From nursing home to screen career for GOLD graduate

From nursing home to screen career for GOLD graduate

A retirement village “escapee” has proved age is no barrier to learning new tricks after she turned $1 drama class lessons from the City of Sydney’s GOLD program into a blossoming acting career.

Judith Daley, 68, had never acted in her life when she joined The Acting Class in Kings Cross two years ago. Since then she has signed with an agent and had small roles and work as an extra in films and television commercials.

The City of Sydney’s latest GOLD program for over 55s, released today, includes loads of activities – from tap dance, Zumba and drama classes.

“When I first retired, I moved into a retirement village and found that was a disaster for me,” Ms Daley said.

“I managed to escape from the retirement village and set out looking for something that was fun and enjoyable and would challenge me to do things I had never done before.

“The teacher, Suzi, recommended I get an agent. I did that and now I’ve done one film, a television commercial, some student films and last week I got a four-hour gig in a Foxtel Crime and Investigation series – so I’m having some minor success.”

The $1 class, with professional actor and director, Suzi Dougherty, is held each Tuesday from 10am-11.30am and introduces students to the basics of improvisation, voice control and monologues.

“I’d never acted before, but it’s very welcoming, very non-threatening and you can participate as much as you like. It’s also a great way to have fun and meet people,” Ms Daley said.

The Growing Older and Living Dangerously (GOLD) program for July to December is packed full of activities, including book and film social clubs, bike riding, ballroom dancing and classes in Spanish and Yiddish.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new program had more than 300 ideas to help city residents aged over 55 keep their minds and bodies active.

“The huge range of things to do, see and learn in the new GOLD program shows just how culturally and socially exciting our city can be for people of any age,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Many of the City’s services and programs have been tailored to ensure everyone enjoys a healthy, active and involved lifestyle, right into retirement and beyond. Whether you are 55 or 95, there is something for everyone in the new GOLD program and most of the activities are free, or low cost.”

Free copies of the new GOLD program booklet are available at the City’s community centres and libraries and online at


Highlights of July to December’s GOLD program include:

The Acting Class
Tuesdays, 10am-11.30am
Reg Murphy Centre, Kings Cross
Join professional actor and director Suzi Dougherty and act out well-known scenes from plays and films.
$1 per class; bookings essential on 02 9288 5601.

Jazz and Tap for Beginners
Thursdays, midday-1.15pm
Sydney Dance Company Wharf, The Rocks
Sydney Dance Company hosts these weekly lessons especially for seniors.
$10 per class; bookings essential on 02 9258 4818.

Movie Club
Second and fourth Wednesday of each month, from 3.30pm
The Old Fire Station, Glebe
Enjoy movies from a variety of genres, followed by a healthy discussion.
Free; bookings essential on 02 9692 8377.

Talk ‘n’ Tea
Tuesdays, 10.30am-midday
Green Living Centre, Newtown
Come along for an informal discussion on sustainability issues of local significance. Past topics have included verge planting, seed saving and vertical gardens.
Free; bookings essential on 02 9519 6366.

Ballroom Dancing
Mondays, 9.30am-11.30am (beginners) and midday-2pm (intermediate)
Redfern Community Centre
Come alone or with a partner to learn some of the graceful moves that make this dance style popular.
Free; bookings essential on 02 9288 5713.

For more information, contact the City’s Over 55s Services Information Adviser on 02 9265 9489 or

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email