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May Hollinworth Plaque
May Hollinworth Plaque

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

A bronze plaque mounted on the wall of the Paragon Hotel commemorates the founder, producer and director of the Metropolitan Theatre which operated in Northcote House on the Gateway site 1943-1949.

May Hollinworth (1895-1968), theatrical producer and director, was born on 1 May 1895 at Homebush, Sydney, only child of native-born parents William Haley Harper Hollinworth, a wool clerk who became a theatrical producer, and his wife Alice Ida Louisa, née Dansie. May trained as a dancer, but suffered a broken leg; increasing weight put an end to that career. In 1926, while working as a demonstrator in chemistry at the University of Sydney, she began directing plays for the Sydney University Dramatic Society (S.U.D.S. ). In 1927 she achieved prominence with a controversial production of As You Like It in modern dress and by winning first prize (for her production of Oliphant Down's The Maker of Dreams) in a one-act play competition, awarded by Gregan McMahon of the Sydney Repertory Society.

Appointed resident director of S.U.D.S. in 1929, Hollinworth established her reputation as a top-ranking director in amateur circles with a series of splendidly mounted productions, including Rostand's L'Aiglon (1933), Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (1937) and Sheridan's The School for Scandal (1940). After resigning from S.U.D.S. early in 1943, Hollinworth soon drew a nucleus of actors around her to form the Metropolitan Players; Leo McKern, Jane Holland and Enid Lorimer were among them, as were, later, Betty Lucas, Dinah Shearing and Robin Lovejoy. In 1946 Hollinworth opened the Metropolitan Theatre (seating seventy) in Reiby Place, Circular Quay, using an ex-army amenities boxing-ring for a stage; Othello, her first production there, was deemed the 'finest performance of a Shakespeare play in Sydney for many years'.


Address:1 Loftus Street, Paragon Hotel, Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.86261
Long: 151.210454
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

               (Outer rim of plaque)

A Lifetime of Love and Service to the Theatre
Member of Playwrights Advisory Board 1938-63
Producer of Sydney University Dramatic Society 1929 -42

               (Inner Plaque Inscription) 

                Metropolitan Theatre
                MAY HOLLINWORTH
            founder   producer   director
                             of the
                  Northcote House
           Reiby Place Circular Quay
                     1943 - 1949

                   Erected by her Friends



Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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