to Edinburgh. Laced with comedy and drama, the show tells the story of three women, how they each lose their sense of identity and rediscover their sense of self.
Narrator Statue is a pioneering woman from the gold fields who recognises Sharon (a cyclist) and Stacy (a homeless woman) each toil away but fail to have their hard work noticed.
The initial idea behind Sharon Stacy Statue came to Bernadette four years ago when her car died and she made the decision to ride to work in a semi-rural area. Cycling gave her a different perspective on life, riding rolling hills and past cows while also facing angsty drivers on the roads.
"There's always a little voice in my head that keeps you going when sometimes you wonder if it's all too much," she said. "There's a fundamental belief in me that I'm on the right course. In a practical sense, it's about putting one foot in front of the other."
Sharon Stacy Statue is playing at Sebastopol RSL on June 29, 7pm. Bookings: 0400 621 850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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