Val Jellay and Maurie Fields
Val Jellay and Maurie Fields c 1958
Photograph courtesy of Val Jellay
Arts Centre, Melbourne
Val Jellay met her husband Maurie Fields while travelling with Sorlie's, a rival to Max Reddy's Follies.
Val well remembers how:
“In a travelling company, theatrical pros become very close; it's inevitable -the constant packing, unpacking, the formality on stage, informality off. The illnesses that must be ignored, the urgency of getting from one show to the next, ovations, deflations, heat, cold and a minimum of one year's commitment. With some it was three or four years. In my case it was seven. Romance was sparked by familiarity.”
The difficulties associated with touring can also forge particularly strong bonds between performers and technical crew who are not related. Less obvious than the biological family yet crucial to the industry, the theatrical family evolves when a group of people are thrown together for a period of time characterised by intense and intimate interaction, shared passion, commitment and stress.