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Dalu Zhao Life on stage - John Clark

oil on canvas

145 x 185 cm

At the end of 2004, John Clark will retire after more than 30 years as the director of the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. Dalu Zhao felt that it was a milestone worth celebrating.

Born in Hobart, Clark was educated at the University of Tasmania and the University of California. He intended to become an archaeologist but found himself involved in theatre at the Bristol Old Vic in England and never looked back. His first production – Death of a salesman for the Hobart Repertory Theatre in 1958 – resulted in job offers from the Melbourne Theatre Company, the ABC and NIDA. He chose NIDA, where he taught history and directed plays. In 1969 he was appointed director. In 1979, after the fall of the Old Tote Theatre, he put together the interim season at the Drama Theatre leading to the formation of the Sydney Theatre Company.

Born in Beijing in 1953, Zhao was a professor at the Capital Normal University in Beijing before immigrating to Australia in October 2001. His portrait of academic Stephen FitzGerald in last year’s Archibald Prize won the People’s Choice Award in Sydney and Melbourne.

This portrait of Clark is now in the collection of the University of Tasmania.