Marg Downey

Marg Downey
Actor & Comedian
Marg Downey wearing the Purposeful Organic Cotton T-Shirt for International Women's Day




Tell us a little about your story.

While at Melbourne Uni in the early 80s I discovered the joys of student theatre. I became involved with the Law Revue which sparked my lifelong love of sketch comedy. Initially I performed with fellow students on stage and then we moved to television. I appeared in D Generation for the ABC, Fast Forward on Channel 7, Full Frontal, Something Stupid, Kath and Kim and many other productions. In recent years I seem to be offered more dramatic roles. I feel so lucky to have worked as an actress for the last 40 years. Whether its stage, screen or voiceover work - I love it all.

And your purpose...

I really enjoy mentoring aspiring actors. After all my years in the industry I feel I can offer advice and point people in the right direction. When I was young there were a couple of older actors who helped me enormously. One taught me how to do a vocal warm up in the theatre before a performance, and another gave me invaluable tips for auditions. I have never forgotten their kindness and I try to extend a helping hand when approached by those interested in acting. It might involve coaching for an audition, going to see one of their shows, suggesting drama schools or simply having a coffee and discussing the challenges and realities of a life in The Arts.

Who are the women that have made the biggest impact on you and your journey so far? And what have you learned from them?

My mother taught me the value of humility. My Aunt was a journalist and Editor of a publication and I admired her work ethic and her confidence in a field traditionally dominated by men. I have 3 lovely sisters who display loyalty and dependability. In the professional realm I have worked with an enormous number of incredibly talented women. I had so much fun writing and performing with Magda Szubanski, Jane Turner and Gina Riley. To this day people stop us and thank us for the laughs.

Ten years ago I helped found a Theatre Company called The Kin Collective. It has become like a second family. The actresses involved - Michala Banas, Laura Maitland and Ally Fowler are all intelligent, talented and funny and have had a very positive impact on my life.  We all agree you cant sit around waiting for the phone to ring. You have to learn to initiate your own projects.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

 Its a time to appreciate and be thankful for all the great women Ive met throughout my life.

What is your hope for women and girls in the future?

To be honest my biggest hope is for a future where women can feel safe. I am constantly troubled by the number of murders, assaults, rapes, stalkings and incidents of domestic abuse that women experience in this country.

 If you could have told your younger self anything, what would it have been?

I would have told my younger self to learn more about the practicalities of life. Im fine at projects that require imagination and creativity but when it comes to filling out forms or using technology or understanding business… Im pretty hopeless.