Anna Charleston

Anna Charleston

Anna Charleston was born in Melbourne, Australia.   She began her television career in Australian television in the series “Consider Your Verdict” in 1962.    Her other series include 2Class of 74″, “Neighbours” and in the UK,  “Emmerdale Farm”.   While not not working, Ms Charleson resides in her home in the West of Ireland.

Interview with Anne Charleston in “The Mayo News”:

Australian star smitten with life in the west

Ciara Galvin talks to ex-Neighbours star Anne Charleston ahead of her performance in Steel Magnolias in Castlebar

It’s not often you get to chat with Australian soap royalty. But when the actor in question lives on the Galway/Mayo border, it makes for what feels like a relaxed catch-up.
Anne Charleston played the iconic role of Madge Bishop in Neighbours. The Melbourne-born actress relocated to the west of Ireland in 1992, and is currently on tour with a theatre production of ‘Steel Magnolias’, which is due to be staged in Castlebar this Thursday and Friday, October 18 and 19.
The play tells the story of six women’s enduring bond of friendship despite their age and class differences. Set in the American deep south, it is a tale of love, loss and the women’s sudden realisation of their own mortality. Anne plays the grumpy and eccentric Ouiser Boudreaux, sharing the stage with another well-known actress Mischa Barton, who starred in the film Sixth Sense and US hit series The OC. Barton plays another central character, Shelby Eatenton.
In her gravelly Aussie drawl, Anne describes Steel Magnolias as a ‘fabulous and lovely play’, revealing that from the start, she and her fellow cast members ‘worked like a charm’ on stage.
Having starred in the theatre hit Calendar Girls, it comes as no surprise that Anne is at ease in an all-female production. The straight-talking Melbournian dispels any notion that women are harder to work with. “You’re either a good actor or you’re not,” she confided.
So, does she identify with Ouiser, who (a little like Madge in the early days) has quite a fiery temperament? Perhaps a little. “You always have to associate with your character on some level, I don’t think I’m quite as bad as Ouiser, but you know, we all have our moments don’t we,” she quipped.
Irish home
Anne Charleston lives in a cottage in a quiet area between Shrule and Headford – a far cry from the bright lights of Melbourne, which was named ‘the world’s most liveable city’ by The Economist this year. A far cry it might be, but the bond with her adopted country is strong. “This is my home,” she said, warmly.
Charleston credits her Irish grandparents with playing a part in her relocation to Ireland. She also grew up in ‘a very Irish community’. “I was brought up on stories of the place.”
When she eventually came to Ireland, she was smitten – with the west especially. “When I saw the west of Ireland I kind of came under its spell. It’s very beautiful. I came across to shop, basically. I looked at properties in Clare and Galway, and the interesting properties appeared to be in Galway.”
Totally at ease in her countryside hideaway, Anne spends her days walking, tending to her garden, reading (‘a lot’) and sometimes having friends over for drinks.
She makes frequent trips back to Australia, however, and plans to visit Melbourne soon after the Steel Magnolias tour finishes up.

Minding Madge
Anne played Madge Bishop in Neighbours from 1986 to 1992, when she left to move to Ireland. She reprised the role again in 1996, but left Ramsay Street permanently in 2000.
Talking candidly about her fame as Madge, Anne said it was a ‘double-edged sword’. “It did open a lot of doors for me, but there is also this slight snobbery that I’m regarded as a soap actress, and that’s not entirely true.”
Anne’s career took flight in the ’70s and was well established before she ever began in Neighbours. Her acting CV includes a wide variety of roles from drama to theatre. When asked how she got into acting, Charelston quickly replied, “I can’t remember when I wanted to do anything else.”
On her reasons for leaving Neighbours after her return to the series, Anne explained she was unhappy with the direction Madge’s once-feisty character was being taken in by the soap’s writers.
“I didn’t like the way they wrote the character, and we couldn’t come to an agreement. It became a real pain. They wrote her in such a way that I think they decided that because I was over 50, I had to be a victim … I was sick of playing that kind of character because it was not the kind of character that I had built up.”
In a comment that could just as easily have been made by the quick-tongued Ouiser, Anne laughed and said she was ‘happy enough to go’, adding ‘I think they [the writers] were sick of me as well!’.
Looking to the future, she is noncommittal as to whether she’ll return to TV work, stay in theatre or opt for film. “I like to work.” she said simply, “if the role’s good, I’m there.”

Steel Magnolias has been touring the country since September 11 and will be staged at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar this Thursday and Friday, October 18 and 19. Tickets (€25.65 each) are available from the threatre box office on 0818 300 000.

This “Mayo News” article can also be accessed online here.

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