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Robyn Archer in "Tonight: Lola Blau" by Georg Kreisler, The Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival 1979

Robyn Archer in "Tonight: Lola Blau" by Georg Kreisler, The Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival 1979

I worked with Robyn on a number of her shows. I loved her raunchy style as well as being introduced to the work of Brecht. But my favourite memory of Robyn was far from the footlights of the city theatres, in a small hall on the outskirts of Alice Springs. Robyn and Willy McManus, a devil of a fiddler, were playing. It was a lovely, balmy Friday summer’s night, so I walked there, in company with Alice’s stray dogs, which followed me menacingly for a good bit of the way. The gig was in true Archer-style, full-throttle and the crowd loved it. Afterwards a group of us drove around in a Mini Moke drinking, eating pizza and singing until the wee hours. Next morning, Robyn came on my expedition to photograph Ghost Gums just out of town. She was drinking flat Coke as an antidote to a hangover, a remedy I hadn’t heard of but was grateful for. Now a Festival Director and Public Arts advocate, Robyn’s been awarded Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).