Anita Hegh draws on family memories for The Father at Sydney Theatre Company
August, 20 2017        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Anita Hegh draws on family memories for The Father at Sydney Theatre Company

Family has been on actor Anita Hegh’s mind a lot lately. It’s unavoidable, she says, when you are working on a play like Florian Zeller’s The Father.

“My own father passed away after being very ill in his last few years, so there are issues in the play that are very present for me,” says Hegh, who plays Anne, daughter of Andre (played by John Bell), an elderly, increasingly frail man who is losing his grip on reality.

“I’ve been reflecting a lot about how extraordinary my brother was when my father was in hospital. My father was feeling very afraid in hospital and he was lonely. So my brother asked the nurses to teach him how to look after him, how to make him comfortable and care for him. Then he took my father home and he spent his last few months with my brother and my Mum.”

Hegh’s father died at home, surrounded by family. “We were all there when it happened and that is a quite an unusual thing these days,” Hegh says. “Not a lot of us get the chance to do that. It’s a very difficult process to negotiate. At what point do you hand over a loved one to the health care system? At what point do you say ‘I can’t do this anymore’ ?”

Zeller’s play depicts a confusing world for its title character, whose increasing uncertainty about his place in the world is reflected in a slippery script. Andre, 80, a former tap dancer, lives with Anne and her husband Antoine. Or is Andre an ex-engineer and does Anne live in London with her lover Pierre?

“It’s deliberately unclear,” Hegh says. “There is a kind of mystery element to everything so that the audience gets a taste of what confusion might be like in old age.”

Bell describes the play as “one that presses every single button”.

“There is comedy and there is tragedy,” he says. “It might be disturbing or emotional for some people but because there is so much warmth and deep emotion it won’t be a negative experience at all. I think the audience will find it puzzling, they have to figure out who is who, but it is deeply moving and very funny at times.”

The Father marks a return to the dramatic stage for Bell, 76, who has spent recent months recovering from a serious fall, when he slipped on the stairs at his home and fractured his neck. The role of Andre isn’t a physically demanding one, he says – not compared with his most recent King Lear for Bell Shakespeare in 2010 – but it isn’t easy, either.

“Florian is a brilliant writer but he has this fractured style with a lot of ellipses and spaces. You have to get all that absolutely right. And the father and daughter relationship is a complex one, too. It isn’t like the relationships I have with my own daughters but I can see the truth in it, it is very familiar and somewhat painful. But Anita is lovely to work with. She is so immediate and spontaneous. Nothing is too hard for her.”

While Hegh has worked with Bell Shakespeare – the company Bell founded and ran for 25 years – it is her first time working on stage with him. “He’s a proper grown up!” she laughs. “He’s very polite but he’s also quite naughty and very funny to work with. This is quite a dark play but we’ve had a lot of fun.”

The Father plays until October 21 at Sydney Theatre Company Wharf 1, $79-$101,


Anita Hegh is best known as a stage actor but has also drawn a strong following for her work in the television series, Janet King. She plays Australian federal police sergeant Bianca Grieve, girlfriend to Marta Dusseldorp’s Janet King, one of Australia’s most prominent and much-loved television lesbians.

“Playing a gay character is no different to approaching any other character,” Hegh says. “You have to reach into yourself and find some qualities that you have in common. Marta is pretty easy to fall in love with. She is brilliant and she’s a formidable actress. We are both bringing authentic love to this relationship.”

​Hegh and Dusseldorp also worked together on stage in Like a Fishbone at the Sydney Theatre Company. “It was great that we already had that working relationship.”

Fans have set up a Twitter account (@bianking4life) for all things Hegh and Dusseldorp, including videos and photos from the show. “That is really fun,” Hegh says. “I’m glad people are enjoying it.”

​Hegh won’t reveal if Bianca will return to Janet King in a further series. In the final episode, Bianca broke off the relationship. Instead, she says she has “a lot” of theatre locked in, and maybe some more television. Audiences will have to wait and see.

SOURCE: interview with Anita!
June, 09 2017        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on interview with Anita!

Inspector Bianca Grieve – Capturing The Heart Of Janet King

We spoke with Anita Hegh about the developing relationship between the King and her Queen.
By Sanya Franich

It is always such a pleasure to talk to renowned theatre performer, Anita Hegh, the charming and amiable actress who plays Inspector Bianca Grieve opposite Marta Dusseldorp’s Janet King. She was recently very generous with her time during rehearsal for her upcoming play, and we had a long chat about her future projects, as well as, of course, all things Janet and Bianca.

“So, right now I’m in rehearsals for Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine for the Sydney Theatre Company. It’s the third play I’ve done of hers, and I’m a big fan, so I’m very excited!” Hegh enthuses. “It was written in the ‘70s, although we’re putting it in more of a modern context, because we thought if Caryl Churchill were writing it now, that’s what she’d do. It originally looked at the parallels between racial and sexual oppression, starting in colonial Africa in the 1800s, then cutting to the ‘70s. Ours skips forward to the present and looks at the parallels and the changes that have happened in terms of acceptance to do with sexuality. It’s a really fascinating piece of work.”

Soon after Cloud Nine opens, Hegh will go into rehearsals for The Father, playing opposite Australian theatre royalty, John Bell, founder of Bell Shakespeare. “I’ll be performing one at night and rehearsing another one in the day, so you gotta be match-fit for that,” she says laughing. “But I just love the theatre, it’s great.”


Sydney Theatre Company Archive: Anita Hegh
May, 16 2017        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Sydney Theatre Company Archive: Anita Hegh

Anita Hegh has been a greatly admired performer on STC’s stages since 1995, when she joined us for her first professional gig straight out of NIDA.

But Anita wasn’t always destined for the stage. She was studying teaching at The University of Sydney when she auditioned for NIDA on a whim. Since then, she has appeared in many more STC productions, winning a Sydney Theatre Award for her role in our 2009 production of The City. In 2017, Anita returns for two shows – Cloud Nine and The Father – so, it seemed fitting to sift through our archives and recall some of Anita’s previous STC performances.

See the full article at

Photos: King Lear & 3 Tall Women (1995), As You Like It (1996)

The West Australian article with Marta about Janet King season 3!
May, 15 2017        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on The West Australian article with Marta about Janet King season 3!

Some interesting things about Janet & Bianca (Bianking):
– On the personal front, King, girlfriend Bianca (Anita Hegh) and King’s young twins are coming to terms with the new family dynamic. The appearance of King’s father Graham (John Bach) doesn’t help matters.
– Then there’s her nascent family unit. “Janet and Bianca are in love. They’re also working together. What does that mean to their relationship? Bianca also wants to move in with Janet but one of the twins isn’t so keen on the idea. So we explore what it means for children to have a new parent.”

Janet King season three starts on May 25 at 8.30pm on ABC.
#Bianking #JanetKing #BiancaGrieve

Magazine scans from 1995 to 1999
May, 02 2017        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Magazine scans from 1995 to 1999

Click on the photos below to see them full size:

The Sydney Morning Herald (19 March 1995):

The Sydney Morning Herald (23 June 1995):

The Age (31 August 1996):

The Age (13 September 1996):

The Age (28 September 1996):

The Sydney Morning Herald (22 February 1997):

The Sydney Morning Herald (11 August 1997):

The Sydney Morning Herald (23 August 1997):

The Sydney Morning Herald (9 August 1999): Øvre-journalist met Anita Hegh (2003)
September, 10 2016        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Øvre-journalist met Anita Hegh (2003)

A very big thanks to Ine (@Bianking4Life) for translating!

“When I get older I hope to travel a lot, and I’d love to travel to Europe where my family comes from.”

That’s what young Anita Hegh (15) from Sydney, Australia, said when she was interviewed by Øvre Smaalenene in 1987.

Now she’s finally here, the Australian actress we know as Ellen Mackenzie in the TV series “Stingers” – on an Easter visit with her aunt Else in Askim.

In October 1987 the “Øvre Smaalenenes” journalist Bent Roni Oterholt visited Australia where he met the Hegh-brothers from Askim; Walter and Harald, after a tip from their sister Else Ingstad in Askim.

Brothers Walter and Harald travelled from Askim to Australia with their father on the passenger ship “Maloya” in 1938. The last 25 years they’ve both lived in the Sydney area, but for many years they moved around because of work. E.g. for logging work in the wet tropical forests in the north of Queensland, where nature seems as cut out of the blockbuster movie “Crocodile Dundee”.

Our dad died as an old man in the small mining town where he lived. Lead, silver, zinc and copper were extracted from the mines, says Harald, who in 1987 was a carpenter.

Harald with his wife Maret and children lived in Willoughby, north of Sydney. Harald’s wife Maret originally came from Estonia.

“Anita goes to high school and is a knowledgeable girl. She can fill you in on forms of political governance, house prices and education. In Australia you start school when you’re five years old”, it said in the article in the local paper.

Maybe you want to send Anita a letter describing what it’s like to live in Norway? You can get the address by contacting the editorial staff. So ends the article from Friday the 13th of November 1987.

I wonder if anyone sent her a letter?


Some older magazine scans
September, 10 2016        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Some older magazine scans

A big thanks to Leese (@LJKwriting4life) for sending these magazine scans! Click on the photos to see them fullsize

Black + White (June 2002):

Melbourne Theatre Company – Duchess of Malfi Programme (2001):

The Herald Sun (17 April 2002):

TV Week (2002):

Unsorted Scans (2001/2002):

Woman’s Day (2001): Interview
August, 10 2016        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Interview

Warm-Hearted Cop Bianca Grieve Melts Ice Queen Janet King
In the second in a series on lesbian and bisexual representation on Australian television, we speak with Janet King’s Anita Hegh.
By Sanya Franich

Despite her busy schedule, Anita Hegh is brimming with friendly enthusiasm when she squeezes me in on very short notice for what turns out to be a warm and lengthy chat. She is near the end of the run of All My Sons at Sydney Theatre Co, while by day she is deep in rehearsals for Twelfth Night at Belvoir St Theatre. This is a woman who doesn’t often rest. She is under no illusions about the discussion we are about to have: what was it like stepping into the role of AFP Sergeant Bianca Grieve, and playing opposite Marta Dusseldorp as the new love interest for Janet King, one of Australia’s most prominent TV lesbians.

“Marta is pretty easy to love!” she laughs. “She’s great and she’s really smart. There’s no bullshit, and the work’s really clear. She’s formidable, but she’s also quite playful, so we were able to try scenes in different ways until we felt we had them right. And really, all you need to bring is yourself, and love. It’s about creativity and imagination, like any role.”


Older magazine scans
July, 07 2016        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Older magazine scans

I added some older scans to the gallery from Anita. Click on the scans below to see them full size.

New Idea (1999):

NW (1998 & November 2000):

TV Week (2014):

Unsorted Scans (1999 & 2012):

Woman’s Day (1998, 1999 & 2002):

Articles & Interviews
June, 22 2016        Posted By Veronique        Comments Off on Articles & Interviews

I made an Articles & Interviews section where you can read articles and interviews Anita has done, categorized by year. Here’s an interview she did in 2012:

Anita Hegh plays against type. Photo: Tamara Dean

In her new stage role, Anita Hegh must play a woman whose capacity for love has been destroyed, and who will walk over anyone to get what she wants. Talk about casting against type: her character Marlene in the play Top Girls is straight out of the Thatcherite ’80s, but Hegh is of introspective, postwar Scandinavian immigrant stock: for years she was painfully shy, perhaps still a little so.

The Sydney-born Hegh says she would ”lock up” whenever a teacher asked her a question in class. She went on to the University of Sydney to study English and modern history because her parents, despite their own artistic leanings, wanted her to plump for the job security of teaching. But after being mesmerised by a performance of Michael Gow’s Australian play Away as a teenager, Hegh remained quietly attuned to acting’s possibilities.

She found herself caught up with the crowd at the Sydney University Dramatic Society.

”I liked being an actor because I had full sentences written for me,” she says. ”I had the ideas [provided in a script] that I felt, but couldn’t say.” On her first audition, she was accepted into the National Institute of Dramatic Art. But what did she do when called upon to improvise a scene? ”I wagged every improvisation class that was there,” she says. ”I went across the road and hid.”

Hegh has an easy laugh and a kind face. It will be intriguing to see her play cruel. Top Girls director Jenny Kemp saw Hegh in Simon Stone’s adaptation of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck at the Malthouse earlier this year, a role for which Hegh won a Helpmann Award for best supporting actress. She cast the actor because, she says, she has an ”incredible sense of truth”.

”She works in a deep way, both with what is going on externally or socially,” Kemp says. ”But she is able to have a deep and solid connection with an inner world.”

The modest Hegh has to be asked twice what a Helpmann means for her. ”It’s a nice acknowledgment,” she finally ventures. ”But people do such good work … all the time; who’s to say who’s the best person – it’s nice for your mum.”

She says she works to understand her roles ”from the outside in”, with ”broad brush strokes”.

”My biggest fear is being a fraud, so I always know that if something is not connecting right, I have to work a bit harder to find the place of truth that it comes from. There are thousands of different Marlenes, and you have to bring yourself to it as much as possible so the audience believes the journey of that character.

”But at the same time it is a transforming role for me publicly – I’m practising walking around in heels again because for the last six months I’ve been walking around in sneakers and a trakkie top.”

Working among an all-female cast provides a different energy, she says. ”You have the kind of conversations about things … that in a room with a male director are just taken for granted.”

Kemp says Top Girls, by British playwright Caryl Phillips, is as relevant today as when it was first performed in 1982. Can women have it all? What is the personal price of clawing your way to the top?

”When Top Girls was first suggested to me as a play, I thought, ‘Is that dated?”’ Hegh says. ”But it’s proven to me that it’s not at all: the struggle that women are still having, and men are probably still having, as well.”

Hegh points to academic and former US State Department director of policy planning Anne-Marie Slaughter’s April cover story in The Atlantic magazine, which argued women can’t have it all, and the public debate that has followed.

Growing up, Hegh’s family was ”very quiet”: her Norwegian father is a former deep-sea diver and a photographer who in retirement makes jewellery; her Swedish-Estonian mother is an artist. ”I don’t really come from an argumentative, robust, say-what-you-think-and-feel kind of family.” The family appreciated the artistry, but didn’t talk about the arts.

And yet there is an enigmatic family history: her maternal Estonian grandfather was an army bureaucrat who had to travel regularly to Russia to meet Stalin. The family has a photograph of Hegh’s grandfather with the murderous Russian dictator.

”When he went back to Estonia and war broke out, he had to go underground and disappear,” Hegh says. ”He was one of the first people they were after. His brother was tortured and killed. My mother, who was three months old, and his wife had to go to a refugee camp in the British sector of Germany. They didn’t know where he was, but he found them years later.”

Her grandfather brought the family to Australia, where he began work in a chocolate factory.

Hegh, who was for the best part of a decade married to Australian theatre director Peter Evans, has been back to Europe a few times, and takes historical walking tours wherever she can.

She can imagine herself living and acting in Berlin, and laughs when I suggest her father, who had lived in German-occupied Norway, might not be so keen on the idea.

But for Hegh there’s a deeper engagement. ”It’s such an extraordinary place, and everyone goes: ‘Oh, the Germans, all the terrible things that happened.’ But culturally they own what happened, not like a lot of countries.”