Kevin Harrington – Diving for Pearls

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You’ve seen him in many iconic television programs, but here’s your chance to see well known actor Kevin Harrington in an amazing theatrical performance at the Glasshouse. Diving for Pearls is a production that’s receiving wonderful accolades from theatre-goers Australia-wide.


From your perspective, what would you say the plot of this production is about?

This is a love story. It’s a love story between unlikely participants, both people who are battling but inspiring. I think the audience likes it most because the characters are warm and funny and they engage with them. The audience gets to see what is ultimately going to happen to them even before the characters do themselves, which is always exciting.

The play has been described as “A heroic struggle for a meaningful life amidst the turmoil of change”. How accurately do you think this sums up some of the characters’ motivations?

Yes, that’s very true. The places they’ve worked are very like a lot of the places many Australians work in at the moment, in that they are in a state of flux and you know you have to try and adapt. A few of these characters take the option to try and adapt, skill up and jump on board with the momentum of that change.

You play Den in the production. What’s he like as a character?

Den is conservative. He has worked in the one job for 25 years, and he has never really had a full blown loving relationship with a woman. At 50, he finds the perfect person to undertake the role. You know, there is a lot of comedy in the show – the show really moves along.

What’s the feedback been like from the tour so far?

It’s been excellent, because we have had loads of really genuine positive feedback. People really love this play – absolutely love it!

In terms of your personal acting career, did you actually start in theatre before you moved into television? 

Most definitely. I did 16 years of mostly theatre, mainly with the  Melbourne Theatre Company, before I did Sea Change, and then the balance swung the other way towards more camera acting than theatre. Obviously in Australia you need to be to be versatile enough to do both. Essentially, I like a good project, regardless of the medium.

Talking about TV and the productions you’ve done, it reads a bit like a who’s who list of Australian television! You’ve appeared on Sea Change, Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Underbelly … Was The Henderson Kids actually your first TV role? 

Yes; it was so long ago, I can barely remember it!

I actually do remember The Henderson Kids, and we are talking a few years ago! 

I only did a couple of days on it, maybe one … it was my first ever television gig, and I was really young, so I haven’t got a strong recollection of it.

It must have been exciting, though, to feel you’d achieved a break in the television world? 

It was – particularly on Sea Change, because it was so good. You know, it’s all very well to get on a TV show and get a little bit of recognition. But the great thing about Sea Change is that it was a fantastic show, and so my first regular gig was, luckily enough, on an iconic Australian television show …

Would you consider Sea Change to be the defining role in terms of your television career then?

Yes, it was … but I have just been on a shoot that will probably overtake that. I play Cliffy Young in a television movie called Cliffy that will be on the ABC in April next year, and it’s probably the best gig I have ever done.

Why was it the best gig for you? 

Mostly the character; I mean, it’s an astonishing story! A 61year old potato farmer who runs against professional runners from Sydney to Melbourne and beats them … it’s like a fairy tale!

So, what would you actually say to people to get them out of their cosy lounge rooms and into the theatre to watch Diving for Pearls

I can only say that the feedback on this show puts it right up there with the best plays that people will ever have seen … It’s quality is well worth moving out of the lounge room for!

Thanks Kevin. Interview by Jo Atkins.

This story was published in issue 82 Port Macquarie
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