“I was always a bit of a performer”
How many of us can say that we have rubbed shoulders with one of Australia’s finest Actors aka. Hugh Jackman? Not many, and although that isn’t the essence of this story, I’m glad to have captured your attention.
Born and raised in Orange, Cindy Pritchard is a success story in her own right. Graduating in the Orange High School Class of 1976, Cindy spent her time getting involved in school productions and singing in bands touring the Central West.
Daughter to Frank and Jess Pritchard who were well known and quite active within the Orange community, Jess saw the talent in Cindy quite early on, Cindy recalled, “I was always a bit of a performer, my Mum did a bit of amateur theatre in Tamworth, it was in her blood, and I think that caught on to me, the singing is just a natural ability of mine that I’ve had since I was old enough to talk. I remember being in my nappies and dancing in front of the old radiogram to songs and singing. I was the youngest member of the choir at Holy Trinity Church and was always picked for solos, I think I was 14.
Cindy continued, “Mum ended up contacting an old boyfriend much to my Dads horror. She said, I’ve got this daughter, she’s got talent, can you help!? He rang back and said tell her to be in Sydney on this date and see my mate Hayes Gordon, and there I was, a little girl straight out of Orange, travelling to the big smoke to study acting at ‘Hayes Gordon’s - The Ensemble’.
“After I graduated, I went into musical theatre, I auditioned for the original Les Misérables, about 2000 people auditioned all over Australia and New Zealand and I was very fortunate to be cast in it. I did that for four years which was 1200 performances in total. It has to be a career highlight for me, its such an iconic musical.”
“I was also in Beauty and the Beast, I played the role of Mrs Potts opposite Hugh Jackman, it was great, he’s a really nice bloke.”
Last year Cindy toured regional areas including Orange in ‘Menopause - the musical’. Her most recent work is in an Independent feature film called ‘Book Week’ which was shown in Orange at the Odeon Cinemas this week. The film was directed by Heath Davis, filmed at Katoomba and Lithgow High School, Cindy’s role was the administrator of the school.
“This film is so funny, it’s a great cast. The scene that I did involved a stunt, I throw a cup of coffee all over the main character. They said to me, we’ve only three shirts so try not to do too many takes, well I nailed it in one! First feature film and first take, the Director was stoked, everyone in wardrobe was stoked, everyone was stoked, so that was really cool,” Cindy laughed.
For those of you hoping to take the same career path, Cindy has some words of advice; “I don’t wish to dishearten anyone who wishes to get into this industry though know that it’s hard work and it’s not for the faint hearted, you’ve got to be prepared for knock backs and a lot of them. I think the best advice I can give is to be realistic.”
There is no stopping Cindy and her talent any time soon, “I sing at the local Carols by Candlelight every Christmas and do a lot of fundraisers and things like that - I like to keep the pipes going. I think they think I’m too old, that in musical theatre I might fall over and break a hip or something,” Cindy laughed.
“Where I live very much reminds me of Orange, although I do miss it and love when I get the chance to come back and visit friends. What I do miss is the snow, my childhood memories were filled with snow days and my Dad bringing me in a plate full of it for me to eat,” Cindy laughed.
“At home there are vineyards everywhere, we have a mountain a little bit like Mount Canobolas, we have a stand of poplars near my house and every time I see poplars I think of Orange. There are cows and I am also near the ocean, I always said, one day I want to live near a big city where I can still get work, that’s also in the country and also near water - well, I nailed it, it was just meant to be.”