11 February 2016

Ralph Wilson, Canberran of the Year 1988

Ralph Wilson, right, directs Hec MacMillan in "Endgame", 1990
Ralph Wilson arrived in Canberra 1952, already an experienced teacher of languages and active in the theatre scene; a passion he'd discovered as a young man in Newcastle.
He took up his position at Telopea Park High and immediately joined the Canberra Repertory Society.  Ralph continued to teach until 1981, when he retired as principal of Canberra High School.
He set a cracking pace throughout his 40 years in Canberra theatre, directing more than 200 plays, arranging fortnightly film appreciation nights, and lecturing on stage production techniques, script writing for films, and dramatic structure. In retirement he started both a theatre and production company and was still directing when he died in 1994.  He never saw the play but gave notes to the actors from audio recordings of rehearsals.
The Ralph Wilson Theatre at the Ainslie Arts Centre is named for him.
Further biographical detail about Ralph Wilson is available on our website, as is a history of the Canberra Citizen of the Year Award and a full list of awardees.
The 40th consecutive Canberra Citizen of the Year will be announced by the Chief Minister during Canberra Day Celebrations in March 2016.
Image Source: Ralph Wilson Collection HMSS 0007, ACT Heritage Library.  Box 26, Folder 2. Photographer Jane Bradhurst