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Patrick Frost '66

Written on the 19 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association

Patrick Frost

Exert from 2003 Rostrevor Magazine

Patrick Frost

Patrick came to Rostrevor in 1962, following his two brothers Peter and Michael, from Cradock in the Flinders Ranges. Some of the boys who had also come from the far north of the state included the Pecanek brothers, the Oldfields, the famous Alan Dunn of the Lyndhurst pub and the Reynolds' from Hawker. In fact, it was about 10 years ago, after some amazing detective work that Henry Pecanek tracked Patrick down and invited him to an Old Boys dinner. That led to the re-acquaintance with many of Patrick's colleagues from those days of promise in the rapidly changing 60's at Rostrevor.

Patrick settled at Rostrevor, after a shaky start and much re-assurance from the wonderful Matron Duggan, to make a mark academically and as a performer in the Debating Society and at the Annual Eisteddfod. While a soprano he performed for Br Mccabe and Br Tobin in the Mikado and later the Hallelujah Chorus at the 1964 Speech Night. He was influenced by many of his teachers especially Br McMaster, Br Tobin, Br McCabe, Br Miller ("where's your Formula Book, son?") and above all Br Healy, whom Patrick remembers for his unbridled passion for literature and poetry... and a shocking French accent! Patrick was also active in the Legion of Mary and was elected a Prefect in his final year. He doesn't remember so many sporting achievements, although he had some success in the Hubble and Bluett gymnasium, in the pool and from the diving board. After a continuation Scholarship won on his results in Intermediate, he won a Commonwealth University Scholarship the following year, which was to be the final Leaving Certificate when Matriculation was introduced in 1966. He took up a medical degree at the University of Adelaide.

After his experiences in front of an audience at Rostrevor, Patrick had a burning desire to perform but no understanding of how to make a career in the field. Colleagues at the Adelaide University Dramatic Society encouraged him to try professional work and by 1970 Patrick had relinquished his Scholarship (after agonising discussions with his parents), performed at a Festival of Arts, and was working at a city radio station. His career as an actor had begun. The best opportunity for Patrick came in 1973 when he was working in a production for the South Australian Theatre Company and was subsequently invited to join the company when it was established in the Playhouse as a fully professional ensemble. The following 4 years of constant workshopping, rehearsing, touring and performing not only gave him much needed skills to polish his talent but also enabled him to start a family and buy a house. Despite today's very favourable interest rates, Patrick says there are very few young actors who could do that now.

From the 1966 Annual Elocution and Oratory Prized.
Back: P. McEvoy (Under 12 Elocution), M. Thorne (Leaving Oratory), P. Frost (Matriculation Oratory), M. Ahern (First Year Oratory),
Front: M. Cooney (Under 10 Elocution), R. Smith (Under 11 Elocution), B. Lynch (Under 13 Elocution), P. Deegan (Second Year Oratory)

By the late 70's and following a very successful tour to Sydney and Melbourne of David Williamson's play "The Department", Patrick felt confident enough to move to Sydney. Naturally, since it's impossible to plan almost anything in show business and Murphy's Law often applies; his first major projects were in Melbourne. He spent a few very cold winter nights in nothing but shorts, helping to re-create the over-crowded, steaming hot Changi POW camp for "The Sullivans", gaining valuable experience in front of the camera. He then moved to live in Melbourne and worked regularly for the Melbourne Theatre Company and took guest roles in shows such as "Prisoner" ·and "Cop Shop" .

He returned to live in Adelaide, settled in Mile End to begin house renovations and worked in many different areas of film, television and theatre from "Here's Humphrey" to Shakespeare. Although not claiming to be an expert, Patrick says that after about 10 productions of Shakespeare, much of his ability and insight goes back to those lazy afternoons with Br Healy and a class trying to unravel Macbeth or The Merchant Of Venice. Later when Patrick came to meet and work with the write-director Ron Blair he was amazed to discover the Ron's play. The Christian Brother was inspired by Br Healy, who had taught Ron at Christian Brothers, Lewisham in the 1950's. In a well-remembered of the play in Adelaide in the 1980's, John Noble who had been at Rostrevor in the same years as Patrick played the Brother. Before John moved to Sydney, they worked together in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" at the Playhouse.

Since then John has been seen in "All Saints" and Patrick understands he will feature in the 3rd "Lord of the Rings" saga which will probably be released next Christmas. Patrick also remembers working over the years with other Old Boys such as Steve J Spears, John Low (now passed away, a great loss) Grant Piro, Paul Blackwell and quite recently he was cast in "Blue Heelers" as a farmer in dispute with his neighbor, played by Denis Moore! Connections to Rostrevor seem to come up quite regularly in Patrick's career. At functions after the performance he's met Kevin Duggan, a well-known Old Collegian and now Supreme Court Judge who related his enjoyment on being asked to lend his considerable expertise to the film "Breaker Moran" as a military legal consultant. Of course, some scenes from that film were actually shot at Rostrevor. One night after a performance of "King Lear" in which he was appearing with Kaarina Fairfax (Paul Kelly's partner) he was amazed to discover that Matron Duggan was in the audience. When Patrick asked her about her retirement she said she knew it was finally time to go when those 1st year boarders in their first week who used to say, "my father (or brother) told me to come to you if I felt homesick", began to say they had got the kindly advice from their grandfathers!

From the 1966 Annual: Commonwealth University Scholarships, 1965.
From Left: M, Fox, P. Marker. S. Woodards, T. Nemeth. R. Keane, P. Frost. H. Pecanek. D. Vozzo

Over the years Patrick has been a strong advocate for performers through Actor's Equity, where he is currently chair of the local Performer's Committee. He has served on plenty of boards and committees across the Arts and is helping to produce work through Bluetongue theatre. He says the Arts are often regarded as important only around election time and with such demand for limited resources we are very fortunate in Adelaide to have such a vibrant industry. Patrick is particularly keen to encourage the kind and wonderful support for the performing arts that well known Old Boys Adrian and Leon Saturno have been quietly providing for years. He recommends live theatre to anyone who's never tried it.... "many people say they have to be at a footy match to experience the magic that's not there in the TV broadcast. live theatre has the same effect.

He is appearing in "McLeod's Daughters" and preparing for David Williamson's "Brilliant Lies"... at the Bakehouse (cnr Angas & Cardwell Sts) from March 4th to 22nd 2003.

 

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Author: Old Collegians Association
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