The cast of Neighbourhood Watch.
The cast of Neighbourhood Watch. Julie West

Learning to love thy neighbour

BENEATH the make-up and wig of the lead character, Ana, in Murwillumbah Theatre Company’s latest production, Neighbourhood Watch, is a familiar face.

Rachel Gorham has appeared in TV productions Home and Away, All Saints and Love My Way, as part of a stage and screen career spanning 10 years based in Sydney.

But these days she’s also known as Mrs Gorham to Murwillumbah High School students where she is a drama and English teacher.

Rachael moved to Murwillumbah 10 years ago and has performed regularly with Murwillumbah Theatre Company in shows as diverse as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ruby Moon and Fur Coat and No Knickers

In the company’s latest comedy/drama, Neighbourhood Watch by Australian playwright Lally Katz, Rachel plays a battle-hardened 80-year old Hungarian refugee survivor of the war.

Catherine is her 20-something neighbour waiting for a better world.

The weekly ritual of bin night offers the first meeting of these two unlikely allies.

It’s a classic odd couple story: opposites attract and from each other they gain new understanding.

"The biggest challenge in playing a character who is so much older than I am is to find a way to avoid reducing her to a caricature or a stereotype,” Rachel said.  

“My approach is to try to find the truth of the character in the dialogue and her life, and not focus on her age.”

Neighbourhood Watch will be staged at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre on Friday, May 27 at 7.30pm, Saturday May 28 at 7.30pm, Saturday June 4 at 7.30pm, Sunday June 5 at 2pm, Friday June 10 at 7.30pm, Saturday June 11 at 7.30pm and Sunday June 12 at 2pm.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children and are available from, from Electronics Murwillumbah in Murwillumbah (cash only) and at the door.

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