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Awarded for service to the Arts
Entered on roll: 2005
Noreen was educated at St Thomas Mores School, in Launceston. She trained as a nurse at the Launceston General Hospital from 1959 to 1962 and later completed midwifery training at St Vincents Maternity Hospital in Melbourne from 1964 to 1965. Noreen married in 1966 and had two children, a son and a daughter.
Throughout her formative years, Noreen developed a love for performance by competing in Eisteddfods and she won both the Tasmanian Highland Dancing Championship and the Tasmanian Speech and Drama Championship in 1960. She is an accomplished actor, singer, dancer and puppeteer and has performed in professional and amateur productions in theatre, musicals, opera, television, radio and film.
In Melbourne, Noreen worked with The Box Hill Drama Group, the Therry Society at Monash University and appeared in Homicide for Crawford Productions. Since returning to Tasmania in 1969, she has performed in ABC productions including The Colonials, Problem Creek, The Story of Amy Sherwin and Hunter. She appeared in 13 Tasmanian Film Corporation projects including Fatty & George, Slippery Slide, Save The Lady and The Joe Blake Show. Noreen has worked with the Tasmanian University Conservatorium of Music and all the major theatre companies in the State – Launceston Players, Launceston Repertory Society, Tasmanian Ballet Company, Theatre Royal Light Opera Company, Tasmanian Opera Company, Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Polygon Inc, Tasmanian Theatre Company, Zootango Theatre Company, Old Nick Company, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Mainstage Theatre Company and Exit Left Productions.
Noreen has provided generous and dedicated support to local playwrights and filmmakers in transcribing manuscripts and films on a voluntary basis.
In 1987, Noreen and Don Gay established the Acting, Communication and Training Skills (ACTS) program for long-term unemployed youth. ACTS delivered six months of full-time drama training culminating in a production at the Theatre Royal. The participants received life skills and presentation training through the workshops, with the majority finding work after completing the program.
Noreen was a key volunteer with the Tasmanian Hear-A-Book Service and recorded 17 books and magazines. She was a phone counsellor with Lifeline Australia for three years, undertaking a monthly overnight shift.
From 1999 to 2001, Noreen worked as the Data Manager in the Oncology Unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital, where she co-ordinated national and international clinical trials on oncology. During that time, she took delight in organising occasional performances to entertain patients within the Oncology Unit.
Noreen continues to enjoy performing and finds great joy in working with young, talented artists.