New Theatre News

VALE: TONY YOULDEN (1944-2022)

Born on 15 April 1944, Anthony Keith Youlden died on 31 August 2022.  In accordance with his wishes, there was no funeral and he was privately cremated.  A wake is planned.  

New Theatre has lost one of its oldest friends. In 1973 a short season of Reedy River played at the Australian Theatre in Lennox Street Newtown while the New’s new premises at 542 King Street were being redeveloped. Tony was the Australian Theatre’s manager and organised the bookings. He was thanked for his many kindnesses to cast and crew. 

Fast forward to 1990 and Thatcher’s Women, the first New Theatre show which Tony lit.  He then worked on a string of productions, sometimes doubling lighting design with set design: The Fire Raisers (1991); The American Clock and The Clink (1992); Chekhov in Yalta and After the Fall (1993); The Boys in the BandKing Lear and Portrait of an Artist (1994); King LearThe Death of Peter PanKafka’s Dick and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (1995); Hamlet (1996 and 1997); Pacific UnionNo Funny Business and Mother Courage (1998); One Word … We!Life is a Funny BusinessThe Great Gatsby and Rough Crossing (2000); The Man in the Moon is aMiss!Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?The Body OpheliaLes Liaisons DangereusesPandora’s Garden and Hard Times (2001); Gross IndecencyStop Laughing!Abducting DianaGabrielMad Before MiddayThe Castle and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (2002); Funny MoneyDancing at LughnasaTwelfth NightNew DirectionsFalsettosRichard III and War (2003); New Directions and Manly Mates (2005); Badjelly the WitchDouble the LaughsCaucasian Chalk Circle and Journey’s End (2006); Badjelly the WitchTango MasculinoVampire Lesbians of SodomLife After GeorgeOh, What A Lovely War, Mate and Confusions (2007); James and the Giant Peach,  Hamlet and The Real Inspector Hound (2008); Summer of the 17th Doll and Cabaret (2009); Midnite, New Directions and Feelgood (2010); Stage Fright (2012); Hay Fever and Dying For It (2013); and Pirates on Parade and Harvest (2014).  His collaborators on many projects were set designers Tom Bannerman and Barry French and lighting operator Ole Borch. 

In 1992 Tony was a guest speaker at Is There Life After 60?, a seminar on the New’s future.  He served on committee as Technical Director and was made a Life member.  Technical Director at NIDA for 16 years, he arranged the replacement of several rows of auditorium seats with folding ones from the Institute. He mentored many inexperienced crew and introduced them to his “dagometer”, a self-devised gauge of the effectiveness of any of a show’s design elements.  Raising or lowering his arm was a measure of how daggy a set, lighting or sound design was.  Below right angle meant  “fail”.

In 2012 Tony celebrated 55 years of involvement in theatre, in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, and calculated he had designed the lighting for more than 450 productions Australia-wide. 

Images: Tony; James and the Giant Peach, Tango Masculino, Twelfth Night, Badjelly The Witch, Dying For It, Privates on Parade, Harvest.